We caught up with Dallas Wings GM Greg Bibb following the team’s first practice on Sunday.
Here’s what he had to say about the start of training camp.
Today was the first practice for the Dallas Wings. What was it like in the College Park Center for the start of training camp?
Today was a great start to the 2016 season. I always compare the first day of training camp to the first day of school. Everyone is back and looking good. Everyone is wearing new gear. Everyone is happy to see one another. Hope and optimism fill the air.
The first day is all about getting in a good run, staying healthy and preparing for the real work to start tomorrow. I thought opening the practice to the fans was a great way to start camp. Having so many people in the arena brought great energy. There were some first-day jitters to be sure, but I think the players really enjoyed the opening session.
Head Coach Fred Williams has said he wants a fast-tempo style of play; did you see that on display today?
Today’s practice was representative of the style of play Coach Williams prefers. We had the music playing in the arena, the fans provided energy and everything was done in an up-tempo way. Coach likes the music…he’ll tell you he has never been in a quite arena, so why have one during practice. This makes a lot of sense and I think the music adds energy. I know the players enjoy it. Today was certainly a first day, but with that said, the tempo was quick and the team responded well.
New acquisition Erin Phillips was very active today. How does she fit into Coach William’s style of play?
Erin brings a great deal of leadership to our organization, both on and off the court. She has won WNBA Championships. She has competed in multiple Olympic Games. Her experience and willingness to help our young players is going to be invaluable this season. Our rookies can learn a lot from Erin in just watching how she prepares to compete every day. Erin also brings versatility with her ability to play the one or two position. Her ability to shoot the three will also help us the season. I’m very happy we were able to bring Erin into the organization this year.
Speaking of new acquisitions, you had a few rookies like Aerial Powers from Michigan State and Ruth Hamblin from Oregon State getting their first WNBA experience. What does it mean that the veteran players were engaged with the newcomers and coaching them on the sidelines between drills?
I was very pleased to see all of the help our vets were offering today. As I mentioned, Coach Williams likes to practice at a quick pace, so if you are new to his system, it can be challenging to keep up with what is happening your first time through. Whether it was Skylar, Plenette, Erin or others, I saw a lot of communication today and a willingness from our vets to lead by example. That’s an encouraging sign on day one.
You were missing WNBA’s leading rebounder Courtney Paris today, along with forwards Karima Christmas and Vicki Baugh. When do you expect them back?
Courtney and Karima are still competing in their overseas leagues. Both are in the playoffs right now. We wish them the best of luck in competing for their championships, but we are also very eager to get them back and into camp. They will report as soon as their playoffs are finished. Vicki Baugh is in the final stages of recovering from a medical procedure. We hope to have her back within the next week or so. Despite these early absences, we are fortunate to have a very competitive camp from the start, which will help us as we prepare for the regular season.