Even before the onset of free agency, Head Coach Gary Kloppenburg and the Tulsa Shock began their off-season activity, acquiring veteran point guard Temeka Johnson from Phoenix to solidify the backcourt along with rising star Ivory Latta.
Johnson, a 53 point guard, started 30 games for the Mercury last year, averaging 6.4 points and 4.4 assists in 23.9 minutes a game. In seven seasons in the WNBA, Johnson has started 181 of the 198 games she has played in and is averaging 7.9 points and 4.5 assists in 24.9 minutes a game. She helped lead the Phoenix Mercury to the 2009 WNBA Championship over the Indiana Fever in five games.
My Experience in Phoenix was a good one, Temeka Johnson said. I got to play alongside some of the games best and arguably the best player in the world. I won a championship with a group of women that I will never forget and I grew more and more as a person every year.
Johnson is currently playing overseas in Russia for Dynamo K where she is averaging 7.4 points, 4.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds a game through seven games.
My first conversation with Coach Kloppenburg was a very good one, Johnson said. We talked about the franchise turning around, he talked about the respect he had for me as a player and how much he has enjoyed my performance. We also talked about my role there and what he was looking for and I shared some thoughts with him as well.
Johnson was selected in the first round (sixth overall) by the Washington Mystics in the 2005 WNBA Draft and was named Rookie of the Year in her first season. Between Los Angeles and Phoenix, Johnson has started 25 of her 31 career playoff games, averaging 7.9 points and 4.4 assists in 25.1 minutes during the post-season.
Johnson is anxious and excited about leading such a young talented group of women in 2012 and is also expecting herself to grow more as a leader, player and most importantly a person while learning as much as possible about her new team.
My expectations for this season is for us to come together on one accord, realize what it is that we are all there for, come in a work hard every day; then turn around and apply it to the games that we will play, Johnson said. We are definitely looking to grow and of course be better than previous years. We are looking to turn things around but also have fun doing so.