Draft Day Memories


Asjha Jones
















Kara Lawson













Renee Montgomery
















Danielle McCray













Allison Hightower









Kelsey Griffin
















Tina Charles












In anticipation of the 2011 WNBA Draft on Monday, Sun players shared their memories of what it was like the day that they were drafted.

ASJHA JONES
Jones was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics.

What were your thoughts leading up to Draft Day? Did you have any idea as to where in the draft you were going to be taken?
“The days leading up to the draft were very stressful. We had just won theNational Championship. So we had missed about two weeks of school going into final exams. I was a business major so I was a wreck trying to catch up and prepare for exams. I was fortunate because I pretty much knew what team I was going to.”

What was the day like for you? What did it feel like to be in that room waiting for the draft to start - any butterflies or nerves? Who was at the draft with you?
“Draft day was full of excitement and anxiety because a new chapter of your life is about to begin. Even though I thought I knew where I was going you just never can be too sure until your name is called. So I was nervous about my name not being called fourth and how I would feel if that happened. The draft was held in N.J., where I am from, so I was able to have quite a few people attend. My parents, brother and both grandfathers were there to support me.”

How did it feel when your name was called with the No. 4 pick to become a member of the Washington Mystics?
“When my name was called I felt such relief. It was like I could finally exhale. I was excited to be moving to Washington D.C. After spending four years in Storrs, Conn., I was excited to live in such a diverse city.”

Any advice for those seniors who are awaiting the draft?
“I think that the seniors should try to relax because they have done all they can do by the way they have played throughout their careers. Now it is out of their hands. They should try to enjoy every moment of their experience because very soon their lives are going to drastically change. This is a once-in-a-life time experience so appreciate it.”

KARA LAWSON
Lawson was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Detroit Shock and was then traded to the Sacramento Monarchs four days later.

What was the day like for you? What did it feel like to be in that room waiting for the draft to start - any butterflies or nerves? Who was at the draft with you?
“My parents came to the draft and my college coach Pat Summitt. I was anxious to hear my name called and start my professional journey. One of my college teammates was in the same draft class as me so we spent the downtime talking to each other.”

You had a unique situation, being drafted one day and then traded four days later. What were those days like for you?
“I knew that I was going to be traded before I left the draft because I was told Detroit would not keep me. I hoped I would land with a good organization and I did. I was thrilled to be going to Sacramento and have the opportunity to play on the West Coast.”

Any advice for those seniors who are awaiting the draft?
“Enjoy spending time with your family and friends as much as possible because it is a whirlwind after your name is called.”


RENEE MONTGOMERY
Montgomery was selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx.

What were your thoughts leading up to Draft Day? How much of an idea did you have as to what number draft pick you were going to be?
“I didn’t have many thoughts leading up to draft day because of how close it was to the championship game. The only time I actually got to think about when I was going to get drafted was the day of the draft and I was just excited to hear my name called. I actually had no idea what number I was going to go because there were so many different speculations, so I tried to just sit and enjoy the moment although I was anxious to know where I was going to live.”

What was the day like for you? What did it feel like to be in that room waiting for the draft to start - any butterflies or nerves? Who was at the draft with you?
“The day was so busy. I was fighting to stay awake in the rookie orientation because I was up late the night before making sure my outfit and hair was all set for draft day. Once I was fully dressed and sitting in the room I was nervous. It was an excited nervousness because I just wanted to know where I was going to go. My Snook (mom), Diddy (Dad), and Coach (Auriemma) came to the draft with me. If Tonya Cardoza was there then everyone that contributed to my success the past four years would’ve been there (excluding my teammates).”

After you were drafted, what was the day like for you - what kinds of things did you have to do?
“After I was drafted it was a whirlwind with media, talking to my new coach and trying to figure out what I was going to do about finishing my classes at UConn. This is going to sound crazy, but I can’t remember what I did once I left the draft that day. I think I was so emotionalyl exhausted from the championship game and draft being a couple days apart that I probably passed out.”

Any advice for those seniors who are awaiting the draft?
“My advice would be ‘Don't get caught up in what city you want to go to because that may not be the best basketball situation for you. Just enjoy the moment and make sure you love your outfit and the way your makeup is done because your draft pictures are going to follow you around your whole career. :)’.”

DANIELLE MCCRAY
McCray was selected with the seventh overall pick by the Sun in the 2010 WNBA Draft.

What were your thoughts leading up to Draft Day?
“I was very thrilled. Being a part of this day was something that I always dreamed of; it was a moment for life.”

