Alumni Update: Caroline Williams

In the spring of 2007, Caroline Williams didn't hear her name called on WNBA draft day. But her chance came a year later, when she was invited to a WNBA training camp. On Friday aftenoon after practice, she talked about the experience with VandyMania's Whitney D.

VM: Caroline, last year you weren't drafted, and you weren't invited to a training camp either. Was that something you had hoped for?

Caroline Williams: Yeah, I didn't know what to expect because I didn't know if anyone was interested, or what really to expect or even how the process really worked. When I didn't get drafted or get invited to a training camp, I just thought that was the end of basketball, and I was disappointed because I would have like to have tried it, but I just didn't think about it as much as I am now now that I actually got the chance.

VM: I know that after that, you decided to go to graduate school and were a graduate assistant here this past year. What happened this year?

Caroline: I got a phone call from the assistant coach from the Lynx, and they just wanted to know what I was doing. They knew I was a grad assistant, so they knew that I'd been around basketball, so they just asked the question if I was interested in playing any more, and if I was, then to start working out, and they'd let me know if they were interested in bringing me up to a training camp. So I worked out a little bit, but I didn't know if they would be interested. So I just waited on the call, and they called about a week later and said they would like to bring me up to training camp. I had about six weeks to really start getting in shape and getting ready for it. So that's how it all came about.

VM: So it was just totally out of the blue, that first call?

Caroline: It was. It was out of the blue. I don't think they called my agent or anything. They just wondered what I was doing. They knew they needed a shooter. I guess there was a little bit of interest in me last year, but however the draft picks went and with the other girls they got, they didn't have a spot to bring me up to training camp. but they kept me in mind. So this year they thought of my name and decided to ask and see where I was.

VM: What did you do to get ready to go up there?

Caroline: I started working out pretty much immediately. Coach Balcomb was awesome about letting me get into drills both offensively and defensively at practice. And then Coach Lisa Cermignano shot with me a lot. I worked out although I tried to shoot as much as possible just to get back in the rhythm. And I ran, and tried to do a lot of the things that the girls do during summer workouts. Really, I just ran a lot, worked out, and then shot a lot. I really shot more than anything.

VM: Since the spring semester wasn't over, you must have had classes to wrap up, too.

Caroline: I did. I'm not completely wrapped with them yet. I've got one class that I'm finishing up, and that will be the end of this semester. My professors have been good about that.

VM: I know you went up there a week before training camps officially opened. Was that an orientation period?

Caroline: No, it was actually a time when about eight of us went up. They weren't official workouts. They weren't mandatory, but they were good for us to come in and work out with the coaches and play a little bit. Also, we went through our offenses because we were here a week early, so it gave us kind of a step up, kind of a step ahead of when the girls came in on Sunday, the official day. So it was really good for us to see what the coaches expected, how they run things, how they coach, to get a pretty good feel of what it was going to be like.

VM: Tell me a little bit about how camp has been so far.

Caroline: It's been awesome so far. We've been coming in once a day, and twice a day a couple of times. We'll come in in the morning, and we'll go for about three hours. We've been playing a lot of competitive drills. We do a lot of breakdowns on our offensive work. We've put in probably five plays in a couple of days, so we've already been putting in a lot of the plays and working on the defensive concepts, so it's a lot like college, a lot like Vanderbilt stuff. But at the same time, I feel like there are a lot of competitive drills to see who can make it and who can't.

VM: Is that nerve-wracking?

Caroline: Actually, it hasn't been. I've been pretty open-minded and pretty relaxed about it, which shocks me because usually I am a little more high-strung with my nerves going a thousand miles an hour. But it's such an open opportunity for me, and a win-win situation that I even got this opportunity, so now I can just relax and be the best I can be. That's really all I can ask of myself. So it's been a very good experience. I haven't been nervous; I've just played the best I can, and that's all I can do.


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