Saturday, May 9, 2009
Someone replied in the comments section that they were interested in making the WNBA. I thought than rather bury the long response in the post that instead, I'd turn the response into a post of my own. (This is how you fill up blog space.)
Chariti, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that there might indeed be a spot open at the Atlanta Dream training camp. Since the March 25th post where you asked a spot, some things have changed. Katie Mattera has been waived. Kristen Haynie is now in Detroit. Even assuming that every person we think is going to show up shows up, there is still one empty spot at training camp left.
Now the bad news. Unless you're a recent graduate of a BCS conference - the ACC, SEC, Pac-10, Big 10, Big 12 or Big East - the chances are indeed very slim of you getting an invite. If a new graduate doesn't get the invite, the invite will probably be given to a veteran or not given at all. The WNBA is prejudiced in favor of a) players from the big-time conferences, and b) Europeans who have played on their national teams at the international level.
So how do you even get noticed by the Dream? Your best hope is to contact someone, and the optimal person to contact is Marynell Meadors, the head coach of the Dream. This is her address:
c/o Atlanta Dream
83 Walton Street NW
Atlanta GA, 30303
The telephone number of the main office is 404 604 2626 and the fax is 404 954 6666. I would strongly suggest calling during business hours. Unfortunately, she has no direct e-mail. None of the coaching staff have public e-mails. The very best you can hope is to contact someone on the business operations staff. There are a few people on the e-mail list (the list is here) and they might forward your request to someone. I make no promises; I don't work for the Dream.
You probably want to send more than just a e-mail request. If you're serious about a professional basketball career, at the very least you should have a tape or a CD.
April Carson of Nova High School has this down pat. She hasn't even graduated college and she has newspaper clips and articles, game stats, and the most important thing of all -- video highlights. However, you might want to go a step better than April has. April has just posted highlights, and most coaches want to see a complete game film - they need to to find your weakness. It's easy to show your strengths with 2:30 of footage, but a coach wants to know what you're doing the other 35 minutes. So my first advice to you would be get some game film. The Women's Blue Chip Basketball League is a semi-pro league that might allow you someone good to play against if you don't have any professional game film.
All right. Let's assume you have the game film and you're still not wanted in training camp. You're going to have to get the WNBA's attention in some other way.
Let's suppose you're only a high school player. Well, the problem is that you can't go straight from high school to the WNBA. You can only join the WNBA when your college class (or the college class you would have been in if you had gone) graduates. The only exception is if you played overseas professionally. My understanding is that after the first two professional years of overseas ball, you can join a WNBA team.
Let's suppose that college is not for you, or that you graduated but have been overlooked. In which case, you have to come in through an alternate, lonely route. There's still the possibility that you could play overseas and be noticed there. In which case, you just have to get the job. You definitely have to have some kind of experience, even if it's just at the AAU level or one or two years of college.
The key then is to get your basketball profile with all of your stats, pictures, and highlight media. You need then to attend some sort of draft camp where European or Asian teams are looking for players. Eurobasket reports on these camps once in a blue moon.
Eurobasket.com is a good source for information. For example, they have a Eurobasket Job Market Board which includes women's leagues. The problem is that it costs...26 cents a day to access. Nothing is really free in basketball. There is a forum where you can go that occasionally lists teams that are actively looking for players. However, if you manage to represent yourself without an agent and fly off to play in, say, Eastern Europe, you have a difficult path. First, the homesickness can be crippling. Second, as an American, the coaches might have an unrealistic expectation of your level of performance. It's hard to play coach-player politics when you don't even speak the language.
Anyway, I hope you find what you're looking for. This probably wasn't the answer you're looking for, but I hope that it was in some way helpful.