I got a chance to talk with Amy Jaeschke yesterday, after she had gotten a chance to let the WNBA draft sink in. As you probably know by now, she was drafted Monday in the third round by her hometown Chicago Sky becoming the first NU player to be selected in the history of the WNBA.
Watching the draft at home in her living room with her parents, Jaeschke had to sweat it out, as players who were ranked below her by various mock drafts, including ESPN's, got their names called, while she slid down the board. But eventually, the Sky made her the 27th overall pick, and she'll get a chance to continue showcasing her skills before her friends and family.
Jaeschke does have her work cut out for her, as she'll be battling another draftee, Boston College's Carolyn Swords, who was selected in the second round, to be the backup center to all-star Sylvia Fowles and possibly for a roster spot, as WNBA teams only carry 11 players. Training camp for the Sky begins in about a month, and Jaeschke, who took enough summer school classes to graduate early, said she's eager to get her professional career started.
Should she make the team, she'll earn $36,570 for the season as a third round pick, according to the WNBA collective bargaining agreement (see page 258), which is less than LeBron James makes per quarter. But hey, it beats working, and it's still more than I made my first job out of college. Enough about me, though. Here's my conversation with Jaeschke.
SoP: How do you feel, 24 hours after the draft?
AJ: I feel good. There were a lot of things that went on yesterday, so I got a good night’s sleep, and I’m really excited about how it turned out.
SoP: What was going through your mind as you watched the draft?
AJ: It was a little excruciating. I’d never been through anything like that before, just watching all the names go by and wondering, am I going to be picked? But fortunately it worked out well being drafted by the Sky and being able to play close to home. I’m really happy to be able to have the support of my teammates and family close by as I’m trying out.
SoP: Are you disappointed in how far you slid?
AJ: It was disappointing. I put a lot of effort into basketball, and worked a lot with some great coaches and teammates. At the end of the day, I have the same opportunity everybody else has to make a WNBA team.
SoP: If you make the team, you'll be backing up Sylvia Fowles, who's obviously a great player. What do you hope to learn from her?
AJ: I know she’s a really well-respected player, both when she was in college and in the pros. I’m excited to learn from her how the game changes from college to pro, just watching her every day and how she handles things.
SoP: What do you know about Carolyn Swords, your main competition for minutes?
AJ: I was fortunate enough to try out with her for the US national team [ed. note: neither made the 2009 US squad that would go on to win the World University Games]. She’s a nice girl, definitely a skilled post player and tall. I think she’s 6’6", so I’m going to have to be able to shoot over her. She also runs the court well, so I’ll have to keep up with her, too.
SoP: Have you talked with Coach [Pokey] Chatman and the rest of the Sky coaching staff? What did they tell you?
AJ: He called yesterday to congratulate me and welcome me to the family. I know they’re great coaches, and I’m looking forward to learning from them.
SoP: Are you concerned that the Sky might only keep two centers?
AJ: It’s definitely nerve-wracking. A lot of these players aren’t rookies trying out. They’re players with experience. At this point, I’m going to just give it my best shot. I know the odds are stacked against me, so I’ll just use it as motivation.