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Play-making rookie Destiny Slocum adjusts to Aces, WNBA

Aces rookie point guard Destiny Slocum wants to be prepared if nothing else.

So much so that she went into the team’s training room at Michelob Ultra Arena before its scrimmage against the Los Angeles Sparks last Sunday with a dry erase board and her playbook in hand.

Impressing the reigning WNBA MVP in the process.

“As a rookie, my playbook was perfect clean sheets of paper because I didn’t even open it because I’m just like ‘I’m going to go with the flow.’” said teammate A’ja Wilson. “To see her do that, it really show how much she cares about the game and how much she wants to grow.”

Slocum is winning over her teammates with her preparation, pace and passing, and will look to impress some more Saturday in another scrimmage against the Sparks in Los Angeles. The Aces selected the 5-foot-7-inch floor general last month with the No. 14 overall pick in the WNBA draft and she’s seemingly making the most of her first professional training camp.

She scored 10 points Sunday in the first scrimmage, earning praise for her play during the team’s media day Monday from coach Bill Laimbeer. She says she’s still adjusting to the physical play at the professional level, but her acumen and intelligence have eased her transition.

“The easiest part of it, it sounds weird, is learning the plays,” she said. “But who to get them for is kind of what I’m working on.”

Slocum cultivated her cerebral skills first as a five-star recruit in Meridian, Idaho, and then at Maryland, Oregon State and Arkansas. Playing for multiple college programs and coaches helped her master different styles of play, she said, thus preparing her for the nuances of the WNBA game.

As a senior at Arkansas, she averaged 15 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range. Laimbeer said on draft night that Slocum was near the top of the Aces’ draft board.

Her passing and floor presence were among the qualities the team believed would translate to the WNBA level. She’shaving no issue showcasing them thus far.

“Angel (McCoughtry) has the best vision on our team for passing. … Slocum may be next, as far as seeing the floor, seeing where to find players and how to set people,” Laimbeer said at the beginning of training camp. “That’s going to be her opportunity in the long run, to be that time of guard for us. … She’s not afraid. That’s the best part about her.”

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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