Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
"I have nothing else to do,'' said the 5-foot-11 freshman guard, who said that she will attend both summer school sessions. "Daddy's leaving. Mamma's working."
Williams' father, Vincent, is a Master Sergeant in the United States Army and begins a tour of duty in Iraq in August.
"I'm used to him leaving; my brother, on the other hand, I don't think he is,'' said Williams, referring to her younger sibling, Keynante. "Since I was in like the sixth grade, he's always been gone and in high school he was gone for at least a year. So I'm used to it.
"I just wish I was closer to home kind of, so to help my mom out. She gets a lot of stress."
Regarding her game, everything from improving her conditioning to becoming more proficient with her right hand (her off hand) are on Williams' agenda. Assistant coach Dean Lockwood wants her to sharpen her offensive moves.
"Being able to do things off one or two explosive dribbles,'' he said.
Williams is young enough to still be getting plenty of advice from her teammates. Yet she's experienced enough to offer her own to next season's freshmen.
"Get rid of your stubborn ways and buy into the program as soon as possible,'' she said. "If not, your life is going to be crappy."
Nothing's Free: One of center Kelley Cain's summer projects figures to be upgrading her 47.1 percent free-throwing shooting.
Lockwood believes it's a matter of Cain doing countless repetition with a consistent routine.
"Good reps with a system she trusts,'' he said. "Get her mind to relax."
UT coach Pat Summitt also recommended that Cain avoid early foul trouble in games next season or risk losing her starting spot.
"We can't do that next year,'' Summitt said. "No. Not happening."
Earn Your Minutes: With Vicki Baugh and Faith Dupree on schedule to return next season, there will be more post players vying for playing time. Fellow post Alyssia Brewer thinks those minutes will turn out to be time well spent.
"There were a couple of games this year when one of us really wasn't doing anything, but we really couldn't change that because we only had three posts,'' she said. "So either you were going to get something or you weren't.
"Next year, if somebody is not producing, you can put somebody else in and see if they're going to produce. I think it's going to be great, and I think it's going to be a challenge for the posts."
More On Brewer: Brewer intends to work on a mid-range shooting during the offseason. Summitt doesn't want her to forget about conditioning.
"I think she's got to get in better shape,'' Summitt said. "I think being a little bit lighter on her feet would make a big difference."
Tennessee's Glory Johnson saw her scoring and rebounding numbers last season mirror the numbers of her freshman season.
Glory Johnson wasn't offering powdery beaches or shimmering waters.
The summer getaway the Tennessee women's basketball player presented to her friends involved a gym and a chance to help her upgrade her game.
Selling a trip to the Yukon Territory might be easier. Or so Johnson feared. But her buddies are coming anyway, some from out of town to stay with her.
"I thought it was going to be a lot harder,'' she said. "All you have to do is ask. And, for the most part, real, true friends, they'll do whatever you ask them to do."
And Johnson really, truly needs their help. The former Webb School star and high school All-American is entering the offseason before her junior year. The 6-foot-3 forward essentially has reached halftime of her collegiate career. And just like a coaching staff huddling outside a locker room between halves, she's gathering a summer support crew to make some necessary adjustments.
Johnson began last season by scoring in double figures in 10 of the first 12 games. She looked like an All-American in scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds at Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 25. As late as Jan. 28 she was averaging nearly 13 points and nine rebounds per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the floor. Yet she finished with scoring and rebounding averages (10.1, 7.7) that virtually mirrored her freshman season (10.2, 7.1). And her accuracy sank to 45.8 percent. In the process, she lost her starting spot.
"One of the things Glory Johnson has to decide,'' Lady Vols assistant coach Dean Lockwood said, "she's got to decide how serious she's going to be about really, really taking her skill set down the road farther."
Johnson's fellow juniors-to-be face the same decision. Their ranks will grow to seven next season with forward Vicki Baugh returning with two seasons of eligibility. She was redshirted last season while recovering from multiple knee surgeries.
The juniors' progression from a rocky 22-11 first season was quantified by their part in 32 victories as well as SEC regular-season and tournament championships. A 77-62 upset loss to Baylor in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament, though, affirmed that a steeper price must be paid.
Lockwood equated the investment to one of life's essentials.
"Do you want to be in a Final Four and have a chance to play for a championship almost as bad as you want to take your next breath?'' he asked. "That's how serious it has to be."
Lockwood believes that the growth of the women's game has raised the offseason stakes. He conceived a vivid image of a player pulling out a hammer and chisel, as if she was sculpting her skills from marble. He said that a plan must be formulated and executed with "an unbelievable passionate purpose."
"To do that, you can't be casual,'' he said. "You can't say ho-hum. I'll shoot 30 minutes a day and expect that to happen anymore."
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Swish Appeal WNBA Mock Draft v 1.0: Balancing Impact & Upside
Even after what most people considered a "down" year for Stanford University center Jayne Appel, her passing ability in the post remains an asset to WNBA teams. (Photo by Craig Bennett/112575 Media)
Nevertheless, fans will either cheer or complain when their team makes a pick assuming to know more than the general managers that have watched 100s of hours more of one prospect than the average fan sees of the entire field of prospects, not to mention actually talking to the players and getting to know them beyond the recycled words of the media. And even then, the "experts" will be proven wrong.
Nobody can really claim to know how these draft things will actually turn out 3-5 years down the road.
