For Alison Lacey, or Aus, growing up in Canberra, Australia and now entering the WNBA as the Seattle Storm's 10th pick in the 2010 draft has been a long journey of learning.
Lacey began her stateside career at Iowa State under the tutelage of head coach Bill Fennelly, entering the Cyclones program playing the 3. As her collegiate career progressed, so did her game. Fennelly and his staff have used Lacey's capabilities and versatilities to their utmost.
"We felt like she had a chance to be a player beyond college, we posted her up, we let her shoot it, we used her in every position you could," Fennelly reflected. The results for Lacey were seen in nearly 1,600 points scored and a 37 percent career shooting average from the field as well as from 3-point range.
Lacey's basketball abilities as described by her collegiate coach are quite impressive and the list includes a few things that few equate with her game.
"She has a great skill set. She's a tall guard, she can play more than one position, she can extend defenses and her range is as good as anyone I've ever seen," said Fennelly after the draft. "She's got a real tight handle, she defends much better than anyone ever gave her credit for. We're not a pressing team so people didn't see it."
This well-roundedness is expected to help Lacey in the transition to playing the point for the Storm, an organization that is not lacking for point guard talent. Lacey is ready to play with and learn from one of the most recognizable and respected point guards in the game, saying, "Sue Bird is amazing and to have the opportunity to go and play behind her – I'm just ready to learn anything I can, so I'm excited. Not being a true point guard coming into college and now leaving as a point guard, I'm ready to learn anything I can, especially from the best."
On the selection, Fennelly expressed his joy at the fit in Seattle.
"For Aus to be picked by in my mind [by] the perfect team [is] the perfect situation for her," he said. "Great coach, great organization and she'll get to play with the best point guard in the world, Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, her fellow Australian."
The selection was something that all in the Iowa State program had hoped for entering the day: "We talked about it as a staff. I think it absolutely was the perfect fit and I think at this stage now it is a business, it's a job, but you want to go somewhere where you feel comfortable and wanted and I think it's a great franchise. A coach that really targeted her early, that they really liked her. A great city, a great fit. I think she'll have a very good career."
Aside from playing with Sue Bird and the rest of previous Seattle Storm roster, there will be yet one more veteran for Lacey to learn from as former New York Liberty starting guard Loree Moore inked a training camp contract with Seattle yesterday. This newest acquisition will lend itself to even more depth and versatility for the Storm roster and head coach Brian Agler said of the signing, "What I like is the competition and our ability to put multiple ballhandlers on the floor. I think it gives us the opportunity to do a variety of things with Sue in our offense."
Rather than odd woman out, Lacey expects to be one of those ballhandling options for the Storm.
Now the learning curve for Lacey extends into not only to learning a new city with new places and faces on the court, but also a new job and new adventure in the WNBA.