The press after USA Basketball’s Day 1 of training camp in Las Vegas was all about Baylor C Brittney Griner. It’s hard for the native Texan to go unnoticed at 6 foot 8, but she added to the size with skill to complement the pool of 23 players.
Here’s USA Today’s overview of the camp with Storm All-Star Sue Bird commenting about Griner.
“I’ve seen her on TV, but you stand next to her and she’s pretty imposing,” Bird said in the article written by The Associated Press. “Right now there’s a little bit of a timidness. That’s normal for a young player. She’s probably watched a lot of these players on TV. As time goes on, it’s slowly going to shed away.”
Griner admits to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the experience is a little overwhelming.
She’s part of a three-day camp that continues Wednesday and ends Thursday. Griner is the sole college player, the remaining invitees returning to their respective WNBA cities for the start of training camp May 15.
“That’s the first time she’s been in a scenario like this where every time down the floor there’s a big body that’s hitting her,” U.S. coach Geno Auriemma told reporters. “The game is much, much, much quicker than she’s used to playing at in college.”
Griner tells ESPNW.com her decision to skip the invite last year was smart. The 20-year-old didn’t feel she was ready then, but Auriemma is calling her the future of USA Basketball, if she accepts the challenge.
The other storyline out of Day 1 was, of course, 2009 MVP Diana Taurasi’s return to the court. The Phoenix star hasn’t played organized hoops since a doping allegation in Turkey last December. The charges were dropped in February.
“It’s been hectic these past few months and I’m glad that everything’s getting back to normal,” Taurasi told North-Central Connecticut’s Journal Inquirer. “I always believed the truth would come out. I’m not a spiritual person, but I do believe in truth and I knew what the truth was.”
*PHOTO CREDIT: Phoenix All-Star Diana Taurasi goes for a layup as Storm coach Brian Agler watches by Garrett W. Ellwood/USA Basketball