Tape Delayed WNBA Draft Diary
Bill Simmons got nuthin on me.
My dreams of live blogging the WNBA draft died with news that the watch party was on the lower, non-air-card-friendly portion of the ESPNZone. Also, I had to cut short my stay due to the fact that I had to go to Bethesda for this television show. Bosses, take note: I can no longer work on my blog because I need to go to Bethesda to talk about working on my blog. That makes sense.
Regardless, let's run down some key events of the afternoon.
12:15: Host Frank Hanrahan introduces the Mystics and their "new spanking uniforms." Awesome. Alana Beard and Tamara James model the threads. Much, much more on the spanking uniforms, plus fashion advice, later today.
12:30ish: Comcast producer Littles and I are denied entry into the War Room, in the back of the venue, a room which looks like a very serious place. Like, way more serious than what I get together for my fantasy football draft.
12:40ish: I meet Brian Esposito, a Connecticut Sun fan who traveled down for the Mystics' draft watch party because the Sun weren't holding a similar event. He tried to get that organization interested, but they weren't having it.
"Oh well, what are you going to do?" he says. "I love this. I love basketball. I would drive down to Charlotte for a draft party. I can't get enough of this."
"Are you kidding me?" she replies. "The five of us hanging out at Michael Jordan's in a casino being dorks, or us being in the ESPNZone, surrounded by Alana Beard, Tamara James, all these fans, and 50 feet away from the Mystics' War Room? At least the Mystics treat their season ticket holders with respect. Damn right I'm firing that shot. The Mystics understand the importance of season ticket holders and fans."
1:00ish: Also in attendance: Judith from the DC Basket Cases. So there will be plenty of WNBA draft non-live blogging.
1:02ish: And we're underway. Donna Orender, the WNBA commish gets cheered. Tennessee's championship gets booed. Vivian Stringer gets cheered. Fans chant "Let's Go Mystics." Fans ask me to be interviewed. Fans eat chili and cornbread.
1:06: Orender announces that the Phoenix Mercury are officially on the clock.
1:07: The highlight of the draft occurs. No chance of this being topped. Get this on YouTube, now. ESPN shows the Mercury's mascot dancing on the bar at a restaurant. Then ESPN shows the Mercury's mascot falling off the bar at a restaurant. They cut away quickly. Mystics fans cheer. The ESPN heads look confused.
1:08: Doris Burke: "The consensus in this draft is there is no consensus."
1:09: Phoenix takes Lindsey Harding.
1:10: I decide that there's not much point in documenting the minute-by-minute happenings of the WNBA draft if I can't actually put it live on the Internet, so I give up. Instead, I go sit with a few Mystics super fans, including major super fan Stewart Small, who's familiar with my work.
"The D.C. blog, that is awesome, that is awesome, this guy's great, forget Dan Shanoff, this guy's the man," he says. I swear, that's what he says, unprompted. Take that, Shanoff.
I ask Stewart what the Mystics should do with the sixth pick.
"Definitely go center," he says. "Rebounding and defense were the big weaknesses last year. They need someone in the paint who can clean the boards and who can make opponents think twice about driving in our lane. Definitely want to see us beef up.
"We need a center," agrees Donna Brown. "You can put, 'Donna Brown shouted out Jessica Davenport, that's what we need'," she continues.
Stewart says Davenport will be gone at No. 2 to San Antonio. Sure enough, it happens.
"I told you, I told you," he says. "I said she was going to be next, and it happened. You should listen to me."
"You shouldn't have put it out there," Donna says.
"See, I know my stuff," Stewart says.
The fans throw out other names for the home team. Someone suggests Mississippi's Armintie Price.
"Oh, you can forget about that, she's probably going next," Belinda Jackson says from the next table over.
"He's with the D.C. Blog, look him up, he's awesome," Stewart says, when Belinda wants to know who I am. I love Stewart. Love him.
Chicago is up next, and sure enough, they take Price.
"Told ya," Belinda says. "Didn't I tell you?"
