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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New-look Connecticut Sun open training camp

All five 2016 draft picks including UConn's Morgan Tuck were among the 14 players on the court as the Connecticut Sun opened training camp.

The biggest news was that former WNBA Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike was back on the court and she is one of six returnees who are currently in camp.

Tuck was joined by fellow No. 1 draft picks Rachel Banham and Jonquel Jones, second-round selection Jamie Weisner and third rounder Aliyyah Handford. Heather Butler, Victoria Macaulay and Jennifer O'Neill are also taking part in the training camp.

All-star guard Alex Bentley could be joining the team soon which could leave first-year head coach Curt Miller with a decision to make. He said he is "talking very aggressively with a 15th person to come into camp" and that player is playing in Brazil. If that is how the team proceeds, that would mean a cut would need to be made when Bentley reports to camp.

"The earliest I could see a cut being made is how fast Alex could get here, if we picked up a 15th and Alex. I think you could see this group of 14 practice all the way to Friday or Saturday without a cut," Miller said. "You hear of people making cuts already and it is one day in so it would be a better screen shot of what they could do and be fair to them."
He did not divulge a name but being the curious soul that I am, I checked into the teams currently alive in Brazil's playoffs. Well, Corinthians and Sampaio are currently in the championship series.

Regular-season champion Corinthians features a roster with 10 natives of Brazil headlined by Damiris Dantas, who was acquired by Atlanta in trade that resulted in Sylvia Fowles landing in Minnesota so obviously she is not in the mix. Now there is nothing stopping Miller from adding somebody from Brazil but if I were to take an educated guess of which player could be on the radar, I would go with former Rutgers guard Erica Wheeler who played last year with the Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty. Keep in mind this is merely speculation on my part and time will tell if I am even in the ball park on this subject.

Wheeler leads Sampaio with an average of 4.4 assists per game and also has a team-high 45 3-pointers while shooting 46.4 percent from 3-point range as she is second on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game.

If Wheeler is the player Miller is eyeing, it would make sense since the team is lacking in bodies to play point guard. Miller said Jasmine Thomas and Banham are the top options there but also said that Banham, Tuck and Ogwumike will be monitored closely because of their past knee issues so having  another player in camp who can run the point in the event that Banham is held out of practice or has her practice time scaled back.

The timetable for Aneika Henry and Camille Little to report to camp is a little more uncertain since both of their teams are still in the playoffs. Little is playing in Italy and those playoffs could be going for a while.

The Minnesota Lynx certainly seem to like bringing in players with UConn's championship pedigree.

There were four former UConn players on the roster as the Lynx won the 2015 WNBA title (Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery, Kalana Greene and Asjha Jones). Moore, Montgomery and Jones remain on the roster and now the team announced that it has invited Kaili McLaren to training camp.


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