Pathways to the Seattle Storm
Ashley Robinson and Shannon “Pee Wee” Johnson are two vital players who traveled two different pathways to come together and both play basketball in the WNBA on the Seattle Storm. These two players first talked about their recruitment process, eligibility and how then they found their way to the WNBA.
Robinson pointed out that the recruitment starts early and that, “We get recruited out of high school to go to college. Then when it comes to the WNBA there is a draft and you either get drafted or go as a free agent. Also, WNBA players have to finish four years of college or three years and graduate before they can be eligible for the draft. Or, they go play two seasons over in Europe."
Robinson then went on to discuss how that whole process was intertwined in her life. Robinson was highly recruited out of high school and played her college career at the University of Tennessee under the instruction of the remarkably great coach Pat Summitt from 2000-2004. She was then drafted into the WNBA by the Phoenix Mercury later in 2004. She was traded to the Seattle Storm in 2006 with a trade involving the Chicago Sky.
Robinson exclaimed about her draft experience, “I didn’t really think I was going to get drafted, so when I heard my name I was like … praise the Lord!” She now plays center for Seattle and helps the team with her great height and ability.
On the other hand, Shannon Johnson took a very different path to Seattle. She graduated from University of South Carolina the year the WNBA started so she did not go straight into the association. She played for the ABL (American Basketball League) at first for about two and a half seasons, under the same head coach that is in Seattle now (Brian Agler), before she was allocated into the WNBA to play for the Orlando Miracle.
Pee Wee explained , “I’ve been in the league about 11 years. The process was different for me. I’ve played for Connecticut, San Antonio, Houston, Detroit, and now I’m here playing for Seattle.” She joined the Storm as a free agent on Feb. 23, 2009 and she is a veteran player who brings leadership and enthusiasm to the court.
Both women are proud of their SEC past and their current WNBA team. They were both traded to Seattle and love playing for the Storm. There are plenty of different pathways into the WNBA, two portrayed by our own Storm players. Each has a pathway with their similarities, differences, struggles, and successes. Come watch both Ashley Robinson and Pee Wee Johnson play at any Seattle Storm home game this season and see why they made it into the WNBA.