Saturday, June 25, 2011

Turning the Other Cheek

On Friday, the Mystics announced that they had received another medical hardship exception from the WNBA, allowing them to add an additional player to their 11-woman roster. Upon receiving that exception, the Mystics signed Joy Cheek from -- big surprise -- Duke University! Which means that on what is now a 12-person roster, the Mystics have 5 players from a single college. And three of them played together.

We have absolutely nothing against Joy Cheek. By all accounts, she’s a really nice person. And heaven knows, Lang – who’s been playing far too many minutes, in the BCs’ opinion – could use the help of another PF (like Joy) coming off the bench.

Joy was drafted by the Indiana Fever in the third round of last year’s draft. She’s a 6’1” Forward who played in 7 games for Indy last season. We welcome her to the Mystics and hope she does well here in D.C.

The problem we’re having is that regardless of what school she’s from, it just strikes us that 5 players from the same place are too many. Our readers know, of course, that the BCs are die-hard Terps fans. During the college season, we have no love for the Blue Devils. Period. The End. But as our readers have also probably noticed, when it comes to the WNBA, how we feel about any particular player has very little to do with where she went to school.

Yes, we hope all the Terps do well in the pros. That goes without saying. But we don’t root against the Dukies in the WNBA and we don’t cut a WNBA player too much slack (if she’s not performing) just because she went to Maryland. (Best example: we loved having Lindsey Harding on the Mystics, and miss her terribly.)

And another thing . . . call us crazy (we aren’t named the BasketCases for nothing), but come summer, we like our pro basketball to provide some variety from the college basketball season. So we really enjoy watching players from non-ACC schools, precisely because they are not players we saw a lot of during their college careers.

As a side note, as far as we know, Alana and Mo are the only Mystics currently unable to play, which means that 9 players were still available to suit up before yesterday’s hardship addition. Indeed, the only injured players cited in the Mystics’ announcement yesterday were Alana and Mo. To the best of our knowledge, teams have only been allowed to exceed the 11-player limit when they were down to 8 uninjured players. So was this an exception to the exception? Or is another player injured that the Mystics haven’t mentioned? Or have we missed something in the history of exceptions?

At any rate, whether this was an exceptional-league-exception or just a routine-exception, once the Mystics were granted the exception, we would still have been happier with a little variety. Nothing against Joy or the Dukies (at least until the college season rolls around). But -- 5 players from the same school on the Mystics -- we’re not overly excited about this. Oh well, guess we’ll just have to turn the other cheek.


At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The collective bargaining agreement


(b) Emergency Hardship.
(1) If a Team during the Regular Season, as a result of injuries, illnesses, other conditions or other extenuating circumstances that have affected its players, has less than ten (10) players on its roster who are able to play, it may apply to the WNBA to obtain an Exception to sign one or more Replacement Player(s) to Replacement Contract(s) to replace one or more of the Team’s unavailable Players. Any
such Replacement Contract shall be terminated immediately once ten (10) other players on the Team’s roster are again able to play.
(2) The determination of whether to grant a Team one or more Emergency Hardship Exceptions shall be in the WNBA’s sole discretion. The WNBA may attach such conditions to an Emergency Hardship Exception as it may determine, in its sole discretion, provided that such conditions do not violate any provision of this Agreement.

So perhaps no exception has been granted at the nine-player level before, and this was a mercy exception. Or perhaps the new Prez is kinder-gentler than Donna O.

At 12:53 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

Is it just me, or does the news seem to get worse concerning this team? Couldn't they have just brought Kerri Gardin back? I thought she did an adequate job. At least she knows the system, having played in it for a few games.

At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was happy with Gardin. Maybe Ta'shia Phillips was not fully recovered from her injury.

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous Section 100 said...

I read on a WNBA message board a more depressing explanation: According to the CBA, a team can earn the medical hardship exemption if it's down by three players with injuries not so bad that one or more of the players is likely to return to action during the season OR down by two players if they have long-term injuries. Those two players would be Currie and Beard.

Doesn't sound like we'll see AB anytime soon.

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She has no impAct but to relieve Lang so she isn't playing 36-40 mins a night. She will give you some rebounds. That's about it. I don't think we will see beard anytime soon either. Too bad for her. Clearly she loves the game.

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mystics must win today or they are really the worst team in the league. It's a matter of pride today.

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They can't get Gardin back until July 1.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

looking at Courtney Paris' numbers for Atlanta, it's a shame we couldn't have snagged her first!

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's also a shame we didn't draft Danielle Adams. Lot's of things about this team are a shame.

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alot of teams passed on Danielle Adams; not just the Mystics. Before the draft a number of fans also thought she might be to heavy to play the game at this level. Its nice to see a player prove others wrong. Hopefully, Courtney Paris will stick with Atlanta now that she has shown she can contribute but this is another player who couldn't make it through training camps and was cut and passed over by other teams. She would not have fit the Mystics style of play so they were wise not to chose her. Let's be real. Hindsight is 20/20. If Trudi had decided to choose Courtney Paris after she had been passed over by so many teams many would have criticized her for that move. As for Alana, she stated on twitter that she is scheduled to be back in 4 games. On Rebkell, a fan that attended Stanley's chalk talk stated that Mo's rehab is ahead of schedule and she could be back this season. While this season is a challenge there are alot of things about this team that are positive.

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sun have 5 Huskies, so we're not unique in having strong representation from one school.

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Sue/Durham said...

First of all, as I understand the current rules, a team can add a player for a hardship contract if one of two conditions happens:
1) if the team drops below 9 players able to suit up and play,or
2) if the team has two players out with "long term" injuries" (with "long term" defined as > 3 wks). I'm not expecting AB to play until 3 wks after the day Joy Cheek signed the contract.

Now, to the issue of having five players from one college team on the same WNBA roster. I think it depends on several factors, including the success of the team and how well the five players are impacting the success.

The fact is the two best Duke alums on the Styx are both injured. Two are rookies and have done decently as rookies. Joy Cheek is unlikely to have much impact on the win/loss record for this team. As a Mystics fan, I would hope that players from the same college team would already have some chemistry that could lead to Mystics success. Aside from the two rookies, who played all four years together, I don't see that having five players from the same college having much impact on Mystics team success.

As a Duke fan, I wouldn't mind having five Duke alums on the same team if the team was any good. But, I'm not too pleased to have more Duke alums join the mess in DC.

All that being said, my heart is right there rooting for the Mystics players to do well and for the team to find a way to be successful ASAP. It's simply more fun to root for a winner.

And I want to give a shout out to the BC's, who have consistently put college allegiance on the back burner when focused on the Mystics. They have been excellent role models for the rest of us. And I confess that Langhorne has become my favorite Mystic, even while Lindsey was there. (well those two were kind of tied). Lang has become the MVP of the team and I love, love, love her game.


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