Kelsey Plum was thrilled to be in San Antonio and sign her first professional contract.
“It’s kind of surreal. You can hear about it, but there’s nothing like when you actually sign,” former Washington Huskies guard Plum said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Friday. “I’m excited to be here. I’d play for free.”
Plum, the NCAA career scoring leader, will make roughly $50,000 in her first season with the Stars as the top WNBA draft pick.
Besides actually signing and doing media sessions around San Antonio, checking out the Alamo and enjoying Mexican food for lunch, the No. 1 pick got a chance to have an extended conversation with rookie coach Vickie Johnson and general manager Ruth Riley for the first time.
“I’m enthusiastic about their vision,” Plum said. “I had a chance to sit down with Coach and hear what her vision is for the team and me personally. I love that the Spurs’ family is so supportive of the Stars, and I’m excited to be in a city where they love basketball.”
There were some questions when the Stars drafted Plum because of an already crowded backcourt with Moriah Jefferson and Kayla McBride. It was speculated that the team was just drafting Plum to trade her. Riley said that wasn’t the case.
“We weren’t going into draft day to make a trade,” Riley said. “We evaluated a lot of options prior to and we headed into draft day with Kelsey as who we wanted.”
And Riley said the team plans on having Plum as one of the cornerstones of the franchise for years to come.
Plum heard the chatter.
“People have their opinions and they are entitled to their opinions, I’m used to it,” she said. “I have a lot of admirers and critics, and it’s been good to make my skin tough. I don’t really try to listen to that.”
Plum was excited for the chance to play again with Jefferson — whom she teamed with twice playing for USA Basketball.
“The game has developed a lot more,” Plum said. “I wouldn’t say we’re positionless; we’re versatile. At the end of day, we’re playing basketball.”
She is also a huge McBride fan.
“I have always loved watching her play, when she was in college at Notre Dame,” Plum said. “ My mom’s maiden name is actually McBride.”
Having multiple guards is something Johnson sees as a strength for her team.
“It’s a great thing,” she said. “I don’t have to worry who will bring the ball up the court. I’m not that coach that gets caught up into positions. I believe on this level, multiple people will bring the ball up the court.”
The Stars will have to wait before Plum, Jefferson and McBride are all in camp. The two veterans are playing in the Turkish-league playoffs and might not be back until shortly before the WNBA season.
Plum has been on the go since getting drafted. She spent time in New York and then flew home to Seattle to pack up her things and move.
“I rented a U-Haul,” she said. “I gave a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t know I had.”
Read More (via Seattle Times)