Phoenix G Diana Taurasi’s face was splashed across Turkish club Galatasaray’s website this morning as it announced signing the international star. It’s a brave move considering she was suspended from the league last winter for doping allegations. Taurasi was cleared in February, however, always stating her innocence.
Currently at USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas, Taurasi has spent majority of her time talking about how rough the past five months have been. The three-day training is her first run at team ball since helping to win the 2010 FIBA World Championships in October.
In addition to Galatasaray making headlines, Spain’s Ros Casares is favored to win the 2011-12 EuroLeague title after signing mega stars in three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson, Atlanta F Sancho Lyttle and Minnesota rookie Maya Moore. Former Storm F Jana Vesela remains on the roster, too.
Lyttle won the title this year, playing with Storm newbie Belinda Snell for Halcon Avenida. Jackson, who turned 30 on Wednesday, left Sparta&K;in January with a Achilles injury. She had surgery in February and is back on the court doing one-on-one drills.
Storm star Sue Bird notably left Sparta&K;, too, and is rumored to have signed with Russian rival UMMC, but no official announcement has been made. She’s also currently in Vegas as is Storm All-Star Swin Cash and Kent native Courtney Vandersloot, who’ll play for Chicago this summer.
On USA Basketball’s website, there’s video like the one below of Cash:
National team coach Geno Auriemma was also asked to evaluate Vandersloot, stating, “I’ll tell you what, I must have heard from five or six coaches that watched practice and I’d say ‘Who is the most surprising player at practice?’ and they would tell you Courtney Vandersloot, every one of them, every one of them.
“That says a lot for somebody who really doesn’t play that kind of game. She’s not going up and down the floor going ‘I just saw Sue do this, let me try it. I just saw D do this, let me try it.’ She does exactly what she’s good at and she does it well.”
Slam Online had a glowing review of Vandersloot’s Day 2 in Vegas. She was joined by former Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves, who’s offering support for the final session Thursday. The players, aside from Baylor star Brittney Griner, will report to WNBA training camp at the conclusion of USA Basketball camp.
*PHOTO CREDIT: Courtney Vandersloot reads the defense while guarded by Connecticut PG Renee Montgomery by Garrett W. Ellwood/USA Basketball