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April 8, 2016

Jenny Boucek

Curt Miller

Fred Williams

Bill Laimbeer

New York, New York

THE MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome onto the call from the Seattle Storm, Head Coach Jenny Boucek; from the Connecticut Sun, Head Coach Curt Miller; from the Dallas Wings, Coach Fred Williams; and from the New York Liberty, Coach Bill Laimbeer. Welcome, all, and once again to the media participating, we will forego opening remarks and we're going to immediately queue up for questions.

Q. Jenny, being up in the Pacific Northwest, you've seen a lot of Jillian Alleyne, player for the Oregon Ducks. I know she had the season-ending injury, but do you still predict she'll be drafted this Wednesday, and what kind of potential does she have in the WNBA when she gets healthy?
JENNY BOUCEK: Yeah, I do think she'll get drafted. There's several teams that have multiple picks in the range that would make sense, and she's going to be a good project for a team that gets her because she's got a lot of natural ability and she's shown great progress under Coach Graves, so she's showing that she has the potential to get better.

Q. Curt, what have you seen so far from Jonquel Jones, and how well do you think she could fit into your team and system?
CURT MILLER: Well, Jonquel is a tremendous stretch 4 with great size that can give you some minutes at the 5. There's not very many people with her kind of skill set in the league that she can play so well on the perimeter with her passing, shooting, and driving ability. She's got a bright future, and despite missing some games late in that season with her clavicle situation, very intriguing to all of us.

Q. And then as a follow-up, is there a current player to compare her to in the WNBA?
CURT MILLER: You know, certainly when you think of the size she brings to the table, and myself being out in LA last year, she does some of the things that Candace Parker did as a stretch 4 and be able to facilitate and almost play like a point forward. People that are younger, some people want to compare her to Amber Harris, who's in the in the league currently, but she's got a tremendous skill set, and it's going to be fun to watch and see her progress in the league.

Q. This is a question for Curt. Can you talk a little bit about having back-to-back picks, and also what do you feel like is the main thing you want to accomplish with those two picks?
CURT MILLER: You know, certainly since taking over in mid-December, I haven't been shy about talking about improving our guard depth and our overall three-point shooting in whatever our position. I'm truly a big believer in offensive spacing and spacing is offense, and with some of the talented post players that we inherit, a big thing is creating the proper spacing for them.

We've got a couple areas of need, so we're excited about having those back-to-back picks, and of course we could go in a lot of different directions, but we haven't shied away from the fact that guard depth and three-point shooting are areas that we look to continue to address to help with that overall spacing.

Q. Fred, I wanted to ask you in terms of with your pick, if you could sort of give an indication of what you feel like is the main thing. Obviously at 5 you'll have a couple of contingency plans, depending on what the four before you do, but what the main thing you're hoping to accomplish with that pick would be.
FRED WILLIAMS: Well, I think at the fifth pick, there's a multiple players that will be there after the other picks before us. I think we'll look at the athletic ability of a player who can score and be an instant scorer coming off the bench or at least help us with some minutes, and then we have the other flipside of that, you always want to look at players with size, that have the length.

You know, we're just trying to look at the best available that's going to be there at the fifth pick, and we'll make a decision on that in a few days.

Q. Curt, obviously you're familiar a little bit with Aerial Powers from her time at Indiana. I'm curious your thoughts of what kind of impact you think she can make at the next level, and do you think her game is suited better for the professional game as opposed to college?
CURT MILLER: Well, obviously being in the Midwest all those years in college, I not only was around during her recruitment but also got to play against her in the Big Ten. She's a tremendous athlete that scores in a variety of ways. She can impact the game at both ends of the floor, so a very dynamic player, who I think her best days are ahead of her, and obviously played really well with the USA team this past summer and was the most productive player on that team.

You know, I've seen her since she was very young in high school. I have great respect for what she does and truly believe her best days are ahead of her.

Q. Fred, compared to previous drafts, do you think this draft has more players that are pro ready to start than past drafts?
FRED WILLIAMS: I think it has a lot of players that are pretty much pro ready. It all depends on the organization they get with, but I thought looking into this draft before the college season started, you kind of scratched your head on a few players, but I thought there were about six or seven players that really made -- that's going to really make this a pretty good draft, where maybe seven or eight players can really stick with a team throughout the season.

