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Wright, Little Will Point the way as Camp Opens

May 3, 2013

When they take to the court on Sunday for the first formal practice of 2013, Tanisha Wright and Camille Little will have been to more Seattle Storm training camps together than most of their teammates combined.

But with the injury-related absences of long-time stars Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird, this camp will be somewhat different.

This will be their camp – Wright’s ninth and Little’s fifth with the Storm.

Among the 15 players expected in Seattle Pacific’s Royal Brougham Pavilion on Sunday, 10 will be starting their first Storm camp. Another three – Tina Thompson, Shekinna Stricklen and Alysha Clark – will be in their second. Temeka Johnson, an eight-year WNBA veteran signed as a free agent, is expected to arrive on Tuesday for her Storm camp debut.

That Wright and Little will be the primary players looked to for guidance is fine with both of them and with coach Brian Agler, too.

Camille Little
Terrence Vaccaro/NBAE/Getty Images

Players will look to Camille Little to help lead the team this season.

“They’re great leaders. They’ve done a lot of this already in regards to communication with everyone on the team,” Agler said. “Their effort and energy and what we want to accomplish; it will be a smooth transition for them.”

In fact, this is far from an unfamiliar position for either player.

“Within the organization, we all take on different roles. I think part of it for Camille and I the past couple years has been setting the tone and that sort of thing,” Wright said. “This is a pretty natural role for myself and Camille.”

Added Little, “It’s been kind of the focus at the beginning (of camp) to help Brian as a leader. So for me, this won’t be any different.”

Both veterans say their leadership style is a combination of talking it and walking it.

“I’m pretty vocal, especially on the court,” Wright said, then added with a laugh, “My teammates can definitely verify that.”

Little likewise will speak her mind, as she did while starring at North Carolina.

“I was a leader on the team whether I had the captain’s sticker or not,” she said. “I was one of those players, even though I wasn’t named captain (until my senior year), I was pretty vocal.”

But Little understands the value of the lead-by-example style, as well. That might be even more beneficial in this training camp.

“A lot of times in our sport, if you can show people what to do, they take it more seriously than just saying things,” she said.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

Through the initial week of camp leading up to the preseason opener on May 12 at Los Angeles, Agler, who already knows what he has on paper, will be trying to determine what he has on the court.

“The first part, especially this year, is to evaluate a lot of people,” he said. “As we move along through camp and get more toward our final roster as we whittle down, then we’ll get a chance to focus in and try to add things into our system.”

Some years, it might be just one or two roster spots up for grabs. This year, more than that are expected to be in play.

“It will be a competitive camp, like it normally is,” Wright said. “Brian does a good job of bringing that out within us.”

What kind of team ultimately will emerge from camp in time for the May 26 regular-season opener against the rival Sparks in L.A.?

No matter what the other questions are going into it, that’s the one that ultimately needs an answer coming out of it.

“We need to create and have everyone understand who we are and what our identity is,” Agler said. “The quicker we can get to that stage, the better off we’ll be.

“We need to create and have everyone understand who we are and what our identity is.”
- Agler

“I know what I think we should be. But whether I’m right or wrong has yet to be determined.”

Wright knows the getting-acquainted process can’t be rushed, even in the WNBA, where tightly-packed schedules are a way of life.

But it does need to be uppermost in everyone’s mind.

“Chemistry and working together and learning each other’s names – we have to bring that out within one another so we can be successful,” she said. “It’s not so easy. You see a lot of talented teams that don’t put it together because they don’t have that chemistry and don’t know each other out there.

“But as long as we have genuine respect for one another and get along, it makes that stuff a lot easier to be able to transfer it onto the court.”

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