Exit Interviews, Miller Extended
As has already been pointed out in the comments, the Mystics signed long-time guard Coco Miller to a two year extension yesterday. Miller was already gone when I got to Verizon Center today, but she was the only player who became a free agent when the season ended.
For some shameless promotion, there is a story running in tomorrow's paper that takes a look at Linda Hargrove's tenure as general manager and I hope you will all find it interesting, but back to today. Exit interviews were moving along quite quickly as most players were getting ready to head home for a week or two before departing for their teams overseas. (The latest seasons start up in early October, so they don't get much time off if any.) And although Jessie Kenlaw's future with the team is uncertain she is a central part of this season-ending process and is in every player's interview.
With four interviews remaining, "Most of them have been very positive, and very apologetic from a standpoint of us not winning," Kenlaw said this afternoon. "All of them have said that they appreciated me demanding more of them. That they appreciate me holding them accountable for the little things and laying the foundation of a consistent work ethic. Some of them can't explain why we would kind of fold when teams come at us, why we didn't have that knockout punch that we needed -- but the feedback that we're getting, a lot of them think it's that lack of veteran leadership."
That the Mystics finished the season as the second youngest team in the league, "It shows at times on the court," Kenlaw said. "They're still learning how to play through certain situations, how to understand when you get a lead, or understand that you have to withstand that run and not fall back on your heels."
Which lead to the natural question of how much did the team miss Taj McWilliams-Franklin's leadership. "That's what Taj brought to this team she was a great leader," Kenlaw said. "But it was also an opportunity for someone else to step up and I don't think we ever quite accomplished that."
"The way I see it," Kenlaw said, "We're young but we do have some experienced players and we do have some talent. That's all I see and I just try to get the most out of what I see on the court.
"The thing that I learned though is you can't force someone to do something that they're not comfortable doing and granted we have some players on this team that might have leadership qualities, but if it takes them out of their comfort zone I can't expect them to step up and lead," Kenlaw said. "That was a lesson for me as well. I just looked at a couple players and I thought they'd naturally be leaders for us and they just weren't."
I'll have some more from Kenlaw, including how she sees her future as a coach a bit later today. I'm heading off to Washington Post Live here shortly and live television waits for nothing. There will also be more analysis and things tomorrow that my research turned up while I was working on the Hargrove story, but may not have made it in the hard-copy edition.
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