Checking in with Sharnee Zoll
Q: Talk a little bit about your excitement of coming to Minnesota to play with your teammates and learn from the coaches.....
Zoll: First of all, just being on the team is an honor. As soon as I stepped in Minneapolis, it felt like home and the right place for me. Nicky (Anosike) and I played on the same AAU team so I'm excited to have her as my teammate again. I've also played with Candice (Wiggins) before at USA Basketball. I've always admired Seimone's (Augustus) game. We played them in preseason and I was just in awe of how she played. All of these players are great players. We have a young team and I am excited to get here and on to the court.
Q: How have the coaches and players taken you in and embraced you as a member of the team?
Zoll: I felt like I've been here throughout training camp. There are no cliques on this team. Everyone likes to have fun, but at the same time we all take basketball very seriously. When the coaches are teaching the plays, everyone on the sidelines is encouraging everyone to participate. That symbolizes great chemistry. To have that kind of chemistry off the court is definitely going to show on the court.
Q: What excites you most about the opportunity here in Minnesota?
Zoll: Playing with great teammates that I am familiar with. Nicky and Candice are great players. There is so much that Candice accomplished while she was at Stanford. It's going to be hard for me to not sit there and watch Seimone. Some of the things she does are amazing. It's a really young team but I'm very excited. Age doesn't mean much in the WNBA.
Q: When you first spoke with coach Zierden, what did he say about your opportunity?
Zoll: He told me a little bit about my self, which was exciting because no one wants to play for a coach who doesn't know much about them. He explained to me how he thought my strengths could help the team. At the same time, he spoke with me about my weaknesses and how I can turn them into strengths. Playing under a coach who has as much knowledge has Coach Z does is exciting. He's willing to work with me and tell me what I need to get better at. I want to get better as a player so that really excites me.
Q: Explain your feelings on being drafted by L.A., only to be cut at the end of training camp....
Zoll: To go through two-a-days for three weeks and then get cut was difficult for me. But I do realize that this is a business and the WNBA is a numbers game. I was fortunate to get picked up by Minnesota. I'm blessed and really excited that Coach Zierden saw something in me. It was both a tough and good experience for me. Throughout the process I've learned a number of things. Being on the court with the veterans of the WNBA has been very beneficial to me.
Q: When you got cut, did you think your WNBA career was over?
Zoll: I definitely thought I was going to get picked up. I had faith in God's plan. My agent and I had planned on what to do if I did get released from Los Angeles. I'm extremely excited that Minnesota picked me up.
Q: You enjoyed a tremendous career at the University of Virginia. What are some of your favorite memories as a Cavalier?
Zoll: Playing under a coach who was elected in the Hall of Fame was a thrill. Breaking Dawn Staley's assists record was a huge accomplishment. I set a goal my freshman year and to finish my career at Virginia having accomplished that goal is a great feeling. Witnessing Coach's 600th career win was exciting. I've met a lot of my best friends in college and am very thankful for that.
Q: So you went in to your freshman year hoping to break Dawn's all-time assists record?
Zoll: I wrote the number of assists that she had in her career on my shoe (729) the first day I stepped on campus at Virginia.
Q: Did anyone take that has you being arrogant?
Zoll: Some people did, but they also realize I am very humble. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a cocky or arrogant person. I set a goal for myself and I achieved that. It's just like any other goal anyone sets, whether it is first-team all-acc or whatever. I set a goal to break my idol's record and I did it. I grew up in Philly watching Dawn and I idolized her. I have nothing but the utmost respect for her.
Q: Talk about what breaking the record meant to you....
Zoll: Breaking the record was an honor that I still don't think has hit me yet. I just have to thank the people who made the shots. I only can get them the ball, they have to make it.
Q: Besides Dawn, who were some of your other basketball idols growing up?
Zoll: My father played and is the reason why I'm playing today. Growing up in Philly, I got the chance to watch Allen Iverson. The greats of the NBA: Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Jason Kidd, and Damon Stoudamire. I really enjoyed studying their games and knowing the ins and outs of the point guard position. All of those players know their angles and how to get to the basket. Everyone said Allen Iverson was too small but he knew how to get in to the lane.