The new faces of the WNBA are here and eager to play. The experience of coming into a professional league during a pandemic is a new wrinkle, but the rookie experience is similar to previous years. Going through training camp and starting the preseason now, the recent draftees are set to begin their first regular season next week.
How have their experiences been so far? Really positive.
A Learning Experience
“Training camp’s been a lot of fun, getting used to my teammates, my coaches, the new plays that we’re putting in. Overall a good spot for me, lots of good adjustments and a good place for me to learn.” -Charli Collier, #1 pick in the WNBA draft at Media Day for the Dallas Wings
As college players joining the pros, they’ve definitely taken this opportunity to learn as much as they can. When I asked Charli Collier if she’s picked up any tips on being a post player, she said, “Definitely, it’s a different ball game, you have to get better at reads, everyone here is really smart, everybody’s a vet.” She mentioned that in order to adapt your game, you need to take all the information that you can from your surroundings, your teammates, and your coaches.
Her fellow teammate and another incoming rookie, Chelsea Dungee, had some similar thoughts. She said that she’s had to make quicker reads, especially on those off ball screens, and that you only have a few seconds to make decisions instead of dribbling it out like in college.
The transition from college to the WNBA has provided a learning experience for DiJonai Carrington as well. The rookie from Baylor spoke about honing in on her aggressiveness in training camp and said that she’s been learning pacing from the others in practice. Carrington told the media that patience on offense was the key learning strategy for her.
Rooks Stick Together
Another common theme from the rookies on media day was their connection with each other as they adapt to their new teams.
Carrington had similar sentiments, saying: “Us rookies stay together, because we’re going through the same experiences.” Although there hasn’t been much opportunity to bond off the court yet, it sounds like these young players haven’t had any problems connecting with their teammates. Didi Richards of the New York Liberty mentioned that there are hot dog stands on every corner, but her experiences will be reserved for a special article.
We know that rookies like Kysre Gondrezick signed a deal with Adidas, and there are more who are big fans of their kicks.
These players are super fun and amazingly talented, and they’re very excited to kick off the season next week on May 14. Teams have released their TV schedules, and the New York Liberty did so this morning.
Make sure to tune in as the WNBA regular season starts to watch these rookies take the floor for the first time.
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Photo Credit: Crina Mustafa