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Per InsideCarolina: Ivory Latta has been hired to replace Trisha Stafford-Odom as the new assistant coach at North Carolina. Odom just recently left her position at North Carolina to take the head coaching position at Concordia. Latta was a three-time All-American during her time as starting point guard for the Tar Heels. She currently is in her sixth season in the WNBA; she is playing this season with the Washington Mystics.
If you've kept in the loop on the 12 WNBA teams through our offseason StoryStreams, you've probably noticed that the Washington Mystics had the most stuff. And now the season will begin on Memorial Day. Therefore, that means that we're going to bid adieu to this offseason StoryStream, which pretty much shows the spectrum of emotions that many Mystics fans had since the end of last season, and on a personal level, not to sound self serving, it is to a large degree all mine.
Obviously the 2012-2013 offseason started on a somewhat expected note, starting with the termination of former General Manager/Head Coach Trudi Lacey. But right after that things just seemed to take a huge nosedive when the Mystics ended up with the 4th pick in the WNBA Draft. That prompted the Manifesto, which you can find in the Stream.
Between that time and late November after Mike Thibault was terminated by Connecticut, many wondered whether the lottery balls could have spelled the franchise's demise though nothing else besides speculation seemed to indicate otherwise. When Thibault was shown the door in Connecticut, like many others I prayed that Ted Leonsis would hire him.
Fortunately in December, my prayers were answered, and Mike Thibault came to DC as a true A-List head coach where he was confident that he can turn things around, but said there are no shortcuts. After then, he began to make his mark on the team by signing Ivory Latta in free agency, making a couple moves to pick up Kia Vaughn, and also acquired Quanitra Hollingsworth with a third round pick that didn't figure to make the team anyway. These were moves that I thought were impossible before he came to town.
Then in the Draft, he ultimately decided to go with Option 1 of the Manifesto, by selecting Tayler Hill with the first round selection, then going with Nadirah McKenith and Emma Meesseman with his remaining selections. All three are on the opening day roster. He also acquired another rookie guard who's on the team with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt who could also add more positive contributions. Finally, though he did ultimately keep all of the team's top players from the 2012 season, they come to DC this year realizing that nothing is guaranteed with a respected figure like Mike Thibault and hopefully this gets them to play at a higher level than last.
With that said, we now head to the 2013 season.
As some of you have already seen, another member of our team, Zack, who has written a good number of posts on the Maryland women's basketball team this past season will also do the same for the Mystics this summer and some of his pieces on the DC team are out already. I am pleased to tell you that he'll be writing more game stories, give more of a "media-side" take on the team, in particular for games at the Verizon Center this summer.
I'll still be providing a perspective as a fan and try to have some other fans put their thoughts down too, because, I'm only one guy and certainly don't represent everyone who follows this team.
So in the end, we say goodbye to the 2012-2013 Mystics offseason StoryStream, from the standpoint of being a constantly updated feed (you'll still be able to read everything on here), and we look forward to the 2013 Mystics season StoryStream as we get to see how Mike Thibault begins his rebuild of this team.
Some more videos on Monumental Network:
The Washington Mystics now have their final roster. Read here from their website on more.
Washington had a rough 2012 and is trying to turn things around in 2013 despite not drafting one of the "Three to See."
Here's today's Monumental Today from Monumental Network which shows the Mystics taking part in community services for WNBA Cares week. The team worked with DC Central Kitchen, a non profit organization that provides meals to low income people in the District.
Here's a picture as well from their time there:
There's been many videos from the folks at Monumental Network, and I even haven't had time to watch them all. In case you were wondering why Mystics guard Ivory Latta didn't play, it's because she had a leg injury, but in a video interview today with Monumental Sports' Casey Phillips, she feels better.
Given that the Mystics' first regular season game against the Tulsa Shock won't happen until next Monday, I think it's safe to say that barring a setback of some kind, Latta should be ready to go then as she faces her old team.
Tonight, the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will be on television. You can watch it on ABC at 8:00 PM Eastern after the conclusion of Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies which the Spurs won pretty soundly, 105-83. Even better, one of the main subjects of this post, country/pop singer Taylor Swift will be there and is expected to perform too! And one of our community members wrote up a parody of one of her songs as it relates to Washington Mystics fans and their former guard Natalie Novosel, who was cut last Thursday.
I checked the box score stats here and the Mystics went on a quick run and kept the deficit down to two points when the score was 57-55, but at that point, the starters for the Lynx were back and then the Lynx went on a 17-2 run the rest of the way.
Monica Wright led Minny in scoring with 16 points, and also added four rebounds and assists, plus three steals. Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson, and Rachel Jarry also scored in double figures.
For DC, only Kia Vaughn had 10 points and seven rebounds. Tayler Hill was 0-9 shooting and had NO POINTS and six turnovers. But having said that, she did get seven rebounds and three assists. Not a good game from her. Crystal Langhorne only had ONE rebound in 22 minutes, and I think she's capable of more than that. Matee Ajavon returned from her overseas play and was 2-7 shooting and had eight points and two assists. Also, the assist to turnover ratio for DC was 10 to 24 and let's hope that was just a bad day at the office for them. Like we saw last Wednseday, both Hill and Nadirah McKenith started in the backcourt, but I'd expect Ivory Latta to start in the regular season.
