Kelsey Plum was thrilled to be in San Antonio and sign her first professional contract.
”It’s kind of surreal. You can hear about it, but there’s nothing like when you actually sign,” Plum said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Friday. ”I’m excited to be here. I’d play for free.”
Plum will make roughly $50,000 in her first season with the Stars as the top pick in the WNBA draft.
Besides actually signing and doing media around San Antonio, checking out the Alamo, and enjoying a wonderful Mexican meal for lunch, the No. 1 pick got a chance to have an extended conversation with rookie head coach Vickie Johnson and general manager Ruth Riley for the first time.
”I’m enthusiastic about their vision,” Plum said. ”I had a chance to sit down with coach and hear what her vision is for the team and me personally. I love that the Spurs family is so supportive of the Stars and I’m excited to be in a city where they love basketball.”
There were some questions when the Stars drafted Plum because of an already crowded backcourt with Moriah Jefferson and Kayla McBride. It was speculated that the team was just drafting the NCAAs all-time scoring leader to trade her. Riley said that wasn’t the case.
”We weren’t going into draft day to make a trade,” Riley said. ”We evaluated a lot of options prior to and we headed into draft day with Kelsey as who we wanted.”
And Riley said the team plans on having Plum as one of the cornerstones of the franchise for years to come.
Plum heard the chatter, but was happy to be in San Antonio.
”People have their opinions and they are entitled to their opinions, I’m used to it,” she said. ”I have a lot of admirers and critics and it’s been good to make my skin tough. I don’t really try to listen to that.”
Plum was excited for the chance to play again with Jefferson – whom she teamed with twice playing for USA Basketball.
”The game has developed a lot more. I wouldn’t say we’re position-less, we’re versatile. At the end of day we’re playing basketball.”
She’s also a huge fan of McBride.
”I have always loved watching her play,” Plum said. ”When she was in college in Notre Dame. My mom’s maiden name is actually McBride.”
Having multiple guards is something that Johnson sees as a strength for her team.
”It’s a great thing,” she said. ”I don’t have to worry who will bring the ball up the court. I’m not that coach that gets caught up into positions. I believe on this level, multiple people will bring the ball up the court.”
The Stars will have to wait a few more weeks potentially before Plum, Jefferson and McBride are all in camp. The two veterans are playing in the Turkish league playoffs and may not be back until right before the regular season starts on May 13.
”It’s a reality of our league,” Riley said. ”We’re not the only team that has players overseas. I’d rather they miss a few weeks of training camp then four to six weeks during the season.”
Plum is excited to also just settle in. She’s had a whirlwind week since getting drafted. She spent time in New York and then flew home to Seattle to pack up her things and move.
”I rented a U-Haul. I gave a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t know I had,” she said.
She still has a little work to do to graduate from Washington.
”All my classes are over with, just writing some papers and doing some research, I can still walk at commencement in June.”
Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg