Playing professional basketball and raising a 4-year-old daughter may be a little easier for former Utah Starzz forward Deborah Carter now that she'll be with the Washington Mystics, closer to her home in Atlanta.
Carter was one of four players selected by the Mystics in Wednesday's WNBA expansion draft to help form the core of its new team. The Detroit Shock also chose four players. Each of the original eight WNBA teams was allowed to protect six players from the expansion draft, and each team could lose only one player in the draft."That's a part of the business," said Starzz coach Denise Taylor, who said she hadn't talked with Carter about leaving Utah.
While Carter played in Utah last summer, her daughter, Jeremica, lived with grandparents in Atlanta.
The 6-foot Starzz rookie joined the team as a free agent, interested in Utah because her Georgia teammate, guard Lady Hardmon, was one of the players signed by the WNBA in January 1997 and assigned to Utah.
Carter started the Starzz' first six games as small forward. After that, she started only once more. She played 19 of their 28 games, missing eight games between July 26 and Aug. 12 with injury. She did not play (coach's decision) in their game at the New York Liberty. Carter averaged four points and 1.6 rebounds.
"It's a plus to be picked," Taylor said of Carter's being drafted by another team after joining the Starzz as a free agent out of their tryout camp.
Taylor says the Starzz, who were 7-21 and last in the league's first year of operation, hope to make up for the loss of Carter with their first-round draft choice or with players signed from their free-agent camp later this spring. Taylor said Utah needed shoring up at the 3 spot even if Carter would have been available for the 1998 season.
OTHER STARZZ NEWS: Taylor says she has someone in mind to replace Greg Williams as her assistant coach. He moved last week to a similar spot with the expansion Detroit Shock. "I definitely have someone in mind," Taylor said, "but nothing is finalized."
Also, Wendy Palmer, Tammi Reiss and Kim Williams have been selected by the Starzz, who still must choose one more player, to attend the WNBA's new veterans' nine-day skills and training camp March 2-10 at the new Orlando (Fla.) RDV Sportsplex facility where the NBA Magic train.
TNT broadcast analyst Hubie Brown, USA women's national team coach Neil Fortner, Magic executive VP Julius Erving, guard Mark Price and assistant coach Brendan Suhr, NBC-TV analysts Ann Meyers and Bill Walton, former Olympic and UCLA coach Billie Moore and former NBA/UCLA player Kiki Vandeweghe will join WNBA assistant coaches on the camp staff.
Many WNBA players are playing overseas or coaching and can't attend the camp, but those who are available can "go and get some coaching from some really good people," says Taylor. "I think it's a great thing to have, kind of like the (Utah Jazz's) Rocky Mountain Revue in the summertime. It's an opportunity to go in and get ready for the upcoming season." Each team may send four players.
The 10-team, 30-game second WNBA season tips off June 11.