This was a disappointing performance for the Mystics in the fourth quarter based on how the box scores were going on one hand. But at the same time, the Lynx are just much better so hopefully the Mystics can just use this game as a learning experience before their first regular season game vs. the Tulsa Shock on Monday, May 27.
Two games today featuring WNBA teams playing each other or in other words games when they're NOT playing national teams.
Today, per the Washington Mystics' Twitter page ,they have waived forward Drey Mingo and guard Natalie Novosel. The roster's now at 12 players.
I know that with Novosel's departure, I now look like a fool. I seriously thought she was going to make this team given the relative lack of wing players on the roster. And yes, I wanted her to get a chance to show what she can do and I'll be the first to say that I'm very disappointed that it looks like she won't have that chance at least here in DC.
But having said that, Coach Thibault has made a promise to all fans that he is not signing or keeping anyone simply for sentimental reasons or for Our Girls Syndrome (OGS) reasons. Basketball will be why a player has or doesn't have a job in this league.
Trading away Jasmine Thomas was indicative of that. Not drafting Tianna Hawkins or Sugar Rodgers at #4 when Tayler Hill was the best choice is also indicative of that and there were a number of fans who wanted them here at that spot. After all Christy Winters-Scott at some point thought she'd be a great fit. And yes, cutting Natalie Novosel if she's not good enough for this team right now, which is what Coach Thibault has determined, is also indicative of that. Because I have faith in him and the way he's running this team, I support his decision.
With Novosel out, this also indicates that NONE of the Mystics' Draft Picks or acquired first round draft picks from the previous GM/coaching regime will return for 2013 in the Thibault era. Those players are Ta'Shia Phillips, Victoria Dunlap, and Jasmine Thomas (who was technically a Storm draft pick) from 2011; and LaSondra Barrett and now Natalie Novosel from 2012.
I'm kind of bummed, but like I said, I want Mike Thibault to rebuild this team for sustained long term success, and if this is what he has to do, this is what he has to do.
And yes, we all wish Natalie Novosel and Drey Mingo the best as they try to find roles on other WNBA teams.
Just some quick video of Mike Thibault after the Mystics' win over Team Brazil yesterday. Our thanks to Ed Strand for providing this as well as some video of game action.
After a slow start, the Washington Mystics eventually pulled away and beat Team Brazil 71-56.
Tayler Hill started, played 21 minutes and scored 12 points including two three point shots. Emma Meesseman also scored 12 points off the bench and added three rebounds and three dimes. Nadirah McKenith played 23 minutes and got to start at the other guard slot with Ivory Latta not playing but gave up four turnovers and only dished two assists. I wasn't there, so I don't know why Latta didn't play. And Natalie Novosel played 16 minutes where she got two steals, two rebounds, but only two points, both on free throws.
Among the veteran players, Monique Currie had the best day with six assists and no turnovers, and also scored 11 points,7 of them with free throws. However, she was 2-9 overall shooting so hopefully that's just a bad day at the office in that regard.
Both teams didn't shoot well at all with Brazil making a tad shy of 34% of their shots and the Mystics couldn't even get a third of theirs in, so I don't think this game could have been all that great to see in person. The Mystics made 27-32 free throws while Brazil made 12 of 14 and without the favorable free throw differential which is indicative of a Mike Thibault team the last couple years, the Mystics could have lost this one, but again, that's without actually watching this game.
Besides Currie's off-day shooting wise though she was dishing the rock very well, Tierra Ruffin Pratt was 0-7 shooting overall and Drey Mingo was 1-5 shooting overall so that may have made the stats look worse than the game.
Still, I'm happy that Coach T is focusing on the young players even though it's preseason.
On Saturday, DC travels to Bismarck, North Dakota to play the Minnesota Lynx and Matee Ajavon should return for that game.
Today, the Washington Mystics signed 6'4" center Jessica Moore who is a nine year WNBA veteran from Connecticut. Last year she played 16 games, eight for the Connecticut Sun and eight for the Atlanta Dream and averaged less than two points a game and a little over a rebound a game.
Unless there is a post player on the roster right now that Coach Thibault doesn't really like at all from training camp, I don't know if Moore is a lock for the opening day roster or not. That said, should Moore be on the opening night roster, if my calculation is correct (feel free to say I'm wrong if it is), the Mystics would have a Connecticut alum on the roster for the first time since 2003 when Asjha Jones was a backup power forward for the team.
Last Thursday, the Washington Mystics held their media day to the public. Watch some videos including with Coach T, Lang, Mo Currie, Kia, Tayler, and more.
The Washington Mystics have cut three players: guard Shannon Bobbitt, guard Ashley Corral, and center Avery Warley. The roster is now at 13 players including guard Matee Ajavon who is still overseas.
