Head Coach and General Manager of the Tulsa Shock, Nolan Richardson, has been fairly transparent in his desires. To have a fast-paced, well-coached, competitive organization. The Shock, sister club the the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, is building a franchise after the relocation from Detroit. To build and grow, Richarson used yesterday's draft in combination with a Tuesday trade to do just that.
Tulsa had the #7 pick in the 2010 draft and Richardson chose to do what he alluded to in the days leading up to the draft - trade his pick for experience. The trade garnered two new players from the Connecticut Sun in return for the 7th pick of 2010 and the Shock's 2nd-round pick in 2011. The acquisition of center Chante Black, who will enter the 2010 season with one year under her belt and forward Amber Holt, a member of the 2008 All-Rookie team, adds some additional experience to the roster. Not necessarily seasoned vets, but certainly talented in their young WNBA careers, ladies who will be able to run the court and keep up with Richarson's style. Of the trade, Richardson remarked, "We actually believe we got a tremendous deal with trading our first pick in this year’s draft and our second round pick in next year’s draft to get two great quality players that will fit my system".
In the second round, Tulsa went with grabbing a talent that is also a familiar face for the state in forward Amanda Thompson, who led the Oklahoma Sooner women to the Final Four in her senior season. This strategy of bringing in an already-known and loved player with an Oklahoma connection is a card some were hoping and expecting to see with the 7th pick, prior to the pre-draft trade, when there were rumors swirling of Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley being a potential pick. Rather it is Thompson who will bring with her an instant fan base of those who followed Thompson's collegiate growth and progression under Sherri Coale's tutelage. "I think I fit in well. I'm very athletic," Thompson said after she was picked, "I'm sure he'll have that quickness [that Coale coached at OU] and I'll just fit right in and adjust and play my game the way he'll want it."
Vivian Frieson, 6'0" forward from Gonzaga rounded out coach Richardson's first go-round at the WNBA draft. Those in the know say her perimeter scoring ability, athleticism, well-roundedness and high energy should make her a good WNBA fit. If this assessment is indeed correct, she certainly sounds like a "Richardson system" type of player. If she makes the 11-woman roster she should be able to maintain in the up-tempo style game expected to grace the court in Tulsa this summer.
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