Slocum just waits for the hour of chance in the WNBA | Sports coverage in high school
LAS VEGAS – Growing up in Boise, Destiny Slocum didn’t have the chance to attend WNBA games on a regular basis.
As she recalls, the former Mountain View star once traveled to Seattle and saw the Storm game and immediately became a Sue Bird fan.
On Saturday, the 2016 McDonald’s High School All-American returned to Seattle with the Las Vegas Aces.
And while Bird finished with 11 points in the 97-83 win, Slocum didn’t have the chance to make her professional debut as she was one of two aces who didn’t come into the game.
No wonder, as coach Bill Laimbeer has made it clear that she will be working for playing time this season.
“It’s been a quick turnaround since the draft, when you talk about the opportunity that was given to me to play against or share the floor with such good basketball players and great individuals,” Slocum said during the speech. Aces media day. “I am just honored and honored in so many ways. It’s nice to be in a place to grow and learn with them.
It was Slocum’s willingness to learn the game that immediately impressed the face of the franchise from the start.
Reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson commented on how taken aback when Slocum walked into the locker room one day, with a whiteboard and playbook in hand.
“As a rookie, my playbook … I didn’t even open it,” said Wilson, the 2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year. “Seeing her do that really shows how much she cares about the game and how much she wants to grow. She doesn’t just have to know her position. She needs to know where everyone stands and make sure they get there. She’s doing a great job so far.
Slocum’s attention to detail reveals a side of her that reminded Wilson of team star leader Kelsey Plum, as both are perfectionists when it comes to their craft. And while it might add pressure by expecting so much right away, it’s that desire to learn that keeps you in a league where the big difference between college and pro hits you quickly.
The players are better, they’re stronger, they’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re a lot more talented, and so when a lot of second-round picks are cut right away, put that whiteboard at team meetings. is not a bad thing. thing.
“Throughout my college career, I’ve realized that it’s important to know the games, but also to understand the whole concept of why we’re hosting a play, who we’re running it for,” Slocum said. . “It’s important as a leader, and just as a goalie in general, to know how to organize people in the best possible way.”
But it didn’t click immediately, as Slocum – as Laimbeer put it – was a ‘deer in the headlights’ when she first arrived at camp and saw players like Liz Cambage standing 6’8. inches, and move as fast as the point. guards with float footwork in the paint. Or see veterans like Plum, Wilson, Angel McCoughtry, Riquana Williams and former McDonalds All-American roommate Jackie Young play at a pace Slocum was not yet used to.
Ahead of Saturday’s game, Laimbeer said the rookies will always be behind and will always struggle. It’s rarely a seamless transition, and the key is just to improve each step and show off. Laimbeer, who is coaching her 20th season in the WNBA, said Slocum performed admirably in a scrum against the Los Angeles Sparks given the pressure she may have felt.
“It was a great revelation for her in the first three or four days,” said Laimbeer. “She’s not scared and I think that’s a very good trait for any professional athlete. She pulls the punches when it’s open and after the first few days they started to come in. Leading the series, learning how to do that too, because it had to learn the players. Overall, she’s actually pretty good to go. She’s grown a lot maybe in the last four or five days, which she thinks she belongs to.
“I think she has what it takes to be in this league for a long time.”
Slocum appreciates the unique situation with the Aces because, while they have one of the most talented rosters in the league, they weren’t making a draft pick or looking for someone to come in and have an immediate impact. Which is why she appreciates that the veterans have brushed her aside personally to share their thoughts and provide criticism, whether it’s finishing the moves, what to look for when attacking, how to get shot faster, to keep pace or to succeed. his feet came on faster.
She’s just ready to soak up the knowledge of last year’s runner-up, bide her time and step onto the pitch prepared when her number is called.
“I think she adapted very quickly,” Cambage said. “She had Plum, Jackie and Angel, you know veterans of the game, to help her. It will fit very well into the system.