Player goes from intern to tryout with WNBA’s Sun

Since I’m originally from Connecticut, women’s hoops is a big deal (have you heard of a li’l school called UConn?). Well, I still read the Hartford Courant with some regularity and loved the story I read today about a University of Vermont student who spent last summer interning for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and this year is trying out for the team.

According to the article:

May Kotsopoulos was  a guard on the Catamounts team that lost to UConn in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.  After her junior year at Vermont, Kotsopoulos began an internship with the Sun marketing and communications department.

The job gave her full access to the players and coaches and lasted through last season’s All-Star Game at the Mohegan Sun Arena, where she mingled with Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and the other All-Stars.

“It gave me a chance to learn the other side of the world of sports,” Kotsopoulos said. “And it was inspiring as a player.”

But after a senior season that saw Vermont win the America East tournament and a first-round NCAA game against Wisconsin, Kotsopoulos, the conference’s leading scorer (17.1), is back with the Sun and trying to make the team.

Kotsopoulos was a shutdown defender who helped Vermont defeat Hartford in the America East title game. She also has defended many of the best players in America, such as Angel McCoughtry, the No.1 pick in the 2009 draft, and UConn’s Kalana Greene and Maya Moore, since Vermont also played UConn in the regular season in 2009-10.

Kotsopoulos faces long odds, as do all of the free agents the Sun signed after the April 8 draft. The Sun turned their roster over in the offseason after not making the playoffs for the first time, and the result is a tight 11-player roster, as long as everyone stays healthy.

“The reality is that most of the other players here are not going to make this team,” Sun coach Mike Thibault said. “They knew that coming here. In order for one of these kids to make it, they are going to have to beat out a veteran or a draft pick. It’s just the way it is.”

This does not phase Kotsopoulos. The free agents, who also include Sacred Heart center Kaitlin Sowinski, know these next few weeks are more about preparing for the step that comes later, playing professionally in Europe this autumn and winter.

Participating in a WNBA training camp gives players experience that will help their job search. And Kotsopoulos, a native of Waterloo, Ontario, already knows where she is likely headed.

“I’m not absolutely sure about everything yet, but it looks like I’m going to get a chance to play for the Greek national team in the world championship this year [September in the Czech Republic],” she said.

“And once that’s over, if I decide and if I am offered the chance, I’ll play for a team in the Greek professional league this season. If the opportunity is not right, then I won’t.”

Thibault said he admires Kotsopoulos’ play and pointed out that free agent guard Kristi Cirone made the Sun and played in four games last season while Anete Jekabsone-Zogota was still in Europe.

But guard is a deep position on this team with Kara Lawson, Renee Montgomery, Tan White, Jekabsone-Zogota and draft pick Allison Hightower of LSU in the rotation.

Whatever happens May, good luck with your career both on and off the court.

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