Azurá Stevens one-on-one with the Chicago skyline-women’s basketball world
In February, Chicago Sky traded their 2019 first-round draft pick (Katie Lou Samuelson) and 2021 first-round draft pick to the Dallas Wings in exchange for striker Azurá Stevens. The exchange not only completed the task of appeasing the dissatisfied Samuelson, but also saved a versatile player in Stevens, which made Sky Head Coach and General Manager James Wade dream vet.
Wade said after the transaction: “With her size and skills, she filled a gap that we currently lack and needed to reach a new height.”
Stevens is already in the third grade this year, bringing versatility at both ends of the court and adding a new look to Chicago’s already impressive vestibule.
In Dallas last year, Stevens only played in nine games because of a foot injury and surgery. Fans and experts want to know whether she will return to the arena after missing a basketball game for almost a year. But Wade believed she would exceed all expectations.
Wade said: “We have done a lot of player development with her.” “We have done a lot of film research with her individually. We have done a lot of film research with her before, and we think this should be a seamless transition.” .”
“The only thing we may worry about is the fatigue factor, and she has adapted to the 40-minute game because she has not really participated in the game for a year and a half.”
Wade counts on Stevens’ competitiveness.
“She is a player,” he said. “The WNBA is about talent. If you have talent, it will help you. We are not worried that she will merge, we are only worried that she can make her body normal. We think our offense will complement her, and she will Complement our offense.”
Is Stevens the missing person for the Chicago championship puzzle? We sat down to talk to her.
So far, how is your training camp with the new team?
Obviously, this is a period of adjustment, which allows me to learn more about my game and players. I think it’s better to interact with them every day. Every day we get better. Even I myself just understand the system better. Overall, this is a very good camp.
What is the most difficult thing to adapt to?
I will speak for myself, my pace. Because I obviously came back from the injury, I feel as if I missed a lot of time, and I want to return it to me. I think that personally, making the game stand alone is the hardest thing.
Are you comfortable when practicing with surgically restored feet?
Yes, one hundred percent. I feel really good. I completed the PT before coming here. Even if it’s just here, Megan [Lockerby] Even James is very good. We have had a lot of open communication about how I feel every day. I am just listening to my body. I feel great. When I was on the court, I didn’t even think about my feet. It was a very good feeling.
Since last season, have you changed the way you take care of your body?
Oh yeah [laughs]! Surgery can definitely help me maintain more contact with the body and the body, rather than doing what others think is right or what others are doing. It helps me understand my body better. Therefore, I definitely have a better understanding of what I need after each practice, what I need to recover, and what I need to do to feel correct and ready for each game and practice. Therefore, in this sense, I will definitely feel more in matters.
Are you surprised that you were traded to Chicago in February? Once you hear this news, what is your reaction?
Yes, I am really surprised. I didn’t expect it at all-just like that. I can’t really say that I am upset. I really look forward to being with this team. To be honest, to be honest, many people know me, and Gabby (Williams, a former teammate of UConn) is really close. Therefore, it is great to think of us coming back together. I know most of the players in the team.
This is actually very interesting, because in my rookie year, when we used to play against the Chicago team, I would eat with them after the game. I also knew some of them because of Gabby and I, so to be honest, I was very excited. I don’t know James very well, but the first conversation I just knew was to be a member of this team, it would be a great experience. I did not cry. It was just plain sailing and happy forward. Seriously, since I came here, I really feel like a family and feel really good.
As long as I look at you, there is as much friendship as there is on the field. Are you immediately welcomed by your new teammates?
immediately. Obviously, I didn’t see them until we started training before we came to Chicago, but we were making Zoom calls. I don’t know, I just think everyone in the team is very comfortable, which is really great. Then, we had some conversations about what happened to George Floyd. They are real conversations. Before adapting, I wasn’t really open to many people, but I felt so comfortable with this team that I was open to them. We even shared special moments before starting the game. Even now, here, we obviously still have to spend a lot of time together. It’s fun to be with this team. It is a difficult decision for all of us to consider falling into a bubble in a pandemic, but it is very special to be able to do this with the family you call.
For Chicago fans who are not familiar with your game, how would you describe what brought to this team?
I think I brought many different aspects to the team. I’m a versatile player, so I can post to you, you can face you, you can play on the perimeter, you can take the ball – even if I don’t need to do it (point guard Courtney Vandersloot) it’s here [laughs]! Seriously, I am a versatile player. This is a way I like to characterize the game. Generally speaking, for many back-office players and teams, I am just a mismatch. I can also influence the game on defense. Rebounding, I took it to the table, blocked shots, steals, deflection, and even just changed the shot. In terms of defense, I have the same way of thinking as when attacking, which makes me become better and better. I just want to join the team in any possible way, but this is only a part of me for fans.
In research, I found that your three-point shooting percentage in rookie season is 31%. I don’t know if you can shoot three. Is that what you are allowed to do in practice?
Oh yeah. James lets all of us play games I love. He doesn’t want to put anyone in the box, I think it’s a beautiful thing. I think this allows us to explore and demonstrate our passion and love for the game and what we can do on the court. When your coach restricts you, it is difficult to do this, which is frustrating. We love this game and put in a lot of time. In a sense, we are free to play there is an art, which is what he allows us to do. I have been able to practice my game, which is really interesting.
Has coach Wade told you that you will start at level 4 at the beginning of the season?
No, I’m not sure what will happen. I am just waiting for how it is displayed.
Does it matter to you?
I mean if I want to participate in a game or start a game, I will treat the game the same way. Either way, I will call.
After Dallas stepped forward last season, do you think you have anything to prove?
I do not know. not really. I am about to enter the game and go back to where I left. Obviously, I was really depressed last year because I was injured. I can’t play games the way I know. There is nothing to prove to fans. I just prove to myself that I can go back to the past and return to my original position. I didn’t prove the pressure of anything. I’m just really looking forward to returning to the court, doing what I like to do, and doing things in a healthy way, not when I’m injured.
What is your personal goal in the first season of the sky?
I think it’s almost like the day when the rookie season ends. I just came with my enthusiasm and passion that year, in fact, it just showed my ability. Last year was obviously difficult because I was injured. I can’t focus on basketball in the way I want. Now I am very healthy and feel good, I just want to come back from where I left last time.
This post is written by Sherron Shabazz