Monday, May 14, 2007

Live From Media Day

I was expecting this to be a fairly low-key Media Day, given it is not kicking off training camp as it has in year's past, but we quickly have a fairly big story here: Barbara Turner's presence despite her Fenerbahce team being headed to a Game 7 in Turkey. We'll get Turner's take and Anne Donovan's comments later.

Also look for a behind-the-scenes perspective on Media Day since I won't be as busy tracking down stories as in years past. Make sure to keep checking back for the latest.

10:53: Media Day is set up with about eight different stations for players to rotate to throughout the morning. They're getting their pictures taken (naturally), filming video for StormVision, taping audio for Storm broadcasts, signing autographs and much more.

That means a lot of time waiting around for the media. We had a lengthy chat with Lauren Jackson, expounding more on her off-season rejuvenation in South Korea and more. None of her teammates in Korea spoke English, which allowed her to focus on basketball and avoid any drama (despite the best efforts of her translater). LJ also hung out from time to time with other WNBA players, most notably friend Alana Beard, who played on a nearby team.

11:18: Sue Bird spoke at length about her experience in Russia to the media. She described winning a championship as "almost anti-climactic. You don't get any chance to celebrate." As soon as the series was over in Russia, Bird, Jackson and their teammates were en route back to the U.S.

The arena Spartak played in held 3,500-4,000 fans and was often sold out.

The Spartak team had an assistant coach who Bird and Jackson felt looked exactly like Anne Donovan, to the point where they discussed who would win in a one-on-one game - the fake Donovan (who went about 6-6) or the real Donovan?

11:35: "It will be good to have everybody back here," said Donovan about Barbara Turner's return from overseas. Turner made the decision and informed the Storm after her team lost Game 6 in Turkey on Saturday, which forced a deciding Game 7 tomorrow. We've yet to get a chance to talk with Turner.

12:40: We had a chance to chat with Turner.

"It was a very difficult decision not playing in the final," she said. Turner had been thinking about the schedule and how much it would hurt her chances to make the team missing three practices. After Game 6, she made the decision, informed her coach and then called Donovan to give her the good news. Turner arrived in Seattle last night, but doesn't seem to be feeling much in the way of jetlag.

"It was a great experience in Turkey, a great team, a great coach," she said.

Turner explained that the decision to move from Israel to Turkey was about growing her game. In Israel, she was mostly playing power forward. With her Fenerbahce club in Turkey, she played the wing positions and had the opportunity to work on her outside shooting and defense.

Things are winding down here at The Furtado Center. I got a chance to watch Sue Bird record some of the "hypes" for the StormVision screen. Sue's a riot, and she was cracking herself up with her acting.

I also had a chance to feel like a player by getting my headshot taken by Sonics & Storm Photographer Terrence Vaccaro. The glare of the lights is harsh indeed.

Ashley Robinson has been hanging out with Sonics Mickael Gelabale and Johan Petro, getting them a sandwich from the food available for players, staff and the media. Now Robinson is playing H-O-R-S-E with Gelabale, who has an advantage from the perimeter.

1:00: Katie Gearlds chatted quickly about her trip back to Purdue for graduation after wrapping up her Media Day responsibilities.

"It was awesome," she said. "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Gearlds was thankful Donovan and the Storm let her take time off to go back home. After flying from Seattle to Indianapolis and back in a 48-hour span, she's a bit tired and was looking forward to a nap before this afternoon's practice.

I think that's a wrap. Thanks for reading and stay tuned as we start our week-long season preview here on


Anonymous said...

From a big Taurasi fan, did they say anything about playing with DT?

Kevin Pelton said...

I believe LJ called her "a legend."

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Thanks Kevin, keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Great report!! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kevin,

I was wondering if coming back early hurt BT's chances of playing overseas next year.

Kevin Pelton said...

Tough to say how much of an impact it will have. I think teams will understand the difficult position she was in, but this could hurt her in the eyes of some teams.

Anonymous said...

would Barbara Turner be "punished" for leaving the Turkish team early?