Bobbitt and Corral's departures should come as no surprise. I'm a little surprised with Warley being cut however this early in camp. Still, considering that there are a good number of posts here in the DMV, and that it wouldn't be surprising to see Emma Meesseman stay on this roster all season, some post player besides Crystal Langhorne and Kia Vaughn was going to get cut.
Here are some more video links from Mystics camp from yesterday from Monumental Network:
And today at least so far from Monumental Network as well:
I've been an advocate of change on the Washington Mystics roster and a good number of you all concur with those beliefs. But there has been a side that hasn't had a fair opportunity to be spoken for here, which consists of fans who believe that a massive overhaul of the core of the roster isn't necessary. So here we'll take a look at why.
Add two more young rookie hopefuls to training camp.
Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, a guard from North Carolina, joins the training camp roster. Also, the press release mentioned that Drey Mingo was invited to camp, but M Robinson got you all the scoop on this last week.
Lastly, as a formality, guard Tayler Hill, guard Nadirah McKenith, and center Emma Meesseman have been signed onto the roster. And at least two of the three should be on the opening night roster if not all three.
Training camp starts on May 5 which is less than two weeks away.
I wasn't able to make it to the Washington Mystics Draft Party last week. But I asked Ed Strand, one of my fellow season ticket holders on his take on things now that the Draft is over and he was there to see what was up. He was also part of the fan roundtable we had last February.
With the 2013 Draft now in the books as well as a number of moves made to improve the team, the Washington Mystics figure to have a team that is more competitive night in and night out. But there are still many questions that need to be resolved, not only for this season, but for the long term future. One thing however is for certain. The Mystics must commit to their younger players right now and for the foreseeable future if they want to be perennial contenders.
According to basketfeminin, via lovewomensbasketball.com, Emma Meesseman, a Belgian center who is the 19th pick in the WNBA Draft, will report to the Washington Mystics' training camp.
She has been held in high regard by Coach Thibault and some believe she may be like another Ann Wauters if she pans out right, so I look forward to seeing what she brings to camp.
Two more video links from Monumental Network:
1. Here is Monumental Today, which is Monumental Sports & Entertainment's daily roundup of events surrounding Ted Leonsis' teams. Vast majority of stuff will be on Wizards and Capitals news because their seasons are still in full swing. Anyway, on today's roundup, there's a video recap of what the Mystics did on Draft Night. In addition to Tayler Hill, St. John's guard Nadirah McKenith was selected 17th overall in the Draft, and in the video at the 3:23 mark indicates the Thibault plans on keeping her on the roster after training camp from his own words. That should be good news for Queenie.
2. Wizards and Mystics broadcaster Christy Winters Scott gave an interview to Thibault on Draft Night where there was a party at Verizon Center for season ticket holders in regards to the drafting of Tayler Hill and he's obviously pleased about her.
I don't know what to make of his response to Winters Scott's question in regards to swingman Monique Currie and guard Matee Ajavon "returning to the lineup" and "competition at the wing." He visibly didn't seem too pleased with this question and decided to talk more about Tayler Hill instead. It shouldn't be a surprise to see at least either of them dealt in the coming weeks since I don't know if Matee in particular would be pleased being in a lesser role with Tayler starting over her at some point this season, more likely on opening night.
To follow more on DC's WNBA team's offseason, follow our StoryStream.
"I'm incredibly honored and excited for the chance to pursue my dream of playing in the WNBA," Drey Mingo said. "And I would like to thank the Mystics for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their organization."Purdue Athletics
Here are some video links from Washington Mystics guard Tayler Hill from Monumental Network:
Tayler Hill with WNBA president Laurel Richie and her Mystics jersey! twitter.com/WashMystics/st…— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) April 16, 2013
Not a Division I player, but James Bowman has a little info on her in the open thread.
Wows: Love this pick for the Mystics. I had McKenith rated ahead of Bentley or Whyte as a point guard in this draft. And the reason is that she maintained a strong assist ratio despite having to score so much for her team. She has pretty strong potential as a WNBA point guard. And just because this probably won't get talked about much, she rebounds very well for a point guard.
Wonders: She's not a very strong 3-point shooter, but that doesn't always doom point guard prospects.
Worries: So maybe I've been listening to Queenie and Starkman too much, but I really like McKenith as a point guard. The only concerns I've had is that at times she can get too aggressive. But again, the reason for that was St. John's needed her to score a lot. She has the makings of someone who can contribute at the WNBA level.
The Washington Mystics have selected Ohio State star Tayler Hill, a 5'10" guard from Minneapolis as their first round draft pick. Hill is the fourth pick in the 2013 Draft, and is considered to be one of the top guards in the draft class.
Today, the Washington Mystics announced that they have acquired Quanitra Hollingsworth of the New York Liberty in exchange for the 25th pick in the 2013 Draft.
The Phoenix Mercury, the team with the first pick in the 2013 Draft has a huge Draft Central page which can be accessed here. You can read more on the "Big Three," past number one picks, and other draft prospect related analysis, at least from the perspective of a Mercury fan.
