Kelsey Bone Embraces High Expectations

Most WNBA fans only see the draft, however, there were a few days worth of WNBA rookie orientation for you to attend, too. How was orientation?
It was amazing! Before the draft we had many meetings. I loved learning about the “real world” part. The seminars taught us about retirement, 401k's and tools that will help us off the court. I found those meetings to be the most influential. We also had etiquette classes that covered important tools in which some of us knew and some of us didn't. We learned small but important tips on what to do when you meet someone including proper handshakes, table settings and feeling comfortable knowing what each piece of silverware is for in a business setting.

Everyone looked great at the WNBA draft! How did you pick out your outfit?
Everyone brought in their “base outfit” and they provided a styling company that helped us with adding accessories like a jacket or belt or jewelry as well as hair and makeup. I was already impressed with all the skills we learned at orientation so to top it all off with fashion made me so happy. I love hair, makeup and fashion; it was the best night ever.

As a professional athlete you have an opportunity to impact others. Have you given thought to what causes are important to you?
For so long basketball was all I ever wanted to do. Now I want to start a foundation that caters to girls that are tall. I want to provide a resource for them. I've found many girls troubled with their height and don't want to be tall. I want to help them embrace their size and help them with finding clothes and shoes. I hope to start this project early in my career.

You are forgoing your final year of NCAA eligibility. Will you finish your academic degree?
Yes I will. I will graduate on May 10th. I have a few more finals before training camp that I am taking early. I am getting my degree in Liberal Arts with a double major in communications and human resources and development.

What were the pros and cons of leaving early for you?
The interesting part of my decision was that there were no cons. It was the right move for me. The moment that really tipped the scale towards leaving was when I stumbled upon an article about Bill Laimbeer. He said that his picks for the draft were contingent on whether or not I decided to leave college. I was flattered. There's really nothing else better than coach Taj, coach Farris and of course, Bill. The idea of learning from Cheryl Ford, Katie Smith, Kara Braxton… I just say, wow. And players like Carson and Cappie? That's just icing on the cake! I had to take that chance. I thought if I waited till next year the opportunity may not be as great.

What was your reaction to being drafted by New York as opposed to Washington or Seattle?
I am confident that I would have been in good hands had I been drafted by the Washington Mystics, however, I really wanted to be in New York. I spent many nights praying for that to happen. I had my whole family praying on it. I loved what was happening in New York and the moves that were being made. New York has great fans, and come on; this is New York City, fashion capitol, and biggest city in the world!

There is a lot of talk about potential and importance of this year's draft class and the "three to see" to the continued growth of the WNBA. Do you feel any pressure?
I do. It was very evident in our talks at rookie orientation that there are high expectations and a lot of hype around this draft. But we still have to come in and play basketball. We may have had great collegiate careers but now that has to translate to the next level. And also we have to shoulder the responsibility that comes with the hype. We can't just let the league carry us. We have to be active for our team, in our markets and understand that this is a group effort in growing the league. It can't all be the responsibility of the “three to see”.

Does the "three to see" marketing campaign give enough attention to the other members of this year's draft class and to the players already in the WNBA?
Considering what those three players (Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins) did for their respective teams I believe the hype is well deserved. I'm all about what works, and if we have to market three big players to grow this thing, I'm in. People relate to those three, and now, people can identify and follow them. For me, I'm excited to do it in New York City. I have the opportunity to play in the greatest market in the world. There was already a lot of attention being paid to the hiring of Bill Laimbeer, the moves being made and building going on with the Liberty. So shame on me if I don't take advantage of being a part of all of that. I don't view the marketing of the "three to see" as a slap in the face. Sky has all her twitter followers, Griner dunks, and Elena is unstoppable. It starts there but then that attention also moves to the rest of us. That's our job to maximize and keep the attention that comes with being in this draft class.