Did you have any idea as to where in the draft you were going to be taken?
“I had no idea going in, due to my season-ending injury. I thought I would be taken in the second round because we all knew that I couldn’t play the upcoming 2010 season.”

What did it feel like to be in that room waiting for the draft to start - any butterflies or nerves?
“Wow! It was a lot of mixed emotions going on. I was nervous, had butterflies, scared, anxious due to the fact that it was my life changing moment.”

You had a unique situation at the draft, being drafted but knowing that you weren't going to be able to play. What did that feel like?
“Knowing that I had a whole year to wait to play with the Connecticut Sun, it was very hard to soak in at first.”

How did you feel when your name was called?
“When my name was called a huge chill went through my body, and I was relieved, happy and felt very blessed.”

ALLISON HIGHTOWER
Hightower was selected with the 15th overall pick by the Sun in the 2010 WNBA Draft.

What were your thoughts leading up to the draft?
“My thoughts leading up to draft day were everywhere. Growing up, I always dreamed of being drafted, but for it to actually happen is a blessing that not many people get. I had no clue where I could end up, I was nervous and sweaty all the way up until my name was called.”

What was that day like for you?
“The day was great, I had my outfit ready and everything. It was a long day but I felt like a rock star! Hair, makeup, food, meeting and greeting. A few hours before the draft my nerves really set in and didn't stop until my name was called.”

We had a pretty big draft class last year with four of our own picks and then trading for Kelsey - how did it feel to be part of that class? /
“It felt great being a part of such a great draft class, especially knowing that you’re not alone throughout the process was a great feeling.”

Any advice for the seniors who will be in the draft this year?
“Make sure you have on great deodorant because you will sweat from being so nervous and anxious!! Oh and just have fun and try to breathe and relax.”

KELSEY GRIFFIN
Griffin was selected with the third overall pick by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2010 WNBA Draft and was then traded to the Sun that same day.

What were your thoughts leading up to Draft Day?
“Leading up to draft day was such a rush of emotions. I had been selected as an All American for the first time ever and was enjoying my bittersweet trip to watch the Final Four. I returned from San Antonio for a quick couple of days in Lincoln, before rushing out to New York City for my first ever visit. The day before the draft was filled with meeting the other draftees and doing an appearance at the NBA store.”

What was the day like for you?
“The day was such a rush. My favorite part was getting my hair and makeup done before we went live as the draft started. After being drafted I feel like I literally did interviews for five hours straight! It was such a rush and whirlwind but exciting all at the same time.”

What did it feel like to be in that room waiting for the draft to start - any butterflies or nerves?
“I was so nervous before the draft in the waiting room. We did a practice run before we went live and I knew that I was going to be asked a question after finding out where I was going and I was so worried about answering the question. I also had butterflies about all of the unknowns that I would soon have answers to.”

After you were drafted, what was the day like for you - what kinds of things did you have to do?
“After I was drafted I did half of my interviews for Minnesota and then found out that I was traded to Connecticut. Once I found out about the trade I started over doing the interviews as a Sun and also talking about the trade. One interview that really stuck out to me was a live interview I did with Kara Lawson as she was at The Mohegan Sun Casino. I had seen Kara commentate games and it was surreal to be talking to her as a teammate.”

You had a unique situation at the draft, being drafted by one team and then being traded to another. How did you find out that you had been traded, and what were your feelings originally thinking that you were going to Minnesota and then were heading to Connecticut?
“I was actually in the middle of an interview when the person who was assisting me with my interviews informed me that I had been traded. I was originally excited about going to Minnesota because I was so familiar with Minneapolis because I have family there. With that being said, I had talked with Coach T a few times about being a part of the team he was trying to create and really believed that I could help be a successful part of it. When I found out that I had been traded to the Sun I was very excited. I knew that I was supposed to be there.”

TINA CHARLES
Charles was selected with the first overall pick by the Sun in the 2010 WNBA Draft.

What were your thoughts leading up to Draft Day?
“Leading up to the draft I had a lot of emotions, because we had just won the National Championship and I was still trying to get that to settle in and to understand the history we had just made. But it was very overwhelming :-)”

What was the day like for you? Who was at the draft with you? After you were drafted, what was the day like for you?
“The day of the draft I was rooming with Kalana Green, my teammate at UConn, and we were excited. This was the goal I was striving for and a league I grew up watching and wanted to be a part of. When my name was called I felt as if my heart was beating out of my chest I was super nervous but very thankful at the same time. My mother, father and Coach Geno Auriemma came to the draft with me. Those three have everything to do with my success, so it was great for them to be by my side. After I was drafted it got hectic right after with media and taking photos, but I enjoyed it all.”