Thompson, Frieson Discuss Draft Process

TULSA, Okla. (April 9, 2010) -- Sitting in the audience at the National Basketball Association (NBA) Entertainment studios in Secaucus, N.J. on draft night, seconds before the 19th overall pick was to be announced on stage, Amanda Thompson noticed the television camera coming towards her. That’s when Thompson knew she was going back to her collegiate home.

The 19th overall pick belonged to the Tulsa Shock who selected Thompson with their first pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft, transitioning the University of Oklahoma product just 120 miles east of her home for the past four years.

“When I saw the camera coming I was happy that my name was being called. I was happy to be the first pick for Tulsa,” Amanda Thompson said. “It’s a great thing. I get to play in front of Oklahoma fans again. They really enjoyed my years there and it’s a great opportunity to do that again.”

As a senior, Thompson, a 6-1 small forward from Chicago, averaged 13.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals in 33 games and was a huge part of Oklahoma’s Final Four run that ended in a loss to Stanford in the semi-finals.

The excitement of draft night played out a little differently for Tulsa’s second pick (31st overall), Vivian Frieson, who recovered from the shock of seeing her name on the draft ticker by shedding what she described as “the happiest tears I’ve ever cried.”

“It’s a realization of a dream. Even coming into this year, I never thought I’d get drafted but it was always a dream of mine to play in the WNBA,” Frieson said. “I think for me, it feels like all the hard work was noticed and others see my potential and that’s an amazing feeling.”

Frieson, a 6-0 forward from Seattle, averaged 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.4 steals on 52.8 percent shooting from the field as a senior at Gonzaga.

General Manager and Head Coach Nolan Richardson emphasized the versatility and rebounding ability of his two picks as key reasons for their selections.

“I think he saw my hard work,” said Thompson about Richardson’s potential observations of her game. “If we are up 20 or down 20, I’m going to give you my all. I’m a fighter. I pass the ball well, I rebound well and my scoring has gotten better over the years.”

Frieson plans on “working her butt off in camp” while focusing on defense, rebounding and getting steals that will lead to easy transition points – all skills that she realizes are a big part of Richardson’s “40 Minutes of Hell” style of play.

Both Thompson and Frieson are excited to come to Tulsa and play in Richardson’s fast-paced, transition-oriented system – feeling like they have the necessary and specific skills to succeed under those parameters.

“I’ve been there (Tulsa) a couple times but I haven’t really been there. I really want to see what it’s about,” Thompson said. I know our fans are going to be great and I’m looking forward to playing against great WNBA players.”