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CT Sun star Chiney Ogwumike holds court after WNBA Draft.

POSTED April 17, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

UNCASVILLE: She’s the face of Connecticut’s WNBA franchise, the Connecticut Sun, and she loves the job and is truly a great ambassador for the women’s pro game.

Whether she is spending time with the ESPN crew or hanging around with reporters talking about her home at Mohegan Sun or how bad she wants to get back in the game.

I’m talking about Sun superstar, Chiney Ogwumike, who is currently rehabbing from knee surgery and may or may not be back in July.

The kid is a delight, she loves to talk and enjoys the spotlight as well as anyone.

She spoke on any number of subjects, her team in particular and what it was like for her this year compared to last year when she heard her name called.

“It’s so much more enjoyable tonight,” Ogwumike said, “because you don’t have all the anxiety and nerves and all that stuff. So you can just be calm and tell the players to relax and enjoy this moment. It’s especially being here at Mohegan because it’s my home so I feel very protective of it and I’m glad they let me come.”

On her knee.

“I’m taking it day by day,” Ogwumike said, “I’ve been lucky that I haven’t encountered any problems or anything so I’m very optimistic.”

On her daily workout regimen.

“I do about an hour of strict therapy for my knee,” Ogwumike said. “I’m actually in the best shape of my life right now which is kind of crazy. I’m using this time to really restructure my body to become leaner, lighter and stronger and I feel really great. I stopped drinking juice, which is crazy and I started drinking water and started watching what I eat. When I was younger, I ate whatever I wanted and I’ve really felt the changes in my body so even though this is a bump in the road, I think this is really going to help my longevity wise with my career.”

On if we will see her this summer.

“I absolutely hope so,” Ogwumike said, “but at the same time, I’m not going to rush it. I think at Connecticut we all know that this is a long term type of thing, we want championships over the next two or three years, not just immediate gains. I’ve got to make sure I’m 110 percent when I get back and when I’m back, I’m back for good.”

On whether Duke players are smarter than Stanford players. Talking about new teammate Elizabeth Williams.

“I think that we are both on Nerd Nation,” Ogwumike said. “She took O-Chem, (which stands for Organic Chemistry) like I said and that went completely over my head so I highly respect her for that.”

On the two players who left early this year and if she thinks it will be a trend.

“I think one of the best things about women’s basketball players is that more often than not, we get our degrees,” Ogwumike said. “I have talked to both of them (Loyd and Amanda Zahui B.) and they both said they were going to get their degrees. I think these are two young women who have capitalized on the moment and that’s something we have not seen before. These girls saw that this was their moment and that they could seize the moment and come out and play. I think we’re learning a lot about branding at an early age. You come out as a rookie and then you worry about branding. Now they learn about branding through social media in college. So I think they saw this opportunity and they are very smart for this because they are going to be very, very big franchise players for their programs and I think that would have changed if they had waited a year or two years.”

Ogwumike had a warning for the newly minted pros though.

“At the same time I told them y’all better go to school,” Ogwumike said. “I’m going to check to make sure you get your degrees because we play women’s basketball, we need our degrees.”

Ogwumike loves the moment and loves the game she plays and can’t wait to get back on the court as soon as possible.

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