Thursday, April 24, 2008

Notebook: Day Off for Storm's Veterans

By design, Storm veterans Yolanda Griffith and Sheryl Swoopes took Thursday's practice off, doing some cardio work but otherwise not participating with the other players in camp.

"We're not playing this week, we're not playing this weekend," explained Storm Head Coach Brian Agler. "We're building this thing up. It's not like a small picture we're looking at. We're sort of looking with them at the big picture - making sure that they're ready and fresh."

The goal for the Storm is having Griffith and Swoopes be able to go hard when they return to practice tomorrow and Saturday.

"To me, it would defeat the purpose if we came in and practiced them six straight days," Agler said. "We have the ability now to let them go three, take a day off and now they get refreshed and they can go the next two or three hard."

The rest of the Storm's players focused on defense during an intense session of work.

"Good practice," said Agler. "Trying to get a little bit of flow up and down the floor getting ready for next week. Really focused a lot defensively. Trying to get Katie (Gearlds) caught up - she's a very intelligent player and she picks things up quickly. And continually evaluating personnel."

It's early, but Agler has already installed "quite a bit" of the team's schemes on offense and defense. Moving quickly makes sense for the team because of the accelerated pace of camp (the Storm is just six days away from opening the preseason next Wednesday at Chicago) as well as, somewhat counterintuitively, the late arrivals to camp.

"It's easier for people to come in when things are already taught because they can be plugged in with four other people who know and it's easier to pick up," Agler explained. "Secondly, our training camp's so short that you can't sit back and just wait until seven days before you start to put the majority of stuff in. So getting a lot of it in early is good and then going back, reviewing it, getting more reps in, that's sort of how we approach it."

Even though Sue Bird remains half a world away, playing in Russia, the point guard is already working on learning Agler's system after being sent a playbook earlier this week.

"She wanted it and she requested it," he said. "I didn't want to send it if it wasn't going to be used, but she requested it, so we got it right to her. It's a good thing."


Asked again about how young players have performed, Agler mentioned some different names.

"I thought Kimberly Beck had a good practice today," he said. "She did a good job at the point. Leah Rush has had a good training camp. Those two right there stood out. Allie (Quigley)'s progressing real well, Daphanie (Kennedy)'s competing hard."

The Storm is getting a good look at several players thanks in large part to the rules change which allows teams to invite players to camp without taking the risk that they are injured and the team is forced to count their salary against the cap all year long.

"It's benefited teams and players this year," said Agler, "because it's created more opportunities for some of the players to get a tryout."

Agler cautioned that while many of the young players have played well, there are limited roster spots available and many competitors for them.

"You get players that play well and play hard," he said. "That's good, but that doesn't guarantee them they'll make the team. There's so few teams and so many good players that there's just not a spot for everybody. It's a tough deal, but that's why we do this, to evaluate and see what we think is going to be the right fit."

1 comment:

Anonymous said... has to be tough for her, but give us an update on Natalie Doma. It would be nice to find out more about her.