Lauren Jackson was in attendance yesterday for the WNBL’s Grand Final and was interviewed both before the game and at halftime on the TV coverage. Jackson, who is currently rehabbing, said she is feeling better than she has in four or five years and elaborated on the story that she could sign a contract that would see her play for the Canberra Capitals three of the next five years.
- Bulleen Head Coach Tom Maher, who has coached Jackson with the Opals and in the WNBL, said after yesterday’s game that he thinks Boomers star Liz Cambage has as much potential as the three-time WNBA MVP.
“Liz can be as good as anybody including LJ in the women’s game,” Maher said. “She’s very athletic and intimidates her opponents as she did today against a senior Opal in Suzy Batkovic.”
Cambage is expected to be a top pick in next month’s WNBA Draft. What is not yet clear is whether she will come to the U.S. at age 18 or focus on the Opals’ preparations for the 2012 Olympics.
- In a decision that, ahem, not all Storm fans agreed with, Ben York recently placed Jackson third in his 2011 WNBA player rankings for Slamonline.com.
I had given one of my writing brethren (who asked to remain anonymous) the Top 20 list that same month (just a couple weeks before No. 20 went live) to get his honest opinion of the rankings. He writes about the NBA for a national publication but has followed the WNBA closely since 2000 and is a big supporter of the league.
“What do I think? I think if you put Lauren Jackson at No. 3 you’re an idiot,” he ever-so-lovingly explained. “The rest of the list I totally agree with. But, I’m having a hard time fathoming why, after winning a WNBA Championship and MVP, you would put her that low. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe she had five Player of the Week honors and three consecutive Player of the Month Awards last year…and she is No.3? I’d rethink that one, buddy. You’re going to get a lot of crap for putting her that low.”
- The WNBA is planning a celebration of its 15th anniversary season, which will an include an all-time team similar to the All-Decade Team chosen in 2006 that featured both Jackson and Sue Bird.
- ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel offers an update on the state of the WNBA’s search for a new president to replace departed Donna Orender.
The WNBA begins its 2011 slate — the league’s 15th season — on June 3, and the NBA’s goal is to have the new head of the women’s league in place by then.
“We’re still deep into the process,” said Adam Silver, who as deputy commissioner and chief operating officer is No. 2 in command in the NBA behind Stern. “We’ve talked to several candidates. I’d say we’re not close to making an announcement, but we’re going to get it done by early June.”
This does raise the question of whether the new president will be in place in time to hand out rings to the Storm during the Celebration of Champions on June 4.
- Former Storm guard Sandy Brondello has a new job. After one year as head coach of the San Antonio Silver Stars, Brondello has joined the coaching staff under Jennifer Gillom in Los Angeles. The Sparks also hired one of their former head coaches, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, as an assistant.