NEIL CORNRICH & NC SPORTS: MANAGING THE CAREERS OF PROFESSIONALS IN THE SPORTS INDUSTRY

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Shannon Johnson, Key Addition



Laimbeer adds to Shock sparingly

By Oscar Dixon
May 17, 2007

Bill Laimbeer didn't select anyone in the dispersal draft in January after the WNBA's Charlotte Sting folded. He didn't feel anyone from the last-place team in the Eastern Conference could help his Detroit Shock.

Before the April 4 draft he openly said no one could have an impact with the defending champions and making the roster as a rookie would be difficult.

Laimbeer did take North Carolina point guard Ivory Latta, projected as a top-five pick, when she slipped to the Shock's No. 11 pick. She made the team, but with his backcourt of Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan, Laimbeer says she "probably won't play."

Laimbeer did make two offseason moves, trading 6-5 Ruth Riley in a deal to San Antonio for 6-8, 240-pound Katie Feenstra.

He also signed free agent Shannon "Pee Wee" Johnson, a four-time All-Star who played in San Antonio last year. The 5-7 guard has averaged 11.8 points in her eight-year WNBA career.

"Look at what I have," Laimbeer barks when asked about his draft positions. Deanna "Nolan is coming into her own right now. (Cheryl) Ford is still growing as a basketball player but is also coming into her own. We've elevated (center) Kara Braxton, who has the ability to be a phenomenal basketball player.

"We got insurance in Feenstra. And one of the biggest keys who is going to work out really well is Pee Wee. We're going to use her just like we did with Vinnie Johnson (when Laimbeer played for the NBA's Detroit Pistons), coming off the bench to score."

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