rantz by lantz – news and notes from the world of sports
What. A. Whirlwind.
When I arrived at the Secaucus headquarters of the WNBA and NBA Entertainment, I didn’t know what to expect from my 2010 WNBA Draft experience.
What I got was the phraseology the WNBA hopes to deliver upon – Expect Great. Great coaches, great players, an overall great experience and a great opportunity indeed.
The day began with meetings with Commissioner Orender (which I missed – thanks Holiday Inn), followed by a tour of the NBA Entertainment Studios. The sheer amount of people, technology and equipment required to produce quality coverage is outstanding. A full control room was the first stop.
Rehearsals for the live draft programming were underway with ringers taking the place of Orender, reading her opening remarks and all the names and announcements of the drafted players. It was especially comical to be down in the studio, watch Rebecca Lobo throw it over to Holly Rowe interview “Tina Charles” – a nice young man that ’answered’ Rowe’s questions about being the first pick in the draft. The ‘live shots’ flashing on the television screens in the studio were of the basketball centerpieces with name captions underneath the image of the WNBA-logoed ball.
Then came perhaps my favorite room on the expansive campus that even employees managed to get turned around in while navigating (someone asked me where the cafe was. Ha). Cue the ‘manna from Heaven/Godsend’ tinkling of bells and choir of angels. The Broadcast Operations Center was upon us. Time to take a moment and appreciate the work that goes on in here throughout the basketball season. A poor, poor employee is assigned to monitor and watch every NBA and WNBA game that is playing on the wall-to-wall bank of televisions. A close eye is kept on every contest for interesting and intriguing goings-on that are worthy of immediate coverage or mention. Also, routine information like tip time, basic statistics, recaps and gamers are logged and distributed accordingly. These folks work closely with another set of stat takers and game watchers who use social media to the fullest, tweeting game finals, impressive performance statistics and everything else you see flying through the Twitterverse from the WNBA and NBA accounts.
After a few moments to dream of having your own Broadcast Operations Center installed in your living room, it was time for the collegiate coaches of a number of high draft prospects to reflect and remember their soon-to-be-drafted young women. The foursome rained accolades on the ladies they had the pleasure of coaching with descriptions ranging from indomitable spirit, to speedy scorer, to untapped potential, to determined, to competitor. The state of women’s basketball was discussed as well as the needed differences between the men’s and women’s game. All four reiterated the positive effects these draftees they were representing had made not only on their current team and program, but also on future recruiting classes.
Now – finally – it was time for the draft!
Every lady of the 15 we had the pleasure of speaking with ran the range of emotions from excited giddiness, to nervous energy to an eager anticipation of getting to work – striving to make the 11-woman roster of their chosen club and prove their basketball worth. Some reflected on their collegiate experience, while others looked to a bright future that lies ahead. But all had an obvious commonality.
Love of the game.
It was expressed on their faces and through their eyes and actions. Etched in their hearts. It was expected. But at the same time refreshing. Exactly what you want to see and feel from the ladies who are afforded the opportunity to live their childhood dreams out next to players they grew up admiring, earning their keep playing professional sports. When the draft board was full and the ink had dried, one thing came to my mind – Expect Great.
From these draftees, to the others were watching the draft from home and who will join in their drive to make a roster. Those who have come before and those who will follow these current leading ladies. From a league continuing to carve its niche and from the fans ready for the whistle to blow and the 2010 WNBA season to get underway – Expect Great.
To see quick quotes from each of the 15 new members of the WNBA organization (as gleaned from the WNBA media interviews and compiled on Swish Appeal), please click here.