Compared to the other drafts, it's pretty solid. I've got to put it right up there with the drafts that we had two years ago and the years after that.

Q. Coach Laimbeer, just talking about last season, you were in position late in the first round, just wondering how you view the first-round depth this year, and given that you did acquire Brittany Boyd and Kiah Stokes last year, what kind of areas of need you see for your team.
BILL LAIMBEER: I think we'll get a quality player at 12. I wish we had picks like all the other teams, up there so high. But we've done a lot of scouting. We've done a lot of interviewing of backgrounds. We're going to get a quality player, and we expect the player to make our team. Whether they play or not, that's the hard part right now. We're pretty locked up at many positions. But overall this is one of those drafts where you're going to get a good player late in the first half and probably halfway through the second round that will have a chance to make some ball clubs, and whether they have an impact or not remains to be seen, but we also may just stash a pick this year with the Oregon kid because we've got a lot of players on our team already.

Q. Coach Williams, you've already talked about the draft. I want you to address how Amanda's development came overseas. Do you feel she's ready to give you more contributions this year that will allow you not to have to pick another big?
FRED WILLIAMS: Well, I'm expecting every player first to come in ready to go and compete for position and a roster spot on the team. She's one of those players that's a protective type player. But with her playing overseas, her numbers were good, she's healthy, and I expect her to come in and compete for a starting role for us this year. That's how I look at it for Amanda.

I thought last year, considering she was pretty much like a sophomore or a junior in college, she learned a lot from getting limited minutes. This year I expect her to get a lot more minutes and be a big contributor for us.

Q. Is it pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point as to what you guys will be doing with the No. 1 pick?
JENNY BOUCEK: Yeah, we've actually had some interesting offers. We'll keep taking offers until the last possible minute, but it would take a lot. Take a lot.

Q. Coach Boucek, with you being on the West Coast and seeing the PAC-12 up close, were there any players that you're not looking at to pick that in your mind increased their draft potential this year, and in the PAC-12 in general how the league may have increased its potential to have a lot more picks this year in the draft?
JENNY BOUCEK: Yeah, I think the PAC-12 showed that it's one of the best conferences in the country, maybe the strongest in this particular season. I mean, that's obvious with the fact that they had two teams in the Final Four.

So I mean, I think there's some good players. I think they helped their stock because they showed that on the national stage, and a lot of times East Coast people, just because of the hours, have a harder time seeing the West Coast players. I think that was hard for them. I think Talia Walton really showed what she can do and probably was one of the ones that people didn't know as much about that probably helped herself a lot.

Q. With Moriah Jefferson being from the Dallas area, what has impressed you most about her game, and are there any current WNBA players that you think she compares to?
FRED WILLIAMS: Well, she's a fine player. I think she's one of the quickest players I've seen in a long time that has entered in the draft, and will probably be labeled as one of the quickest players as a rookie, whatever team she's with who selects her. I just think she's got a great upside to her.

For me, I compared her to, on the men's side of things, like a Maurice Cheeks or a Chris Paul type player who can score and also get to the rim and who's just tenacious on defense. Whoever gets her is going to have a fine player.

Who she compares to, pretty much one of the teams that may select her, with Danielle Robinson, with her quick speed and her ability to facilitate to the basket, and I think what Jefferson has more is the outside range from outside, of shooting the three-point shot.

I think she compares with Robinson.

Q. With her being from the Dallas area, would Dallas consider trading up to get her to bring her to this area?
FRED WILLIAMS: Well, Dallas is trying to trade up to get a lot of people that are in front of us, and I don't think any other coaches want to let that happen with the talent that's out there, and so I thought we'd trade up one slot to get a little bit closer to make our selection in front of some other teams, but I think when you look at Jefferson there, at that slot, she's probably one of the top two players in the country.

Q. Bill, when you get into the later rounds, do you look at a player like a Shereesha Richards who played at Albany even though it wasn't a power conference, and how aware of her are you?
BILL LAIMBEER: Oh, you know, we're aware of almost all players that are going to be drafted. It's a matter of what you're looking for and what style of play. What we look for in a player in the second round and third round is do they have one discernible WNBA skill. Is there one thing they can hang their hat on, whether it's three balling or rebounding or shot blocking, speed, post-up abilities. If there's one trait they can hang their hat on, then they have a chance, and then your player development squad takes over and works on their weaknesses and tries to mold them into being a rotation player.

