Q&A with Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap
|Victoria Dunlap was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season|
Courtesy of University of Kentucky
WNBA.com: The Draft is only a few days a way. What are your plans leading up to it? What kind of things are you feeling right now?
Victoria Dunlap: I�m just really excited about this opportunity. Just looking back over the years from when I�ve been in college and even high school and how I�ve transformed into a player.
WNBA.com: You recorded over 300 steals in your four years at Kentucky and almost 200 blocks. Is it safe to say defense is your strong suit?
VD: Yes, I would say so. But I�m definitely expanding my offensive game to a range of outside more and not really settling for lay-ups.
WNBA.com: When you think about the WNBA and top defensive players, you can�t help but think about four-time Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings. Would you say you emulate her play a bit?
VD: Not really. I mean, ever since I started playing basketball, on the first team I played for, we�d go out on the court and you�re playing defense and you�re hustling, you�re not just defending, you�re actually trying to get stops and not look at the score. So I think ever since then I�ve just had that same mindset, and on defense you�re there to keep people from scoring and getting to the basket and that�s just how I�ve always been.
WNBA.com: With regards to WNBA players, who really stands out as potentially being the toughest ones to defend?
VD: I�m sure there�s a lot of them, but I guess off the top of my head I can say Diana Taurasi, Angel McCoughtry � just kind of how they have versatile skills and plans. They�ve been in the league for a couple of years, they know little things as veterans and things I can do as a rookie for myself to kind of get that advantage. I�m looking forward to being able to play out there with a lot of people.
WNBA.com: Do you consider yourself more of a perimeter defender than an inside player?
WNBA.com: It�s a monumental year for the league as it enters its 15th season. You�re young enough where you might have some memory of when the league first started. Were there any players you looked up to at a young age?
VD: I think the only person who I knew, and I actually met her, was Lisa Leslie. I just knew of her, people talked about her a lot and I think I was with my brother at an AAU Tournament and she walked into the hotel and I met her when I was younger. She was just walking through and I think I was just most amazed that she was as tall as my dad was, and my dad is 6-foot-6, and I thought he was the biggest and then she came in and I was just really surprised to see a woman especially that tall.
WNBA.com: Looking ahead to the Draft, where do you kind of see yourself going, if you�re making predictions at all?
VD: I�m not right now. I don�t really have a preference I guess. I guess a lot of people have been talking and saying a lot of different places where I could possibly go. Right now, for me at least, it�s still kind of unknown for sure where I might go. But any place that I go I�m going to be really excited to play in the WNBA and just have that opportunity.
WNBA.com: We said that defense was your strong suit before, but would you say you�re a defensive specialist, or more of a solid two-way player?
VD: I think now I�m a solid two-way player. My first two years here at Kentucky I probably would�ve said I was a defensive specialist. That�s what I wanted to do and what I knew was easiest for me, because I knew I was pretty aggressive on defense. But now I would say I�m more of a two-way player, but defense is still the stronger mindset.
WNBA.com: A lot can be said of WNBA training camp and how competitive it is. What do you have in mind when it comes to making a big impression in training camp and sticking with a team?
VD: Probably just my transition from playing the post or low block in college and transition that to more of a guard or two-three guard and handle the ball more. A lot more outside shots and just showing that confidence that I have in myself, especially on offense, and just going out there and working hard and showing that I can play with most people in the WNBA.
WNBA.com: What other aspects of your game are you looking to enhance? Have you been working on any areas in particular?
VD: Yes, for the past two weeks I�ve been working out and shooting a lot more threes. Most of the shots I�ve been taking have been threes. Ball handling. And mainly just a lot of guard-oriented stuff with shooting and ball-handling and getting myself more comfortable with that.
WNBA.com: Overall, how do you feel now in the days leading up to the Draft?
VD: I�m excited. I think I�ve shown a lot for myself, especially over the past two years, I�ve grown as a basketball player and I�m just really excited to go to a team and play.