Off the Court

Year Round Hoops for Shock Assistant Coach Korie Hlede

Korie Hlede is in her second season with the Detroit Shock as an Assistant Coach. Hlede provided leadership and insight that helped the Shock win the 2003 WNBA Championship, and this season she continues to be involved with defensive strategies, player development and perimeter play of the players. Prior to Hlede�s coaching career with the Shock, she was a star in the WNBA as a player. Hlede was the Shock�s first-ever college draft pick prior to the team's 1998 inaugural season and after a tremendous rookie season in which she finished as the WNBA Rookie of the Year Runner-UP, she was traded to the Utah Starzz in July of 1999. As a member of the Starzz ball club in 1999, Korie led the entire WNBA in three-point field-goal percentage, hitting nearly forty-six percent of her long-range jumpers. Then in 2000 Hlede shifted gears and rejoined the Eastern Conference as a member of the New York Liberty.

One may ask if Hlede has still got it after a couple years off from the WNBA? Well, the time that many think she has had off is non-existent. In fact, she has been successful in excelling her career overseas by playing professionally with the Spanish Pro League in the off-season of the WNBA. For her 2003-2004 season Korie played for Rivas in the Spanish Pro League and from 2001-2003 she played with Slamanca, a team that is also in the Spanish Pro League. �I will most likely be playing in Hungary or Italy this during the 2004-05 WNBA off-season, �said the native of Croatia. �However, having said that you never know what will happen, it is just a matter of time and opportunity and many things could change.�

In Hlede�s coaching and playing lifestyle there are just not enough months in a year. For the 2004 WNBA season she arrived in Detroit in late April to start working with Shock players and helping them further develop their games. She will remain on the Shock bench under Head Coach Bill Laimbeer until the conclusion of the 2004 Shock season, which will be in late September or early October depending on the Shock�s success in the 2004 WNBA Playoffs. She will then have only a single month to change her mentality. �This change of mentality is the toughest thing to do,� confessed Hlede. �As a coach it is a group mentality and that is what you have to be focused on. I try to practice as much as I can during the Shock season, but obviously being a coach is my job and that is the priority. So in the month before I compete it is important to train and be sure to be in good shape. In order to be a good player and to benefit your team you need to be somewhat selfish and separate yourself from the group mentality that I had just established as a coach.� In December Hlede will emerge as a basketball star overseas and play competitive basketball for a span of approximately three months. Hopefully in March she will receive a well-needed month off and then return to Michigan to repeat the same annual process as Assistant Coach of the Detroit Shock. With this non-stop schedule Hlede has a challenge finding down time to just relax and hang out. �A social life? It is impossible,� reveals Hlede.

Hlede�s basketball resume is most impressive. She holds the Duquesne school records fro career points (2,631), scoring average (24.1ppg), steals (334), assists (570), three pointers made (162), three point percentage (.356), and Hlede became the first athlete in Duquesne history, male or female, to have their jersey number retired and raised to the rafters at the Palumbo Center. With this storied past it is exciting to think what is in store for this 29-year-old Croatian. She actually hopes to further her coaching career, but most likely when the time is right. Hlede describes herself as being a bit unique. �I try to give my best at the experiences that are presented to me, rather than set my mind on one thing and attack that goal,� explains Hlede. She also mentioned that currently being a head coach is something that appeals to her but she also realizes that she may never make it that far, but she continues to keep that as one of her options. She believes she could fit in a college setting, but right now Korie is not ready to just give up playing and commit herself to the extreme amount of time and work that a head coach must focus on the team and its day-to-day operations.

Hlede�s path is a unique path and has taken her all over the world, from different countries and cities, to varying cultures, to unique situations. She has often chosen to take the path less traveled and this should come to no surprise to anyone who has followed Hlede�s career as she believes in herself and allows her heart to be her compass.