For the WNBA, the situation may be even more difficult this season -- with rosters being cut to 11 drafting becomes even more difficult, especially in what analysts consider a "weak" draft. Whereas NBA teams will often draft players on potential and keep them as projects -- perhaps even fetishizing potential at times -- there is simply less room for that in the WNBA this season.
"There is less room, but I don't think it's a bad thing," said Chicago Sky coach and general manager Steven Key in an interview with Swish Appeal yesterday. "Although we lost a team in Sacramento I think what its done is cause even greater parity. We went down from 13 players down to 11. The cap room came down and everything else. I just think it evens out because it will make the product a lot better...It's just hard that some people aren't going to get in in this situation -- not being about to have that 12th or 13th person that you see how in a couple if they get and they grow possibly turning into a regular or starter on your team. So on one side it's good that you're going to get more talent overall when you only get 11, but on the other side you know that you definitely won't get an opportunity that much or that often, unless you have a team where 5 or 6 people are eating up the majority of your cap and you need some of the younger players in order to fit under the cap.
"There could be a situation -- and I'm sure some teams will look at it that way -- where that's going to be how they carry that extra person in order to see if a couple of years from now whether or not they pan out."
So after conversations with coaches, the WNBA pre-draft media conference, statistical analysis, and watching far too much basketball, here is my first attempt at a mock draft. Although the draft itself and the ensuing player development is quite unpredictable, we can take stock of player strengths and weaknesses to get a sense of what a player might offer a WNBA team. The following is my current assessment of the draft, with explanations for each pick below.
WNBA First Round Mock Draft as of March 31, 2010
1. Connecticut Sun: Tina Charles, center, University of Connecticut
2. Minnesota Lynx: Jayne Appel, center, Stanford University
3. Minnesota Lynx: Monica Wright, guard, University of Virginia
4. Chicago Sky: Epiphanny Prince, guard, Botas-Spor/Rutgers
5. San Antonio Silver Stars: Alysha Clark, forward, Middle Tennessee State University
6. Washington Mystics: Kelsey Griffin, forward, University of Nebraska
7. Tulsa Shock: Andrea Riley, guard, Oklahoma State University
8. Los Angeles Sparks: Allison Hightower, guard, Louisiana State University
9. Atlanta Dream: Jenna Smith, power forward/center, University of Illinois
10. Seattle Storm: Alison Lacey, point guard, Iowa State
11. Indiana Fever: Kalana Greene, guard, University of Connecticut
12. Los Angeles Sparks: Jacinta Monroe, center, Florida State University
READ THE REST HERE SWISH APPEAL
I know it's been hard for us, LADYVOLNATION, but remember when Candace's class came in, it took them two years to get to the Ship, and one took GOD...to get there..lol (Candace's shoulder dislocating twice & a last second shot by Alexis Hornbuckle to beat LSU) yet they persevered and won it all. Get ready for the two best shows to date from LadyVols team...LET'S GO!
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — No one was more surprised than Meighan Simmons that she ended up as the player of the game.
The Tennessee signee scored 21 points in 14 minutes and Texas A&M-bound Karla Gilbert added 15 points to lead the West past the East 84-75 Wednesday night in the McDonald's All-American game at Ohio State's Value City Arena.
"To be honest with you, I wanted to come here and have fun," said Simmons, from Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas. "I wasn't expecting anything at all. It's just a blessing to be in a game like this."
Chiney Ogwumike, headed for Stanford, had 14 points and Duke's Richa Jackson added 12 points for the West, which built a big early lead and then hung on as the East mounted a furious comeback.
Natasha Howard, who will play at Florida State this fall, was the East MVP with 20 points, while future Connecticut teammates Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson had 17 and 12, respectively.
Howard, Ohio's Ms. Basketball out of Waite High School in Toledo, was supported by several dozen relatives and fans who drove down for the game.
"That was my high school team, my mom and some friends," she said. "They were the loudest people in the crowd."
With the game tied at 16, the West scored 21 of the next 27 points to take control. Jackson, a Duke signee, had six points and Ogwumike and Simmons each had four in the surge.
The East, down by as many as 22 points, drew as close as six points with less than a minute left on a 3-pointer by Penn State's Maggie Lucas. But Simmons hit two foul shots and Madison Williams, headed for Michigan State, hit a follow for some breathing room for the West.
NBA star Dwyane Wade’s divorce is getting nastier by the minute. According to ESPN, Dwyane has asked a court for sole custody of his two sons and has requested that his ex-wife Siohvaughn undergo psychological examination.
Documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press show Wade alleges his wife Siohvaughn cannot “be considered a fit and proper person” to raise their children. In more than 300 pages of filings, the All-Star says his wife exhibited threatening behavior, had extramarital affairs, uses abusive parenting methods and is unwilling to let the 2006 NBA finals MVP see his children. The couple has two boys, ages 8 and 2.
“For more than two years, I have tried to make peace with Siohvaughn concerning our divorce and custody of our kids,” Wade said in a statement released to The AP. “I no longer believe that’s possible. Siohvaughn has consistently attempted to interrupt or prevent me from having visitation time with our boys.”
Siohvaughn Wade’s behavior “has made it evident that she is unstable, dishonest, unbalanced, unwilling to accept responsibility for her actions, not of good character, and therefore, unfit to be a custodial parent,”
Read more: Necole Bitchie.com: Livin' the Bitchie Life….