President's Mailbag: 2012 Draft Prep
Are the Shock going to re-sign Tiffany Jackson, since she was quite improved this year?
Tiffany Jackson was an excellent player for us the past two seasons and we are excited to have her back in 2012. At some point once the season starts, we will definitely speak with Tiffany to discuss her long term goals and plans. We think she was the most improved player in the league in 2011and she still has not reached her potential so we hope to do everything we can to get her re-signed long-term.
Obviously this past season was a struggle. What are the key take aways from this past season?
Key takeaways, well first of all we all realize how difficult it is to win in this league. Second, teams can win by building through the draft. Third, the importance of our business departments working closer with our basketball operations. Finally, everyone on this staff from ownership, players, staff and our fans are truly passionate, competitive and working extremely hard in bringing a championship to Tulsa.
What are you looking to build upon for the upcoming season?
From a business side, we are always working on building our fan base and making sure we continue to be a major player in the community with our players and staff. It is imperative we continue to build and strengthen our relationships with all of our key partners. We have a good young core of players that we want to continue to develop on and off the court. We are looking to build upon the excitement of our new head coach and his philosophy’s and commitment on building a competitive team on the floor.
Can you explain how you and Coach Klopp will be sharing the general manager role?
My role is to manage the salary cap, communicate with agents regarding contract negotiations and signing players. Coach Klopp’s role is to identify talent, determine the specific skills he is looking for in building the team on the court and it is my role to make sure we can fit players within the framework of our salary cap. We continue to work together with players and agents since we have established relationships in the league over the years. Ultimately, it is Coach Klopp’s responsibility to build a team he feels can be competitive and win basketball games.
When will Coach Klopp's assistant coaches be hired?
We are in the process of talking with potential assistant coaches and we should have some more information in the coming weeks. Coach Klopp has a lot of relationships in and around the WNBA and NBA so we are going to make sure we have the right fit for our team.
What are you doing to prepare for the 2012 draft?
Well, it starts with identifying the top 50 players in the draft. We have a mock draft board in my office where we are projecting where players may fall based on their talents and what other teams' needs are. We have narrowed in on a select number of players who we feel will be there when we select with the fourth pick in the draft. We will travel to watch games, talk to their coaches, attend practices and watch countless hours of film. We will also be attending some of the conference tournaments and possibly the Sweet 16 and Final Four.
Is Shanna Crossley coming back?
We are in the process of determining Shanna’s status. We know she has been working extremely hard over the offseason with her rehab and we have heard she is coming along wonderfully so we hope to know more in the coming weeks.
Were you and Coach Klopp scouting Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson at the Tennessee/Arkansas game?
Coach Klopp and I were in attendance at the Tennessee/Arkansas game during the first week of January. Both schools are great programs and we wanted to be there to see a great basketball game as well as evaluate talent for not only this year's WNBA Draft but for future drafts as well. I would love to be more specific about this process once we get closer to this spring's draft.