New York Liberty go big on Draft Day

LOIS ELFMAN Special to the AmNews | 6/20/2013, 12:31 p.m.

On the eve of the 2013 WNBA Draft, the New York Liberty's new coach, Bill Laimbeer, said, "At five and seven, we're going to have to get a post player to some degree. We'll address what our needs are after the first pick. I'm looking for athletes--not necessarily a skill position, but more athletic."

With the No. 5 pick, the Liberty chose Kelsey Bone of Texas A&M, a 6-foot-4 center who gets on the block and scores.

"I read an article that said coach Laimbeer's pick at number five would depend largely on whether I entered the draft or not," said Bone, 21, who had another year of college eligibility. "I didn't know if this opportunity would be present next year, so I decided to jump on it.

"When you start talking about a coach like him, a mastermind, a man who played the game and played it so well, you can't help but be excited about the opportunity," added Bone, who will graduate on May 10. "My mother was very adamant about having that piece of the puzzle, so I held up my end."

Even in her moment of excitement, Bone took time to send out thoughts to the people of Boston impacted by tragedy earlier in the day. She told the Amsterdam News that the death of an 8-year-old boy hit her especially hard, because her 11-year-old brother was with her at the draft.

"When I think of how blessed my family and I are for the opportunities that have been bestowed upon us, I have to reach out," Bone said.

With the No. 7 pick, the Liberty took Toni Young, a 6-foot-2 forward from Oklahoma State University who is athletic, energetic and has tenacity--just what Laimbeer likes. In the offseason, the Liberty executed a complex trade that gave the team the rights to Deanna Nolan, one of Laimbeer's premier players with the Detroit Shock. Given the fact that Laimbeer doesn't expect Nolan to join the Liberty this season,Young will be an able young substitute.

In the second round, the Liberty picked Kamiko Williams, a 5-foot-11 guard from Tennessee. With the first pick of the third round, the Liberty chose Shenneika Smith of St. John's. The final third round pick was Olcay akr, a 19-year-old player from Turkey.