In the 2010 WNBA draft, one team stands out in my mind as getting the "big haul" – the Connecticut Sun. Five ladies in three rounds, including a blockbuster trade with the Lynx, saw the Sun end up with selections #1, #3, #7, #15 and #27 – an almost unbelievable draft class of talent. Round by round, Connecticut amassed all-star name after all-star name, leading many to joke about recreating their very own All-American team to play in Mohegan. One of the quintuplet is the 5’10" soft-spoken guard from LSU, Allison Hightower. Hightower took some time on Thursday following her selection to talk about her draft experience.
On being selected by Connecticut -
It’s great! So far they’ve picked some great players in this draft – Tina Charles, Kelsey Griffin, even Danielle McCray even though she’s hurt. I’m just happy to get picked up.
On her pre-draft thoughts and expectations –
I really liked San Antonio just because it was kind of close to home – I’m from Texas, I’m a Texas girl – and kind of close to my college too so I was really liking San Antonio. But to be able to come up here to Connecticut is going to be a great experience. I’m just so ready, so ready to get going. I’ve never really been to Connecticut except when we played [UConn] last year. I’m just ready for the experience.
On what she will bring to the Sun –
I think I can bring a lot of versatility. Just my offensive game, being able to create my own shot and hopefully get my teammates open and also play defense. I come from a defensive school in LSU and we take big pride in our defense and I hope that I’ll be able to bring that as well.
On what this draft class will bring to the Sun –
The players so far it’s just – they’re awesome players, as you mentioned. Just coming in and trying to make a big impact. Of course you want to win championships and I think that’s what they’re building to do is win championships and to prepare for the future. I think that with this class we’ll be able to do a lot if we just come in and work hard and be all on the same mind-page or whatever and be committed we can achieve a lot. I’m very excited.
[The Sun has] already been a great team in the WNBA and I think they’re just trying to continue to do it and continue to build for the future and now.
On her strengths –
I think I can provide a lot of versatility at the guard position. To be able to shoot, also be able to go off the bounce and create my shot and get my teammates open, I think I’ll be able to add that. Also, just playing defense. I come from a defensive school and we take big pride in that so I think I’ll be able to bring that as well.
On playing in college for one of the winningest WNBA coaches –
[Coach Chancellor] helped me out a lot, especially through the season. He knew that I would have a career in the WNBA so he’s just been teaching me along the way and gave me great tips and great pointers and I can’t wait to talk to him, tell him.
He just told me I need to work on being a consistent shooter from the outside. That’s what they really need in the WNBA is people who are consistent in shooting the ball and he told me just to work on that. And just to be aggressive, be confident and feel that you do belong out there with those players and that’s about it. He’s just been telling me great things and just to continue to work hard and listen to the coaches and I’ll be able to grow and be a great player.
When [Chancellor] first came up for the job, I was like, ‘he’s really going to be our coach’! He comes from four back-to-back-to-back-to-back championships at the Houston Comets and just to be able to play for him has been a big privilege for me. He’s a great guy, a great personality, he really likes to get after it in practice and he likes to have fun at the same time. He’s shown me a lot, he’s taught me a lot and I appreciate him for that.
On the transition from a small role to large role at LSU and now to the WNBA –
I’ve been able to have the best of both worlds. Playing with a veteran team such as those eight seniors with Sylvia Fowles and Erica White and all those players and then coming down and playing with eight freshmen and having to step up and be a leader, do a lot of different things. Now I’m transitioning to the WNBA and you’ve got a lot of veteran players and a lot of new players so I think I’ll just continue to grow from there. I’m just really looking forward to the experience and being able to grow and get better.
I just know that I’m not alone. Again, when I go back to my college career, playing with eight seniors and then being the only one left and then playing with seven freshmen and being the only one that’s a senior, you get the best of both worlds. I’m in a situation where I’m not alone and we’ll just grow together.
On moving to Connecticut –
I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. Yeah, I’m not used to any snow or things like that. We’ll see, I’m not sure.
On future goals –
I’m not really sure yet. I was thinking about coaching, but I’m not really sure. I haven’t even thought about that much. But coaching has been in my mind.