Draft Night Comments from Layshia Clarendon

Following her draft selection in the first round on Monday night, Layshia Clarendon spoke with a host of local reporters by phone from Bristol, Conn. The SoCal native chose to attend the University of California up north in Berkeley, and after four seasons helped lead the Golden Bears where they had never been before the NCAA Final Four. What follows is a transcript of her conversation.

(On her immediate thoughts when she heard she was drafted by the Fever):

I thought of Tamika Catchings. I just saw her the other day and I thought that I could play with her. She was awesome, shes such a down to earth person, with a really fun personality, warm, open, fun. So I was super excited about that, shes someone Ive looked up to in the game.

(On where she saw Tamika):

I was at the draft and last Friday we started a rookie orientation. She came and spoke on a players panel and we got to meet her and hang out with her for a few days.

(On leaving the West Coast and coming to Indiana):

Im young and open to living other places, I can always move back to California when I get old one day! Im definitely excited and open to going and playing on any team.

(Do you know enough about the Fevers roster to know where youll fit into their team?):

Ive heard a lot about a lot of different teams, so my mind is a little scrambled. But what Ive heard through the media, they were definitely looking for a backup point guard and definitely have a talented backcourt. But I think that my versatility will work well for them. Im not saying Ill be a backup point guard, or what position Ill play, or even if Ill start or not but I think I can be a combo guard that can come in and be a solid steady leader that can offer scoring.

(On Coach Dunn suggesting she can make an immediate impact):

I definitely think my versatility is a plus for me. I can play point guard and stop the ball, or I can be a scoring two-guard and guard the best player on the other team. I may not have been ranked as high as some other people. I know I was under the radar a lot of the year, until the Final Four when a lot more people in the country got to see some of the other talent that was on the West Coast.

(On playing under the radar earlier in the season):

Maybe TV exposure. Not to discredit [Elena] Delle Donne, Skylar [Diggins] and all of the other amazing guards in the country, but I think a lot of people forget there is more basketball to be played on the West Coast. Granted, there are a lot of really great teams [in the East], but I think most people only think of Stanford on the West Coast.

Read More: Comments from Lin Dunn and Kelly Krauskopf

(What excites you about the Indiana Fever?):

They are defending WNBA champs, so that was good. And they took down the Lynx so that was awesome and definitely exciting. Ive always gone to teams that were the underdog, so now, going to a team that is defending champs, there is definitely a lot more expectation. I know [Tamika] Catchings works hard, so there will be a high bar set from the start.

(What people influenced you the most, personally and professionally?):

My dad [Curt] is definitely a big influence for me, everyone knows that Im a daddys girl. Hes my biggest critic and my biggest fan at the same time. He definitely pushes me. There are times when you dont even want to look at a basketball anymore, just because it can be a tiring, draining sport when youve played it all your life. Hes really influential in my life. And then between [former Cal coach] Joanne Boyle and [current Cal coach] Lindsay Gottlieb, Ive had two really good role models and great collegiate coaches.

(On finishing her college career, going to the Final Four, then finding herself on a WNBA roster):

Everything has happened so fast. It seems a little bit surreal, but at the same time Im grateful and appreciative just to see the hard work pay off and Im excited even though life is moving a thousand miles an hour. I have homework to do when I get back, but Im just so thankful and grateful for this opportunity to keep playing basketball. There are so many people who would die to be here tonight and who would die to play in the best womens league and play worldwide with the best players from all over the world.

(On her college graduation):

I have a project and a paper to do. I dont officially graduate until the 24th, but I am on track to graduate. I'll just have to finish up my paper and project and email that to my professor. Im an American Studies major, and my concentration is differences in academia across cultures.

(On imagining herself going to the Final Four, where Cal never has gone, then being drafted and two weeks later being in a WNBA training camp):

I definitely didnt think about it in an overall sense. I did have a conversation with [Coach] Gottlieb at the beginning of the year talking about getting drafted, scouts coming to games and people starting to watch me. I talked about it with her for a minute, but Im definitely a live in the moment kind of person. My main focus was going to be on the California Golden Bears until we were done playing, and then I would focus on my professional career. I am the type of person who trys to take one day at a time. I work hard in practice and then I looked up and were at the Final Four and now Im being drafted. I just try to focus on the little things and let the big things kind of happen for me.

(On choosing Cal):

I was definitely looking to UCLA and USC and I knew I wanted to stay on the West Coast for sure. I was looking at Pac-10 schools, which is now the Pac-12. I wanted to make a program good. I wanted to have an impact. I choose Cal because its a great area and the people here are amazing and I love the Bay Area. Overall, I loved the people and the feel I got from being here.

(On being known for her hairstyle and keeping it in the WNBA):

I will! Tamika saw it and I think shes good with it, and I heard the Lin Dunn wont mind, so Im going to plan on keeping the hairstyle. Its been my signature so far.

(On motivation for the haircut):

I only cut my hair about a year ago, last August actually. I wanted short hair for awhile, and I just got the guts to cut it. At first, I thought I would do it one day when I got older and done with basketball, but now it has become my basketball hair cut. (Laughter) Yes, its a true Mohawk and a blonde one at that.

(On describing her game):

I dont like to talk about myself, but I would say that Im dynamic. I can play multiple positions, Im versatile. Im a defender and Im always going to be a leader but I would describe my game as being consistent overall. I m just a steady player that is always going to bring it whether thats practice and being on time to the bus, to shootarounds, to workouts and being consistent on the court defensively.