Observations From Mercury Camp: Day 1
Day 1 of training camp is the best. Seriously.
Everything is fresh and exciting. Nobody is exhausted from running (that comes later), and there’s always such a palpable atmosphere of hope that fills the arena.
Here’s what I noticed from Day 1:
Cayla Francis’ Versatility
A new addition to the Mercury’s frontcourt, Cayla Francis wasted no time impressing her teammates and coaches.
Francis has a similar game to former Mercury star Tangela Smith in that she can stretch the defense out with her stellar outside shot. Francis, however, has a knack for scoring the ball on all locations on the court, is tough in the paint and seems to be in the right place at the right time.
She’ll be huge for the Mercury this season.
Welcome Back, Jazzy J!
Seeing Jasmine James in a Mercury practice jersey was phenomenal. As the X-Factor knows, James has battled injuries over the past couple of years, and her journey back to the hardwood has been nothing short of inspiring.
We’re catching up with Jazzy for an exclusive sit-down interview on PhoenixMercury.com this week, so be sure to check it out.
Monique Currie gives the Mercury an ultra-tough defender on the perimeter, and is an instant upgrade to the team’s already-solid defense. She’s also incredibly athletic and spaces the floor very well.
Noelle Quinn came into camp in fantastic shape, and her outside shot is looking fierce.
Leilani Mitchell on the Pick-And-Roll
It’s early on, sure, but be on the lookout for the budding chemistry of Mitchell and Candice Dupree on the pick-and-roll.
It’s clear that the Mercury’s identity – at least early in the season – will come from their defensive intensity. Sandy Brondello runs a detailed, strict training camp and proper defensive rotations are continually at the forefront.
“Do the most aggressive thing” is something Sandy says quite often in practice, and that is especially emphasized on the defensive end.
Dupree and Bonner Provide Stability
DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree are like the sun on a cold winter day.
That’s probably a bit melodramatic, but their presence at Mercury training camp just feels right. They fit seamlessly into any style of play that Brondello wants to run, and instantly take the team’s intensity in practice to another level.