After four days of training camp, TCU alumna Adrianne Ross is still competing to secure a regular season position on a WNBA team, the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Ross, who was a member of the TCU Lady Frogs for five years, was signed to a training camp contract with the Silver Stars, which started April 20.
After four days of camp, Ross said the experience is different and more intense than college, with a definite bump in intensity.
Each day players meet for one long day of training.
“This coach doesn’t do two-a-days, so they’re really long days,” Ross said.
Ross starts her basketball day at 8:45 a.m., when she arrives at the practice facility to meet with team trainers. Next, from 9:30 to 10 a.m., Ross is put through weight training.
At 10 a.m., she works individually with a coach, polishing specific skills. Ross prepares her game for a chance to showcase her talents in the next – and probably most important part of her day – team practice.
Practice officially starts at 11 a.m., and for the next two and a half hours, the team drills, working on assignments, plays and specifics. Once the clock hits 1:30 p.m., the team starts its intense ab workout, and finally, Ross ends the day with a little more individual training.
“First day I was kind of overwhelmed,” Ross said. “Now in the fourth day, coach no longer expects me to make those first mistakes.”
Arriving at TCU as a point guard, Ross spent the second half of her time at TCU as a wing player, the team’s shooting forward and occasionally ran the floor for the team.
The transition to professional point guard was not what Ross first thought it would be.
“In practice, I got in trouble for not taking the open shot even though I made a good pass,” Ross said.
The right play is always expected on this level, she said.
“Sometimes, as a wing you sit and watch. As a point guard, you have to know what happens before it happens,” Ross said.
The transition has shown Ross some positives. Being an vocal floor leader works well for Ross, who admits she has always been a talker.
With her training camp contract, Ross became the second Lady Frog ever to sign with a WNBA team, joining former teammate, mentor and Lady Frogs’ Director of Operations Sandora Irvin. Irvin also happens to be a member of the Silver Stars.
“It’s like when we were at TCU when I was a young point guard,” Ross said. “My sophomore year I missed a lot of time because of injury and didn’t get to travel with the team so I missed her play a lot. I had forgotten just how good of a player she is.”
Ross said it is great having another player she knows she can trust there to provide advice and a person talk to.
“Sometimes off the court we’ll go up to each other and tell each other what we need to do next time,” she said. “As a point guard I have to give her directions on the court, but when we get off she comes up to me and lets me know how I’m doing.”
Ross said she expects to see a breakout year from the former No. 3 pick.
Jeanne McNulty-King, Ross’ agent, said before signing with the Silver Stars, they had been talking with other teams, but the Silver Stars were the first to commit to her.
Ross said the reason had more to do with the Silver Stars’ roster needs.
“They needed a backup point guard who can play the wing,” she said. “They were top of my list because of a good situation.”
As a training camp signee, Ross has no guarantees and could be cut at anytime, McNulty-King said.
“They make cuts along the way,” McNulty-King said.
If Ross is signed to the regular season team, her contract would still hold no guarantees until the mid-point of the season, McNulty-King said.
Ross said for now, she is just focusing on each individual day, trying to consistently improve and compete.
“I know I still need a lot of work but it’s more mental,” she said. “It’s day four and I feel like I did really well, but I could say this now and get cut tomorrow.”
According to the 2008 WNBA collective bargaining agreement, undrafted rookies can be signed to one- or two-year contracts.
McNulty-King said if Ross is signed it would most likely be to a one-year contract.
The collective bargaining agreement also stipulates that the 2008 minimum contract for rookies is $34,500 a year, up from 2007’s minimum of $32,400.
If Ross is cut, McNulty-King said there is a possibility other teams might still be interested in her, and invite her to the remainder of their camps, but it would be unlikely.
Another possibility for Ross, if she is cut, is being signed by a team during the season.
McNulty-King said if a team is short on depth during the regular season, Ross would also have the chance to be asked to try out, but in that case it would most likely be with the Silver Stars.
Ross, of course, maintains her optimistic stance.
“I appreciate every day,” Ross said. “As far as what happens after, that is not the issue right now.”