Sun pull off deal for Greene

Kalana Greene (32) battles former UConn teammate Maya Moore for a rebound during a game against West Virginia in 2009.
Kalana Greene (32) battles former UConn teammate Maya Moore for a rebound during a game against West Virginia in 2009.

Mohegan - A cheer could be heard coming from the Connecticut Sun's draft room, which was separated from the media room with just a portable wall at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center.

Connecticut's reaction came after it had completed a trade with the New York Liberty on Monday for former UConn guard Kalana Greene.

"The Kalana Greene (trade) became a bonus," Sun coach Mike Thibault said, "because at the start of the day I didn't think we'd get it done."

The Sun went into the draft without a first-round pick and just two selections overall.

Connecticut came away with three players after two trades: Louisiana Tech forward Adrienne Johnson, Nevada guard Tahnee Robinson and Greene.

"It's a good day as far as I'm concerned," Thibault said. "We got more athletic (and) bigger at the wings."

Thibault said he had talked with New York general manager and head coach John Whisenant several times during the offseason about trading for Greene, the 13th overall pick in 2010.

The Sun could have selected Greene with the seventh overall pick last year, but opted for Danielle McCray.

McCray, a 5-foot-11 guard/forward from Kansas, was projected as a lottery pick prior to tearing her ACL in February 2010. She sat out the WNBA season.

New York had a glut of wing players, and Thibault said Whisenant wanted to add a point guard. The Sun obliged by taking Sydney Colson, the Texas A&M point guard, with the 16th overall pick (second round) and immediately offered her to the Liberty for Greene.

Greene averaged 4.5 points and shot 46.4 percent from the field in 33 games with New York last season. She was one of five players selected to the 2010 All-Rookie team, as were the Sun's Tina Charles and Kelsey Griffin.

"I felt that (Greene) proved last year that she could play in the league and do certain things," Thibault said. "I always liked her in college. Last year, we felt we needed what Danielle McCray brought with that (seventh) pick for the future. Now, we've kind of got the bonus of getting them both.

"We had to wait a year, but we got them both. I'm very happy."

Greene is reunited with former UConn teammates Renee Montgomery and Charles.

"I'm really excited she's coming," Charles said. "She's going to be a great addition to the team. Just her work ethic, and her leadership skills, and just what she wants for herself and knowing she has that mentality that we had at Connecticut, that there's no exception but championships.

Greene tweeted, "Wow. I am overwhelmed right now."

Connecticut would have drafted Johnson had Colson not been on the board. Instead, the Sun got Johnson in the third round (28th overall).

Johnson averaged 22 points and 9.5 rebounds as a senior and was the 2011 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year.

"All three (of us) coaches watched the same players separately and then came back and talked about it," Thibualt said. "It was unanimous about her. She's athletic, 6-foot with a wingspan of a 6-foot-5 kid. She was a state champion in the high jump and triple jump in high school. That tells you about her athleticism."

Robinson was drafted 31st by the Phoenix Mercury, who then dealt the 5-9 guard to Connecticut for a 2012 third-round pick. Robinson averaged 22.2 points and 6.1 rebounds.

"Tahnee was among the top 10 scorers in the country for most of the year," Thibault said. "I watched her play quite a bit."

n.griffen@theday.com

Sun draft day profiles

KALANA GREENE
Selected: 2010 Second round, No. 13.
Position: Guard. Height: 5 feet, 10 inches.
College: UConn.
This season: 4.5 points for the New York Liberty.

ADRIENNE JOHNSON
Selected: Third round, No. 28.
Postion: Forward. Height: 6 feet.
College: Louisiana Tech.
This season: 22 points, 9.5 rebounds.

TAHNEE ROBINSON
Selected: Third round, No. 31.
Position: Guard. Height: 5 feet, 9 inches.
College: Nevada.
This season: 22.2 points, 6.1 rebounds.

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments