Training Camp Central: Day 2

Day 2: Another Passing Center?

Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

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There is a big opportunity awaiting Asya Bussie.

The Minnesota Lynx didnt have many holes going into the offseason, but if there was one, it was the center position. The team will have starter Janel McCarville back after she finishes playing overseas, but after that, well, thats anybodys guess. The team signed Waltiea Rolle and Damiris Dantas in the offseason, with hopes that they could fill that void. Amber Harris is no long with the team.

To increase their odds of finding a diamond in the rough, the Lynx also drafted Bussie with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Bussie admitted that she wasnt sure where she would go in the draft, but the tears were flowing when she was chosen by the defending champs.

I was really excited. It was really a blessed moment, Bussie said. I just burst into tears because I was excited, especially to join this great (team).

With that pick, Bussie became the highest player taken in West Virginia University history. Shes said the right things, on how shes honored to be the highest pick in school history and is here to help the Lynx in any capacity she can.

If her skills shown in the first two days of camp are any indication, she can help quite a bit, but coach Cheryl Reeve admitted during Monday afternoons practice at the LifeTime Fitness Facility, Bussie (like the rest of her teammates) have experienced some mental lapses.

With that being said, Bussie has shown a knack for the pick-and-roll game early in camp.

Whats more impressive, though, is that she has the ability to kick the ball out and is a very good passer, much like McCarville. Thats pretty important as the team has made it a priority to improve its 3-point shooting. It also means that if Bussie can become a rotational player, her teammates will already be adjusted to a passing center.

You know, what she does really well is the kick out, Reeve said. If people collapse on her, and I like that rather than taking a hard challenged shot especially if youre playing with Seimone (Augustus) and Maya (Moore) at the 3-point line to have that recognition.

Bussie said her passing ability has been a work in progress since her freshman year at West Virginia. Her opponents would double-team her and instead of going up for a tough shot, she would look towards the 3-point line to find an open teammate.

During her senior season at West Virginia, Bussie averaged a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game to go with 12.9 points. Her assist numbers? Fourth on the team with 44 (1.3 per game). That might correlate why her team shot nearly 34.9 percent from the 3-point line (opponents shot just 29.5 percent from deep), making nearly 6.2 shots from deep per game.

The Lynx hope that Bussie can help free teammates on the 3-point line when shes on the court.

The Best of the Rest

  • Wing Monica Wright spoke with the media for the first time since undergoing an arthroscopy on her left knee Friday. Wright said it wasnt so much the pain, but the swelling that concerned her. Shes still not sure on a timetable on when shell return from the injury, but a typical return from her type of surgery takes six to eight weeks. (I want to) get back as soon as possible to kind of shave down the time frame and stuff like that, which were still unsure of, Wright said.

  • Wrights replacement for the time being will be Tan White. Reeve said that White will likely be the first guard off the bench for the Lynx. Look for a feature on White later on this week. White, a nine-year veteran, signed with Minnesota because she could help and because she wants to win: Championship. I just felt like for the least couple of years, this team has done a really good job of being consistent with some of the things that they did.

  • Reeve had a cheat sheet of the Portuguese language to better communicate with new Brazilian forward/center Damiris Dantas. The list included words like rebound and good. Kudos to Swanny (AKA Mr. Utility) for putting together that sheet for coach. Reeve was excited for her list but said Dantas wasnt really excited for me when Reeve showed her the list. Keep trying, coach. Youll get there.

  • The team was without Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Janel McCarville, Lindsay Whalen and Dev Peters. The five are currently fulfilling overseas commitments.

  • For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.