There is never a good time to be injured. For ex Baylor college star Kristy Wallace her injury was about the worst time possible in a career. What has followed from Coach Nikki Collen and the Atlanta Dream is awe-inspiring.
Kristy Wallace moved from South Queensland to Texas in 2014. At the tender age of 18 she travelled 8,000 miles to follow her dream. She spent four years at Baylor building an impressive resume. Over her college career Wallace averaged 8.9 points, 3,9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
These numbers do not seem too impressive. Her senior year she averaged 12.9 points, 5.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals. She shot the ball at .502/.384/.798 which is incredibly impressive for a point guard.
However, it is not her stats which made Baylor such a desirable prospect in the draft. She ran her team with a ferocity which reminded me of Lindsay Whalen and in her four years Baylor made it to the sweet sixteen once and the elite-eight three times.
Baylor is a successful college program anyway, in conference play in these four years they went 68-4. This is tremendous but with Wallace running the point in her senior year the Bears were 18-0 which they have only done twice before.
The Bears looked good for potentially making the final four before Wallace went down. The Bears only made the sweet 16. With this injury, it appeared that Wallace’s WNBA dream would be over or at least put on hold for a number of years.
Well, enter Nikki Collen and the Atlanta Dream who took Wallace with the 16th pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, knowing that it was going to take at least nine months to rehabilitate the injury.
Well, just a little more than nine months later, Wallace took the court for the Canberra Capitals in the Australian WNBL. She played a game on limited minutes but got through unscathed. Unfortunately this game was not so good. She went down with her knee going out again.
This time Wallace is going to be out for twelve months. Usually this means the end of a career in a league like the WNBA, but according to Eamonn Tieman at the Canberra Times, the Atlanta Dream will stick by the injured Australian.
This is an example of why the Dream were successful last season, Yes, they added talent, lots of talent. However, it is an example of how Dream coach Nikki Collen puts faith in her players and as a result, they played hard for the first year coach.
There is little wonder why Collen won coach of the year. This season the Dream may start the 2019 season with or without star Angel McCoughtry. However, the Dream should have a better start to the season than last year. Coach Collen has had this team for a year and will be able to work her magic, and her players will play for her.
The handling of the Kristy Wallace injury has told us the professionalism and understanding of the coach and her franchise. This will hold them in good stead both on and off the court.