The fun part is the Mock Draft section which includes one from our boss, Nate. Take a look at his picks here. In addition, Kevin Pelton of ESPN, Odeen Domingo of the Arizona Republic, Doug Feinberg of the AP, David Siegel of hoopfeed.com, and Al Bravo of the AP also created mock drafts.
We'll cut to the chase here. The top three for everyone except Al Bravo was Griner-Delle Donne-Diggins from first to third. Bravo had the second pick going to Diggins and with Delle Donne going to Tulsa at third.
At the fourth pick, things get interesting.
Nate has the Washington Mystics selecting a guard, Tayler Hill of Ohio State at the fourth pick given the need to add guards, which I have noted, since there needs to be immediate help there. But the other mock drafts had post players Tianna Hawkins of Maryland (Pelton and Feinberg) and Kelsey Bone of Texas A&M (Domingo and Siegel) going to DC. Bravo had Syracuse center Kayla Alexander as the fourth pick.
With four different players tabbed as possible #4 picks, the Mystics seem to have a very tough task. With the exception of Swish Appeal where we believe the Mystics will end up picking a guard, most of the other guys think that they should pick a post, which would only add to an already current imbalance between perimeter and interior depth on the team.
UPDATE at 3:10 PM ET, April 11, 2013 - H/T to blackandgoldforever who found that the Mercury updated the draft site.
Today, Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault gave an interview today on Monumental Network in regards to what he's looking for in the 2013 Draft. The interview is a little over eight minutes long.
We are finally starting to see some more moves made by teams and the Washington Mystics made a minor one today be re-signing guard Shannon Bobbitt and guard Shey Peddy to training camp deals.
Bobbitt was on the 2012 Mystics team for most of their games as a replacement to Dominique Canty. She scored 2.8 points and dished 2.6 assists a game. We've already pointed out what she could bring to the table as well as her shortcomings here. Peddy was the 23rd pick of the 2012 WNBA Draft to the Chicago Sky after playing her college ball at Temple University. She was cut before the season.
My take on these moves is that it's unlikely that either player makes the final 2013 team, with the assumption that the Mystics draft picks, in particular the 1st round pick, is also a guard, so if you're a Mystics fan, don't be particularly alarmed or worried that this is a true "best that Mike Thibault could do" move. The offseason isn't done yet.
Here's a video interview with Washington Mystics assistant coach Marianne Stanley on Monumental Network which was given yesterday. It's nearly nine minutes long and hits a wide variety of topics and it is actually pretty good. In addition, Eric Thibault also gave an interview last Monday on Monumental Network.
A lot of Stanley's interview centers on her time at Immaculata University with the Mighty Macs, the power shifts in women's college basketball, and talk about the 2013 Draft Class' "Big Three." Coach Thibault's interview doesn't seem to be all that telling on anything but he threw out the line "building our identity" which the previous coaching regime looked for well into the 2012 season...
If you are wondering what Stanley or Thibault are thinking with the current players or what this team plans on doing, like we saw in many of Mike Thibault's interviews, they never mentioned players by name or committed to any particular thing they'd like to do in the draft, etc. But since Mike Thibault has more or less endorsed Crystal Langhorne and Natalie Novosel from the 2012 team, it's a safe bet that they'll be on the 2013 team and it's also anyone's guess as to what happens over the next couple months as this team looks to add more upside to the roster and have a bright future in DC this summer and beyond.
Today, the Washington Mystics completed their coaching staff with the hiring of Eric Thibault as an assistant coach. Marianne Stanley is the other assistant on the team. Coach Thibault comes from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where he was an assistant coach on their women's basketball team. The Rams were 11-19 this season, and 4-10 in their inaugural season in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
In another release from VCU, Coach Thibault issued a statement on his departure:
I would like to thank Coach [Marlene] Stollings, our players and staff, and the entire VCU community for an incredible experience this past season," added Thibault. "I feel very lucky that I was able to learn from Coach Stollings and work each day with our exceptional student-athletes. I am excited to watch VCU Women's Basketball continue to build and develop into one of the elite programs in both the A-10 and on the national stage.
Before coming to VCU for the 2012-2013 season, Coach Thibault was a graduate assistant at St. John's University from 2010-2012 under then-head coach Kim Barnes Arico's tutelage where he also earned his master's in Sports Management. While he was there, the Red Storm made two straight NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2012. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 2009 where he was an assistant manager of the women's basketball team there. Lastly, he spent five years with the Connecticut Sun from 2008-2012 where he was involved with individual workouts and scouting.
And yes in case you were wondering, Coach Eric Thibault is the son of Head Coach/GM Mike Thibault.
Earlier this week, Monumental Sports' Director of Mystics Ticket Sales, Danita Johnson sent out an email to fans in regards to business changes that have been made this season. Read the whole email which I captured in a snapshot and you can read it here. Some contact info was redacted.
The only change is that nearly every season ticket holder is getting a new guest services representative including those with accounts for the other teams, which include me. I expected this to happen from the beginning even though I was told at first that I probably wouldn't face such changes.
