Training Camp 411
With the first week of Training Camp coming to a close, Sparks players are already excited for what the 2009 season has in store. On Sunday morning, everyone reported to camp with a mixture of emotions; some were nervous, some anxious and some focused on making every day count in the quest for a Championship. As the day started, the team went through the usual first day routine of the introduction to the team staff, rules and team guidelines. Once that was over, it was time to get to work.
In a flurry of drills, Coach Cooper got the team warmed up by running full-court lay-ups, jump-shots and a three-man weave. He then broke that down into full-court sets of five-on-zero offense. A few familiar voices rang loudly through the gym as Lisa (Leslie), and DeLisha (Milton-Jones), encouraged the rookies and newcomers.
“It was very exciting,” said Leslie of the first practice. “I felt like it was my first practice ever in a way because I was a little nervous but mostly excited. I feel good about the players to my left and to my right. This year will be like an orchestra performing and each night someone different will have solo.”
By the players on her left and right, she could be referring to any of the players that the Sparks were able to secure during the offseason or the seasoned returners. Of the new faces in Los Angeles, forward Tina Thompson shone brightly as well as lightning quick guard Betty Lennox.
“Even though it was my first day in Los Angeles, it was great to be able to look over and see DeLisha and Lisa,” said Thompson. “We’ve played together a lot in the past and it really helps in the sense of knowing who is around you and how they play. It’s very exciting to see the beginning of where we’ve started and know the potential of where we can finish this season.”
Where the Sparks could finish is at STAPLES Center hoisting their third Championship trophy in the air. If the first three days of the two-a-days Training Camp are any indication of what’s to come, the rest of the teams in the league better watch out. The Sparks chemistry in their evening sessions while playing five-on-five as a team against a group of men made it seem like this team had been playing together for years.
“I enjoyed being back in this atmosphere,” said DeLisha Milton-Jones. “It’s going to be even more exciting once everyone gets their legs under them. This is going to be a fun year.”
The Sparks will have nine more days to prepare before taking on the Connecticut Sun in preseason action and just over two weeks before the opener at STAPLES Center against the Detroit Shock. With 22 more practices scheduled, the chemistry the Sparks have already exhibited day four will only be amplified come June 6th.