Sky open training camp with sense of urgency for upcoming season

SHARE Sky open training camp with sense of urgency for upcoming season

Guard Kahleah Copper said she likes the level of intensity James Wade brings to practice. | Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

After the first day of Sky training camp Sunday, new coach James Wade leaned against a wall and watched the players who stayed afterward take shots.

‘‘I don’t know if I had expectations [for Sunday],’’ said Wade, whose eyes remained fixated on the court. ‘‘I knew it was going to be a tough day for the players, a lot of information.

‘‘Some things I liked, some things I didn’t like. We have a lot of work to do.’’

Let’s start with the positive. Wade was happy with the players’ enthusiasm and energy. While laying out his expectations in a meeting Saturday, Wade told them he doesn’t drink coffee and needed their energy to be his caffeine.

But Wade said he wasn’t sure the players understood the pace he wanted them to keep throughout practice.

‘‘The fatigue set in, and they got a little tired,’’ he said. ‘‘But then they picked it up a little bit at the end. I think we have to find our rhythm as far as our speed and the energy that we have to have to go for a three-hour training-camp practice.’’

And the players had better get used to it. Wade said he expects the Sky to bring a high level of intensity to every practice.

‘‘We don’t have a choice,’’ he said. ‘‘You want to win. That’s it.’’

Wade knows what it takes to be successful. He coached Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg to back-to-back EuroLeague titles the last two seasons.


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‘‘We have to have a sense of urgency,’’ he said. ‘‘We have to be connected. We have to have an energy that exceeds anything we’re used to.’’

Guard Kahleah Copper said she thinks Wade’s intensity can motivate her and her teammates to the next level.

‘‘It was great,’’ Copper said. ‘‘He has an energy and vibe about him that’s awesome. He demands so much from us, and it just motivates us even more.’’

Wade’s first order of business is figuring out the team’s identity. But that will be difficult because several players — most notably Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Gabby Williams and Astou Ndour — won’t be at the Sachs Recreation Center in Deerfield for now because of overseas commitments.

‘‘That part is tough because we have some of our leaders that are out,’’ Wade said. ‘‘It’s challenging for every team because every team has overseas commitments, so we can’t really use it as an excuse. We just have move on and go with what we have.’’

Nine of the 20 players in camp with the Sky didn’t play for them last season. But while there are a lot of new faces vying for 12 roster spots, the core is expected to remain the same.

The most exciting addition to the team is first-round draft pick Katie Lou Samuelson, who brings another dimension to the Sky’s offense with her ability to stretch the floor.

‘‘We’re back and we’re better,’’ Copper said. ‘‘Everyone knows last season is done. This season, we’re just coming out ready to play.’’

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