Posted at 6:34 PM on May 19, 2009
by David Zingler
Just six weeks ago, Renee Montgomery led the University of Connecticut to a NCAA title with a perfect 39-0 record. Two days later, the Lynx selected her with the 4th overall pick in the WNBA Draft in hopes the rookie point guard would team up with sophomore sensation Candice Wiggins and superstar Seimone Augustus to lead the franchise to their first playoff appearance since 2004.
Currently in the midst of her first pro training camp, Montgomery took some time out to chat after Tuesday morning's practice.
DZ: Could you just talk about how your first training camp is going so far?
MONTGOMERY: It's going well. I am learning a lot in a little bit of time, that's always good. It's not a hard learning curve because a lot of the concepts are the same from college.
DZ: How much did you know about Minnesota before you came up here?
MONTGOMERY: I didn't know a lot at all. I knew they had Seimone (Augustus), Candice (Wiggins) and Charde (Houston). That's pretty much all I knew coming in. I knew they were a potentially good team because they were close to the playoffs (last year). I knew a little bit, but not a lot.
DZ: How about the area in general, did you know much about the city?
MONTGOMERY: I definitely didn't. Of course, everybody knows the Mall of America. Other than that, I didn't know much about the city and still don't. I have to go on the tour.
DZ: Obviously you're a point guard and a point guard is supposed to be a leader of the team. Does that make it even more difficult being a rookie - taking charge of the veteran players on the court?
MONTGOMERY: It does. When you're a rookie, first you have to make sure you know what's going on so that you can help lead everyone else. That's the main issue.
DZ: You recently got to go to the White House with the (National Champion) UConn team and meet the president. What was that like?
MONTGOMERY: It was cool. He met every player individually and took a picture with each player and gave a nice speech. It was nice to meet him knowing he was a basketball fan. Meeting President Obama, knowing he has watched a few games made it seem a little bit more special. Also he took us out to shoot a couple shots; it was just a nice experience.
DZ: Being in your position, you probably meet a lot of famous people - athletes - but meeting the president is on a whole new level.
MONTGOMERY: Yeah. I think meeting other athletes - for me - it's probably not as big of deal as it should be maybe, but meeting the president is a huge deal. I think it's an experience not a lot of people get to have, so I am glad I experienced it.
DZ: You played at UConn which is obviously one of the most marquee programs in the country. You have a really big following there and then you come here - even though you're a pro now - you don't have the exposure you did at Connecticut. What's that been like?
MONTGOMERY: It's different. At UConn people are telling me "I wish I could get tickets to your games" so they come to your practice. Here I am asking people to come to the games. It's different, but you know - it's nice to experience different situations and I like it here so far so I don't mind.
DZ: One last thing, as a rookie do the veterans make you do any extra chores for initiation?
MONTGOMERY: The rookies have to get the balls, but everything else is confidential (laughs).
(Photo by David Zingler)