The player in question, you know, she's a solid scorer. The question is where does she play. In my world I always look at 4s going to 3s. Is she capable of doing that? That's open for debate. But she'll be well looked at throughout the course of the second round.

Q. Jenny, I'm going to give you two quick questions because there are two players. One, Imani Boyette, 6'7" center from Texas, how do you feel like she will project in the WNBA? And two, just as important, you drafted Nneka Enemkpali last year and she missed the entire year with an ACL, as you know. She's been cleared to play, and she's been working out pretty hard. What do you expect from Nneka this year, and both of them, obviously?
JENNY BOUCEK: Yeah, Imani, you can't teach that size. There's a lot of need for size around our league. Several teams have a need for that. If you want to compete for championships in our league, you've got to be able to deal with Griner and Tina Charles and some of these great post players, preferably without a double-team. So I think she brings value.

In terms of Nneka, we're real excited to see where she is. We really liked her before she got hurt. She does have, as Coach Laimbeer says, something to hang her hat on in her ability to go get the ball, her nose for the ball, and it reminds me a little bit of a young Rebekkah Brunson when she was coming out of college. We'll see how healthy she is and what she can do on this level, but we're real excited to have her in training camp.

Q. Fred, Rebecca about 20 minutes ago said she wouldn't be surprised if Imani went to Dallas. Do you want to spill the beans for the national public right now and just say Imani is going to be on your team?
FRED WILLIAMS: Well, I want to eat my beans, so I don't want to spill them. I'd like to keep them all in the bowl.

You know, she's -- I can say that she's really, really high on our list to look at in that selection of three players that could be there for us, and I can really tell you that she's a post player that we're strongly considering. That's pretty much all I can tell you right now. I'll tell you the rest when it comes to next Thursday.

Q. Curt, you just hired Nicki Collen from FGCU. What has she told you about Whitney Knight, and what do you know about Whitney and her WNBA prospects?
CURT MILLER: Well, we're really excited about Nicki. Nicki and I worked together nearly 20 years ago at Colorado State back in the day. Her husband, who was a longtime Division I head coach, was a mentor of mine, so it feels like a great addition, one of the strongest college coaches out there, and we had been in discussions for a long time about reacquainting, so very excited that she's joined our staff.

With that said, I was down there the last two years in person to watch Whitney play down there recently right near the end of their season again this year in their early part of the WNIT run, so certainly a versatile player that can really stretch the floor and has some size.

Obviously the questions that everybody asks is her physicality, and like some of the coaches mentioned, is she going to translate into a 3, is she going to be physical enough at the 4, but certainly she can hang her hat on as one of those kids with size that can step away from the basket and make shots.

Personally I get to lean on my staff, Steve Smith, coached Imani Boyette, and now Nicki Collen has coached Whitney Knight, so obviously have some insight on some very talented players in this draft from my staff.

Q. Curt and Bill, I want to ask you about USF's Courtney Williams, what impresses you about her game and how you think her skills will translate to the WNBA level.
CURT MILLER: I would defer to Coach Laimbeer, but obviously she's a tremendous athlete, first and foremost. It jumps off the charts. José has her in a pro-style game at South Florida. They run a lot of floppy. They run an awful lot of ball screens. She's tremendous in that mid-range game and rises up despite her size and is a terrific mid-range shooter.

The thing that translates for me is that José runs a lot of pro-style offenses, and she's very comfortable coming off of pin-downs and floppy action and ball screen action. She's a tremendous player and I think will impact this draft.

BILL LAIMBEER: She's got some speed to her. Her hops are what get her the ability to score. She can raise up over people, and she's not afraid. Whether her build translates into being successful as a WNBA 2 guard, I think that's going to be one question mark about her. She's getting beat up a little bit by some of the physical 2s out there, whether she can move and take a leap guard position depending on what system, she can do that and become a combo guard, I think that'll be even more of an opportunity for her for a long-term career.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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