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April 15, 2013

Elena Delle Donne


Q.  Elena, congratulations on being picked second.  You're sort of in a situation like Brittney that you're going to a team that has a lot of established veterans already.  Does that make your life easier knowing that you can come in and not have to carry a franchise right away?  You can come in there and help out and do what you do well?
ELENA DELLE DONNE:  Yeah, without a doubt.  I think this is a phenomenal team that I'll be joining.  There are a lot of players who are going to be mentors to me and really help me out along the way.  I think I'm going to learn a ton from these players.  Just, I think it will also elevate my game.
We definitely have a great team.  I felt like I was a really good puzzle piece for this team.  You don't want to say where you want to go before this is all happening, but Chicago was definitely my pick, and I wanted to go there really badly.

Q.  Elena, I'm sure today is a wonderful day for you and your family.  When you walked away from the game during college and you took some time off, in your wildest dreams did you ever imagine that you'd be sitting here today second player drafted in the 2013 WNBA draft?  Can you just reflect on that and how far you've come?  Also, to piggyback off of that, can you also talk a little bit about where you'd like to see your career go as a professional athlete?
ELENA DELLE DONNE:  If somebody told me that in five years I would be the number two draft pick going to the Chicago Sky to play my professional career, I would have told you you were crazy.  When I left Connecticut, I told myself, that's it.  Basketball is not going to be in my future.
It's just been such a growing experience for me.  People say when you're 18, you don't know what you want and you're crazy and all that.  But you just grow up.  I've been able to go to Delaware, be near my family, grow up really just expand as a person.  Now I'm a 23‑year‑old woman, and this is so incredibly exciting, and I can't wait to play professionally.
What I'm looking for, I'm looking for‑‑ I want to elevate my game to another level, and I think there's a lot that I can work on.  Obviously, I want to transform my body as best as possible.  But I think that there is a lot that can be done now at Chicago.  They haven't gotten to the playoffs.  That is number one.  We want to get to the playoffs and we want to be playing in postseason.  I want to leave a legacy there without a doubt, and I will work incredibly hard and play my heart out for this team.

Q.  You talked about Chicago being a place you wanted to go.  Is part of that because you have such great interior force in Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince?  And talk about how you fit in there playing off those two?
ELENA DELLE DONNE:  With Sylvia being such an incredible post presence in there, I think that is amazing.  Obviously, they have to guard Sylvia, and they also need help to guard Sylvia.  So I'm going to be able to spread the floor.  I'm going to be able to create a lot of room on the court.
So if they want to help off of me, we're going to be able to kick it and shoot a three.  If they don't want to help off of me, Sylvia's going to have a field day in there.  Not only that, you have Courtney Vandersloot who can make any pass possible.  She sees the floor better than most point guards that I've ever seen.  Then Epiphanny Prince who can score the ball anywhere.
Then Swin Cash, I don't even have to say anything, she's absolutely amazing.  She's someone who I'm really going to look to as a mentor and have her guide me as best as possible and get me to be a better player.

Q.  You mentioned in the ESPN interview that you go through the Kobe workouts.  Can you elaborate a little bit more on what that is and what you've been doing to prepare yourself for WNBA action?
ELENA DELLE DONNE:  Yeah, the credit goes to my brother on that one.  He had heard that Kobe plays full court one‑on‑one.  So we were doing 6:00 a.m. workouts full court, one‑on‑one.  He's hitting me, punching me, fouls don't matter.  You know, even blood didn't matter at that point.
So that's what we were doing, full court one‑on‑one, which is a very tough thing, and I'm assuming we'll be doing that pretty shortly.

Q.  I was talking to John Noonan before, and he said you can't wait to get back into the gym.  What things, when you get out from behind the camera, and I know how much you enjoy that, how important is it for you to just kind of get back to work, get back to the business of basketball, and what will be your focus when do you that?
ELENA DELLE DONNE:  I've actually been to the weight room, but I want to get back to the weight room even more on a consistent basis day after day.  Then I want to work on some conditioning, because we've had rookie orientation, and I've been taking notes on what some of the players have said about rookies.  And they said most of them come in unconditioned.  So I don't want to be that rookie.
Not only that, I want to get back on the basketball court.  There's a lot that John Noonan and I‑‑ John Noonan has been my trainer since second grade.  He's talking already about NCAA Tournament and things that he saw, and things I need to work on already.  So whatever he has me do, I'll do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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