At least from management's eyes, it keeps things simpler for them and it may be better that there's a separate staff anyway for the Mystics.. While the old system worked for me from a traditional customer service standpoint, I know it didn't work so well with others. So I think for most Mystics STH's, this is a win as I've indicated before.
I am not happy with this for my selfish interest, but not everyone can be totally happy with every decision. Therefore, if this makes most Mystics fans happy, it makes me happy.
Considering that there are multiple posts on her in the last couple days, I declare this week "Natalie Novosel Week!"
It should be noted that in the interview Casey Phillips mentioned that Natalie's overseas team, Targoviste based in Romania folded, which refers to when the team's budget was slashed in half last December and this prompted Natalie to leave the team along with other players, which included current Mystics forward Monique Currie, but she was only expected to play on the team through December anyway. However, the team still clearly played games after the start of 2013, which doesn't seem to indicate that the team ceased operations midseason.
Still, we're glad to hear from Natalie herself that she's happy to be in a new system here in DC as the Mystics build their team for future success.
In addition, Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne was in town last week and here's her video where she gives her take on Mike Thibault and her overseas team.
Ted Leonsis, the owner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and the Washington Mystics teams has been named an interim CEO of Groupon, a daily deals website that offers customers deals typically at around 50% off service and merchandise at a number of businesses. Leonsis was previously the Vice Chairman of the company. Eric Lefkofsky who was the Executive Chairman also shares the interim CEO role with Leonsis.
Here's a video of Mystics GM/Coach Mike Thibault in regards to the recent offseason transactions involving center Kia Vaughn and guard Natalie Novosel who is in DC for offseason workouts. All courtesy of Monumental Network.
In the video, in regards to Vaughn Coach Thibault noted that she is a young player who is entering her prime, and will be a good fit in DC. He also wished that Natalie played more in the latter half or the 2012 season. Though she played at least 12 minutes in the team's last four games she also had three games in September when she played one (vs the Sun on 9/4), two (vs the Liberty on 9/12), and five minutes (vs the Liberty on 9/1). In that month, the Mystics were also totally out of the playoff picture. Coach got a chance to talk to her more in depth and believes that this will be a fresh start, which truthtella noted in our piece regarding Natalie being at yesterday's STH event and for the Wizards' game vs. the Pistons.
UPDATE on March 1, 2013, 6:25 PM: Since coming to DC, Thibault has been very active supporting the Wizards and Capitals, and Ted Leonsis gives a nice take here on that.
The Washington Mystics had a season ticket holder event yesterday before last night's Washington Wizards game against the Detroit Pistons at Verizon Center. Here are some quick notes on it.
Earlier today, a Fulton County, GA grand jury indicted former WNBA all star Chamique Holdsclaw of five criminal counts, including two counts of aggravated assault, one count of first degree criminal damage, two counts of second degree criminal damage, and one count of possession of a firearm in commission of a felony, according to USA Today. These charges stem from an incident last November which involved Tulsa Shock forward Jennifer Lacy's vehicle which was broken in and shot into.
In addition, Holdsclaw faces up to 65 years in prison if found guilty of all counts according to TMZ.com. For the time being, Holdsclaw is free on a $100,000 bond.
Stay tuned to this story by following our StoryStream.
Today, the New York Liberty have announced that they have traded restricted free agent center Kia Vaughn and the 17th pick in the 2013 Draft to the Washington Mystics in exchange for the 7th overall pick in the Draft which was acquired in a deal involving Jasmine Thomas. Vaughn is entering her fifth WNBA season where she averaged 6.4 points and 5 rebounds a game in 31 games played including 17 starts in 2012. Her best season statistically was in 2011 where she was named the WNBA's Most Improved Player.
The Atlanta Dream announced the hiring of former Washington Mystics head coach Julie Plank as an assistant as well as the return of Joe Ciampi.
Jeong-Hoon Kim, who is one of Monumental Sports' minority partners has been nominated as South Korea's new Minister of Future Creation and Science by Park Geun-Hye, who is the country's President-Elect and will take over next Monday on February 25, 2013. Kim would be serving in a cabinet level position in Seoul.
Without getting too deep into Korean politics, Kim's nomination doesn't come without controversy because he is a naturalized American citizen who was an American Naval officer and has served on CIA advisory boards in recent years which is where most of the potential issues are coming from. However, he appears to have made major steps to show his commitment to Korea by giving up his American citizenship and also by resigning from his post as President of Bell Labs, an R&D subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent. Gee Rittenhouse, has been named his successor.
As of the time of this post, there hasn't been any known indication that he has also left Monumental Sports in order to distance himself from American business ties that may be considered as interfering with Korean government interests. Washington is a city with as many government ties as any other place in the world, but I couldn't see the Verizon Center and the sports teams interfering with those duties.
Monumental Sports and Entertainment has described itself as "one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports." Assuming Kim remains with Monumental as a partner, adding a highlight that a partner is also a high ranking official on one of the world's most powerful countries in Asia certainly adds to that diversity.
