Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Basketball Thoughts

Time has a way of slipping away when there is no schedule of women’s basketball games to follow. But since Stanford lost (again) in the Final Four to eventual National Championship Baylor, lots of basketball things have happened.

One, Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike was drafted number one by the LA Sparks. It was fun to follow her and her sister Chiney on twitter and practically get a blow by blow account of everything back stage that lead up to the draft. We knew when Nneka was shopping for her draft dress (she selected orange, because she heard orange pops on camera), we knew when she was traveling to ESPN studios (yes, she HAD seen bigger satellites on the run up one of Stanford’s hills to the “dish”) and where she was and how she felt (nervous, calm, excited). It added a special touch to the pride all Stanford fans felt (first time Stanford alum went number one) when her name was called, even though it was a little bit anti-climactic in the sterile studio.

On the other hand, all the articles leading up to the draft, literally said, “Nneka, then who?” They really insulted the rest of the draft prospects. Then ESPN cut away televised coverage after the allotted hour had been reached even though there were still names to be called not Ogwumike. No respect.

Andrew Luck, another former Stanford player was also drafted number one, this time in the NFL, and congratulations to him. Projected income for him is $20 Million over, say, 5 years. Nneka and the other top three draftess will make $48,000 this year. Number 5 and down will earn less. Sigh.

To make matters worse, if you were drafted in the second or third round of the WNBA, your chances of making the team are slim to none. UConn coach Geno Auriemma said it took a number of years, but finally the WNBA has youngish, seasoned veterans that are not retiring, and with 11 roster spots, teams could conceivable take zero rookies. Wish there was more teams out there for women who still want to play in the US.

Nneka has said since she is in California, she wants to go back to Stanford in the off season for her MBA instead of overseas to make more money. After reading between the lines for Jeanette Pohlen, Jayne Appel and Kayla Pedersen, it didn’t seem like they enjoyed their time overseas, anyway. With Nneka’s $48,000 salary, though, she might need to make more money to pay for grad school. Luckily, Lisa Leslie is a part Sparks owner and Nneka’s new mentor. Let’s hope she helps Nneka get endorsements, commercials and or modeling jobs to pay the bills.

In other news:
Legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summit, who was diagnosed last year with early onset dementia retired from UT. She preserves her dignity and win loss record, lets head coach Holly Warlick officially put her stamp on things, gets the cameras and focus off her condition, and allows her son to graduate and leave home to accept a women’s basketball assistant coaching position. Tennessee gave Pat a title (professor emerits) and a position to stay and help mentor players as long as she wants. Very cool of them.

C and R were rankled by a blogger posting a headline stating Pat Summit was “forced out” by Tennessee. We have seen no evidence of that in any other media. Irresponsible blogger publishing things without checking facts and just going on opinions (hey wait a min…no it wasn’t us, we checked).

We wish Pat well even though we have rooted against her orange-tinged team forever.
Well, WNBA starts in like, five days, summer Olympics are right around the corner, so plenty more women’s basketball and women’s sports to watch and be dazzled, captivated and pleased by. Stay tuned.

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