Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Clock Is Ticking

If Sun coach Mike Thibault is up as late as I am currently, the thought of making the team’s final cuts has undoubtedly crossed his mind.
Friday’s deadline is steadily approaching and there are still two more players who must be waived. Trying to find the weak link at this point in training camp — the most competitive in Connecticut history — is nearly impossible.
I don’t envy the task.
“It’s so hard that I am agonizing,” Thibault said after Wednesday’s practice. “Pretty much what I think about when I’m not here, out on the court for practice. It’s just hard. It’s the worst part of the job. I don’t look forward to it.
“I’d love to have somebody else to for me but that’s my job. It’s not easy. I’m not looking forward to it.”
Adding to that difficulty is the recent signing of Ambrosia Anderson off waivers — you can read about her in Thursday’s Norwich Bulletin — who has looked comfortable and blended in during her brief stint.
If I had to guess, either Jamie Carey or Jen Derevjanik will not be retained. The effort to get Erin Phillips here and her abundant potential makes her a virtual lock to be the backup point guard to Lindsay Whalen for now. There isn’t likely to be pressing need for four point guards, regardless of how effective Carey and Derevjanik each have been.
The other final cut I see — Connecticut needs to get from 14 to 12 — comes from the trio of Anderson, Megan Mahoney and Le’Coe Willingham. Thibault has been public in his praise for both Laura Summerton and Donna Loffhagen, which give them the appearance of being safe.
Despite her effectiveness in practice, Anderson is still far from safe considering the timing of her arrival. Struggling through a series of injuries, Mahoney hasn’t been overly effective in any of the three preseason games, although Thibualt likes her versatility as either a guard or small forward.
Willingham has been effective in her shot making, but has also struggled through spells of turnovers during the exhibition season. If she doesn’t make the team, I see it as a result of having less versatility than some of the other players competing for a spot.
When asked if whoever gets cut is capable of being a WNBA player, Thibault’s answer was blunt.
“No question,” he said.


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