Check out this tweet from the Washington Mystics:
From seeing a picture of Coach Thibault, Crystal Langhorne and Team President Sheila Johnson altogether, it appears that Langhorne now figures to be in the 2013 picture in DC. All that said, by no means does this indicate that their offseason is over and what this team ultimately will look like this May.
UPDATE at 10:00 PM ET: Wizards lose 96-88 to the Raptors. It's like nothing can go right for all three teams in Verizon Center...
Today, the Atlanta Dream announced that it has acquired guard Jasmine Thomas as well as the 13th overall pick in the 2013 Draft from the Washington Mystics. Washington acquired the 7th and 19th overall picks in the 2013 Draft from the Dream.
Mystics GM/HC Mike Thibault has given a new interview that was released today on Monumental Network. So here's the main takeaways I got from it
1. He believes that Ivory Latta does have the potential to be a starting guard for the future. That is the strongest endorsement I have seen him give any Mystics player so far this offseason.
2. He has been doing a lot of draft scouting to determine which person is potentially the 4th best player because much of the work has been done with the first three as it is. After all, they're getting the hype Maybe this indicates that he will just keep the pick?
3. However he also stated that the Mystics are still mulling over trade options, so if you're in the camp of hoping that Coach Thibault works some magic somewhere, maybe he'll do something you'll like and it doesn't appear that any door is closed right now. And to get back to #2, Thibault has to see which players look to be the best player after the "Big Three" regardless of whether that player plays in DC or not. Another team may covet that player and that pick. Still, he does sound like he is fine with keeping that pick.
4. In regards to the Mystics' other free agent acquisitions. Avery Warley will have a chance to be a rotation post on the Mystics, and Ashley Corral also will have an opportunity to make the team.
So has Thibault tipped his hand? Not really to me. What we do know is that the players who he acquired certainly figure to be possible contributors on the 2013 Mystics team, but kind of like Coach Thibault has indicated since taking this job, he isn't afraid to make a move involving a loved player for business reasons.
In this second part of the Q&A we ask Storm fan and season ticket holder Patrick Sheehy on his thoughts regarding the Washington Mystics' current offseason which is highlighted by a major hire with Mike Thibault coming in as the new GM and head coach. So far, most of the viewpoints on their offseason come from a Mystics fan perspective. Maybe I am not level headed and am undervaluing or overvaluing certain aspects on this team. So now, let's see this team's offseason from another fanbase's point of view which could add some more perspective into things.
As announced yesterday, the Seattle Storm have signed Temeka Johnson and Noelle Quinn. But how specifically does that help them and what does it mean for the other teams who have lost out on their former players? Click here for the link to the actual announcement.
So, last but not least, some notes on the Washington Mystics' offseason. Admittedly, I've put out a lot of stuff regarding this team over the past several months. I have already lined out what I'd like to see this team do in those posts in our Mystics' StoryStream and I haven't changed my stance on where I would like to see this team go. So instead of rehashing my own thoughts, I have a done a Q&A with three fellow Mystics fans on how they feel about this offseason and what they would like to see for 2013.
Today, the Washington Mystics signed Avery Warley and Ashley Corral to the roster. Warley is a center from Liberty University where she played on the Phoenix Mercury for 28 games in 2012 before being waived in the closing parts of the season. Warley averaged 3 points and nearly 6 rebounds a game. Ashley Corral is from Southern Cal, where she was on the Seattle Storm's training camp roster.
Though it wasn't said in that piece, my belief is that they are on training camp contracts, since Corral didn't even play last year. Warley however may have a better chance to make the team depending on other moves the Mystics make.
Today, the Connecticut Sun announced that Jennifer Gillom will join Anne Donovan's staff for the 2013 season.
Coach Gillom spent the 2012 season with the Washington Mystics and with the Team USA women's Olympic basketball team, and was an assistant on both of those teams. While Team USA won the gold medal last year in London, the Mystics had a bad season to say the least. Before getting on the Mystics, she was a head coach for the Minnesota Lynx (2009) and LA Sparks (2010-2011), and got the Sparks to the playoffs in 2010.
Coach Gillom and Coach Donovan were both players on the Team USA Olympic basketball team that won the Gold Medal in the 1988 Seoul, Korea games. As a player, Gillom played most of her early professional career in Europe, but played in the WNBA from 1997-2003 where she played on the Phoenix Mercury (1997-2002) and the Los Angeles Sparks (2003).
This move guarantees that the Mystics will not have the same two assistant coaches from 2012, where Marianne Stanley was re-hired by new head coach Mike Thibault. Coincidentally there is a coaching swap of sorts with Coach Gillom going from DC to Connecticut and Coach Thibault coming from Connecticut to DC.
Here is a link to a video from Monumental Network regarding Ivory Latta's signing with the Washington Mystics between Mystics GM/HC Mike Thibault and Monumental Sports digital correspondent Casey Phillips.