"Dang," Stewart says and bangs on the table. "Hey, she's cute," he says when Price is shown on ESPN. "Wow."
I suggest Tiffany Jackson from Texas and Camille Little from UNC, two other names I had seen linked with the Mystics in those mock drafts. Then I go ask Tamara James and Alana Beard what the Mystics will do.
"I have no clue," Beard says.
"I don't know what they're looking for, they kicked us out [of the War Room]," James says.
Minnesota takes UCLA's Noelle Quinn, another name that had been linked with the Mystics, if I'm not mistaken. Frank Hanrahan offers a Mystics t-shirt to the fan who can name five former Mystics coaches.
"Where do I start?" Donna says, but someone else starts first and gets the shirt. New York is up; the Liberty gets booed, then selects Tiffany Jackson.
"Aiiiiiiigh," Stewart says, clutching his head. "Noooooo."
"Good God almighty," Belinda says.
"Dang it," Stewart says. "Oh, the humanity."
Then Mystics Owner Sheila Johnson appears, marches in front of the fans, grabs the mic and tells them the Mystics are taking Baylor forward Bernice Mosby. There are a few claps, a few groans, but largely silence. Mosby was 13th in ESPN's mock draft, and 8th in USA Today's mock draft.
"You know who she is?" Sheila asks the crowd. "You approve of that?"
"How tall is she?" Stewart shouts out.
"How tall is she?" Sheila Johnson asks her people. "She's about 6-3," she says, rounding up.
"It's ok to clap," Frank Hanrahan tells the quiet crowd, and fans clap.
Mosby likes hamburgers, wants to be a runway model or a designer and was suspended from her first team, Florida, for violating team rules. Also, she originally committed to Florida, U-Conn. and LSU (twice), and had second thoughts about Florida at the end. She was nicknamed Birdy as a kid for emulating Larry Bird. All in all, seems like a solid pick for Bog purposes.
"Is she a center or a forward," Stewart asks.
"I think she's a center," Sheila Johnson says. "No, forward."
"We're always taking a development player," Donna says after Sheila finishes. "We don't need a development player. Where's Sheila? Go and tell her."
The pick is announced on ESPN. Stewart tells us that Bernice is his mother's middle name.
"I think it's a good pick," Belinda says.
"The jury's still out," Stewart says. "I don't know enough about her to really make a decision one way or the other."
GM Linda Hargrove appears to discuss the pick with fans.
"You haven't seen this girl play a lot, so I know you're going, 'why in the world did we go with Bernice Mosby'?" Hargrove says. Then there are sound issues. Eventually Hargrove continues.
"If you think of a young DeLisha Milton-Jones, then you've got Bernice Mosby, that's what she is....We had her ranked third on our board, so when she came down to sixth we were really, really excited. This is a player that we wanted on our team."
Frank asks about her character. I wonder if he knew about the Florida incident. Linda Hargrove says Bernice is "really a great kid, a real sunny personality." Stewart asks about getting a center. Hargrove says they had Alison Bales fourth on their draft board, and were surprised she was still around. (Bales went ninth. Ivory Latta, whom I would have taken because she's awesome, went 11th.) Hargrove explains that Bales likes to play in the high post, and the team needed a low-post presence.
"By that rationale, that makes sense," Stewart says.
"They needed a low post instead of a high, ok," Donna says.
"That was a good pick, that made sense. It makes sense now," Stewart says.
I ask the current Mystics about Bernice. Tamara played against her on Florida, but only vaguely remembers her. Alana Beard isn't super familiar with her, either.
"I trust what everyone's saying," Alana says. "If she's half of what DeLisha Milton-Jones is, I think we got a good one."
Then I leave. On the way out I meet an old guy, in town from Seattle. He asks what I'm doing, what's going on. I tell him about the War Room and all that.
"No [expletive]," he says.
He asks why I'm leaving. I tell him I can save $7 on parking if I leave just then.
"No [expletive]," he says. "You should move to Seattle."
1:09 Phoenix takes Lindsey Harding.
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