Tulsa Shock point guard Ivory Latta
"I think the only thing that happens is sometimes you've got to get the players in your system that will respond as opposed to trying to teach them to respond."
Nolan Richardson's words give some insight into just why he continues to tweak the roster of the Tulsa Shock.
One such roster change was the addition of veteran point guard Ivory Latta, who was brought back to Tulsa after being released by Richardson just a few days after she arrived in pre-season training camp on May 12th.
The road to her reacquisition began almost as soon as she was released from the squad, with Richardson telling her to " hang loose that there was a possibility that she might be coming back". The knock on her door initially came 15 days later, when Shavonte Zellous was traded to Indiana on May 27th.
Richardson's reasoning behind the cut revolves around her late arrival in camp and having less practice time as the likes of rookies Amanda Thompson and Natasha Lacy as a huge contributing factor to her initial release. As for her return on July 5th, he attributes it to a few things.
"Everywhere, everybody talked about her being like a favorite wherever she's been," Richardson says of talking to former coaches from around the league about Latta's game.
Latta also fits the style, needs and system that Tulsa is running.
"She fits the system, our need - we have to have a player that's been around the league and that has shown that she can play," Richardson notes. "You know, first of all we were looking for maybe a truer point guard that could help cut down on some of the turnovers possibly if we had someone that was in control of the ball more.
"When we went back to get her, she had some problems that she had to take care of medically. She had a knee problem so then we ended up getting Keisha Brown to fill in for Zellous and after that she was ok and then we went out and brought her on in to help us with those duties."
After her break from the league Latta has had to quickly adjust to playing again as she's become an integral part of the Shock game plan in her six games with the team. Her mindset is to win - a task that has been tough to achieve for Tulsa this season.
"I'm blessed to have the opportunity to come back and play with these girls and I know it is something special in this room, on this team that is there that I as a guard really have to bring out," Latta reflects. "So I'm going to continue to try and bring it day in and day out, use all my energy, whatever I have to do to get this team some wins."
Thus far, what she's bringing to the team in her six-game span is this - a new offensive and defensive intensity on the court and averages of almost 31 minutes, 10 points, five assists and a steal for the league's last place team.
"I'm a point guard. I'm a general out there, so I've got to do what's best for the team and help this team get over that hump," Latta determinedly states.
Above all the numbers is the confidence coach Richardson has in his newest on-court general. "With Latta, when Latta's got it, something good usually happens."
And something good is what all those clad in Shock gold and red are looking toward.