Coach Thibault basically confirmed that Latta would help shore up the point guard and three point shooting needs of the team and will continue to explore free agency, possible trades, and draft options over the coming weeks.
Today, the Washington Mystics announced that they have signed Ivory Latta who was one of the WNBA's top unrestricted free agents at the point guard position.
Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the company which owns the Washington Mystics, has released Monumental Network, which is a digital media platform for fans of Monumental Sports' teams which also include the Capitals NHL and Wizards NBA teams.
Monumental Network will feature digital based shows which will show more in-house content featuring the teams, as well as official blogs for the teams, and the Mystics' one can be found here.
Monumental Sports' majority owner Ted Leonsis is an investor in SB Nation, and does follow blogs on the SBN network regularly. No surprise, that there is a section where users can find SBN content, including a link to our site as well as Bullets Forever and Japers' Rink, the Wizards and Capitals' SB Nation blogs respectively. To see all the blogs officially on or linked to Monumental Network, including Ted's Take, his personal blog, click here.
Of all 12 WNBA teams' owners, Ted Leonsis and Monumental Sports is only one of two WNBA team owners that own an NBA and NHL team as well as the arena where the team plays, the other ownership group being Madison Square Garden, which is headed by Jim Dolan. MSG is the New York Liberty's owner.
The big difference between Monumental Sports and Madison Square Garden is that the latter group also has its own television network that carries team content for the Liberty, the Knicks and Rangers. This move indicates that Leonsis wants to head in this direction as well. Digitally, it appears to be easier, but perhaps Monumental Sports may have its own television network on local cable providers down the road. Currently, Comcast SportsNet MidAtlantic airs games for the three teams.
From a general WNBA perspective it remains to be seen how much of an advantage this could give the Mystics over other teams in the long run from a media standpoint because of the size of the DC market, as well as the fact that the Mystics are owned by one of the most heavy hitting ownership groups in the league. Obviously on the basketball court, the team is not doing well, but if and when the team improves, the Mystics have a better media platform to expose themselves to fans, than some of the small ownership groups in the league, like those for the Seattle Storm and Atlanta Dream.
Still, this is a major thing done by Monumental Sports, and it could be a way for the Mystics to gain more coverage over the long haul.
Today, Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault announced that he re-hired Marianne Stanley as assistant coach for the 2013 season.
Stanley has been with the Mystics since 2010 where she was an assistant on Julie Plank's staff (2010) and on Trudi Lacey's staff (2011-2012). In addition, she was the Mystics head coach in 2002-2003 where she advanced the team to its first, and so far only Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2002.
She also has been known as a well acclaimed college head coach, where she coached at Old Dominion, UPenn, Southern Cal, Stanford (in 1995 during Tara Vanderveer's sabbatical to focus on the Olympic team for the 1996 Atlanta games), and UC Berkeley. At Old Dominion, she led the Monarchs to four national championships, including the 1978 NWIT championship, the 1979 and 1980 AIAW national titles, and the 1985 NCAA title.
Some folks may question why Stanley was re-hired to this team, considering that she was part of the Mystics' last two seasons where they only won a combined 11 games and the team clearly wants to move on from the 2011 and 2012 seasons. However, at the same time, she is considered to be one of the better assistants in the WNBA generally speaking, and players on the Mystics last year did give her high reviews.
We'll see how things continue to pan out this offseason as the Mystics look to rebuild their squad from last year.
In this part, we will take a look at the list of 2013 restricted and unrestricted free agents who did not play on the 2012 Mystics team and focus on some of specific players the Mystics may try to acquire in order to rebuild their team.
With the WNBA releasing its list of free agents for the 2012-2013 offseason, we can now see exactly which players are on the market. Here we will examine how the Washington Mystics may be approaching free agency in regards to which players on their 2012 roster may be worth bringing back for 2013.
In a blog post from Hartford Courant writer John Altavilla yesterday, he offers some details regarding Washington Mystics General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault regarding what he has been up to now that the "honeymoon" period of his hiring has ended. Here are the big points:
1. Coach Thibault stated that his assistants from Connecticut, Scott Hawk and Bernadette Maddox, will not return, so there will be a new staff behind him.
2. Like other WNBA coaches and scouts at this time of year, he is hard at work scouting, where he was at Maryland's home game against Florida State last weekend, and also at Georgetown's game last Wednesday against the University of Connecticut. The play of Huskies guard Kelly Faris has caught his eye, in part given that she has become a more efficient shooter all around (here are her stats for this year as opposed to past years). Still, it's unlikely that she is a serious candidate at the Mystics' current 2013 draft position at 4th, unlike Maryland power forward Tianna Hawkins who is currently averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds a game and has improved a lot from last season.
3. This is not surprising to me, and I admit that I have advocated this from last September:
Thibault said the Mystics are exploring opportunities to move up in the draft, perhaps as high as No. 2 where they could take Delaware All-American Elena Delle Donne. Chicago currently holds the pick.
