Dearica Hamby was subjected to her first "UConn experience."
Typically before WNBA games at Mohegan Sun Arena, the players most often interviewed from the visiting teams are typically former UConn stars. However, since Hamby married the brother of UConn incoming freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa, she was given the treatment usually reserved for the former Huskies.
Here's what she had to say about Nelson-Ododa who in next week and a half will be graduating, heading to Colorado Springs for the USA Basketball U-18 national team trials and then arriving at UConn.
"She is going to be under Geno who is a fabulous coach, she has a great skill set," said Hamby, a forward for the Las Vegas Aces. "She obviously has to get a little stronger but I am excited to see what Geno can do with her and how far they go.
"She can handle the ball, she can post up. She is super athletic, she can jump obviously, she can defend, she can run, she can shoot and do just about everything. The players who do that at this level are superstars, (Elena) Delle Donne, Candace (Parker) I think I would compare her to those types of players. Off the court, she is a good person, she has a good heart."
Hamby grew up in the Atlanta area as did Nelson-Ododa and ultimately chose Wake Forest. She did enough good things there to turn herself into the sixth overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft so she was able to offer advice to her sister in law.
"I told her the things to look for and when she went on her visits, I told her to go to the place that feels like home for you no matter where that is and she chose UConn," Hamby said.
Hamby believes Nelson-Ododa is best suited to play the power forward position at the next level something that Morgan Tuck of the Connecticut Sun and Gabby Williams, a rookie with Chicago did with great distinction during their time with the Huskies. Obviously with Azura' Stevens passing up her final season at UConn and now with the WNBA's Dallas Wings, even more minutes could be avaiable when Nelson-Ododa suits up at UConn.
"She was looking forward to that and said you have to go right now, she is lookig forward to it," Hamby said. "I think it will be a growing process for her but she will be all right."
JEFFERSON ON THE MENDFormer UConn guard Moriah Jefferson made the trip with the Las Vegas team but she is still recovering from a serious knee injury so is not in the lineup.
"It is day by day right now taking my time so in a few weeks I should be back," Jefferson said.
"It is a struggle because I love playing, I am used to being on the court. It is good for my body, getting back to being a lot better, faster and stronger when I get on the court."