In Altavilla's piece, he also basically confirmed that the Mystics are a front court heavy team, mentioning that as of right now, they have Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, and Michelle Snow to build around. From Coach Thibault's Q&A with season ticket holders last month, he mentioned that guards, in particular point guards were a priority considering the lack of talent depth there, so there's a good chance that if the Mystics pick higher than 4th, they could be eyeing Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins not unlike how the Washington Redskins NFL team determined that they needed a star rookie quarterback at a very high position this past year. But at the same time, he may be able to pick up a decent non-rookie guard via free agency or by trade so perhaps not.
4. Last but not least, this was an interesting tidbit in regards to the Portland Trail Blazers offering Coach Thibault an assistant coach spot to return to the NBA. The offer with the Blazers happened during the 2012 WNBA season and if Coach Thibault accepted it, he would have had to resign midseason for the job. So therefore, it seems that Monumental Sports did not have to compete against the Blazers simultaneously for his services.
Do these tidbits perhaps signal what direction he's going in specifically? Not really to me since we don't know whether he'd keep the core of the team intact or not. But Coach Thibault is doing his due diligence, and not leaving any stone unturned is a good strategy to keep everyone guessing as to how he will improve the team during free agency and as we head toward the 2013 Draft.
Last Tuesday, on December 18, Washington Mystics season ticket holders got to meet with General Manager and Head Coach Mike Thibault. In addition, team president Sheila Johnson, and Christy Winters Scott, the team's color analyst and host of the Washington Wizards pregame and post game shows on Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic were there to give remarks.
Newly hired Washington Mystics head coach and general manager Mike Thibault says he will focus on free agency before making any decisions about whether or not to break up the core of the WNBA-worst Mystics.
So, there's a lot more buzz going around the WNBA at this time of year because the Washington Mystics hired Mike Thibault as their new General Manager and Head Coach. And the reviews are all positive.
Today, Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced that Mike Thibault has been named General Manager and Head Coach of the Washington Mystics. This comes after a nearly three month search to replace Trudi Lacey, his predecessor.
The mystery is over - at 4pm ET on December 18, 2012 the Washington Mystics shall announce their new coach and GM.
After a nearly three month search, Monumental Sports and Entertainment will name its new general manager and head coach for the Washington Mystics, tomorrow at 4:00 PM Eastern Time. The event will be streamed through the team's website. It is not known whether the new hire would be both General Manager and Head Coach, or if there are two separate people in those roles.
Though the Mystics will not officially say who is the new leader of basketball operations for the team, Mike Thibault, former head coach of the Connecticut Sun had recent discussions with the team regarding those vacancies.
Update: Edited the dates from 12/17 to 12/18... Today is Monday, December 17, and tomorrow would be December 18.
According to a tweet from Hartford Courant writer John Altavilla, former Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault has been in contact with the Washington Mystics in regards to their vacant general manager and/or head coach positions.
Should he be hired to the Mystics' front office, this could inject some hope for some fans.
According to a chat with ESPN writer Mechelle Voepel on Thursday, November 15, 2012, she noted that a spokesman for the team stated that there is no timetable as to when a new General Manager and/or Head Coach would be named. This also comes in addition to an article from the Washington Business Journal this past Wednesday that Washington Wizards and Mystics business chief Greg Bibb will leave Monumental Sports and Entertainment, effective December 31, 2012.
According to Womhoops Guru Mel Greenberg, the Washington Mystics are apparently no closer to hiring their next General Manager and/or Head Coach.
Last Wednesday, the Washington Mystics received the 4th pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft Lottery, which was an additional disappointment after the team went through its worst two year stretch in franchise history on the basketball court.
After two seasons with the Sparks, one with the Sky and this season with the Washington Mystics, Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton will be retiring.
S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated has a piece in this week's magazine about how Robert Griffin III is rejuvenating the D.C. sports scene, in which football is unquestionably king.
But with the Capitals undergoing a rebuild to become a perennial playoff team, the Nationals doing well, and now the Redskins giving fans like Gwen Brock "the most hope I've felt in ten years", the Washington Mystics are the one team that is still looking to find its way. But with the opportunity to find a new coach and general manager as well as a hope for a top draft pick, there's plenty of reason for hope to turn things around.
However, while there might be a temptation to see this new draft prospect as a RG III-type savior, thewiz06 suggests they need a plan more.
Regardless of who the Mystics pick, she will be a foundational piece and good chance that she'd be the franchise player as early as day one, not unlike John Wall was with the Wizards in 2010. However, to assume that this player would have to win games immediately with little talent around her compared with other teams in the leagues is foolish.
This ties with earlier points, but while a lot will be expected from her, she still will need complementary players who can amplify her strengths and cover her weaknesses, and this will help improve the team's record in the long run.
The Mystics had more flaws last season than one player can hope to fix. So as big a day as this is for the Mystics, the bigger question for this offseason will remain how they plan to build a winning unit for the long-term, regardless of whether they get the first pick.
In addition, Stanley's and Gillom's contracts will not be renewed. Hopefully this starts moving the team in a positive direction. I have more to say on it, but I'll do so tomorrow. Here is your open thread on this move.
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