Chicago Sky assistant coach Christie Sides chats with Hoops Insider

June 2, 2011 12:08pm

Christie Sides is in her first season as an assistant coach with the Chicago Sky. She follows head coach Pokey Chatman from Russia, where as an assistant coach Sides helped lead Spartak Moscow to the FIBA EuroLeague Championships in both 2008 and 2009. With eight years of coaching experience, between the college, professional and international levels, coach Sides chats with us about the impact of Epiphanny Prince, the inside presence of Big Syl, and what we can expect from this new Chicago coaching staff.


HI: How has Sylvia Fowles looked in the preseason?  Has her play continued to improve?

CS: You can always count on Sylvia to come out and practice each day at a high level of intensity. She has spent a lot of time during training camp before and after sessions working on basic fundamentals around the basket and also her free throws. Sylvia wants to be coached and wants to learn new things….when you put that and her work ethic together you can’t but help better yourself. Scary thing is she still has so much room to grow!!!


HI: Talent in the league has consolidated and more teams have tried to emulate the style of play of the Mercury in recent years. This has resulted in a significant increase in scoring over the past two seasons. Where do you feel this Sky team will fall amongst this trend?

CS: The Phoenix Mercury can flat out put some points on the board…I hope we fall right in line with this trend and are able to put up points like they do.


HI: It appears that #3 pick Courtney Vandersloot is the most notable roster addition to the team.  What type of impact are you expecting from her this season?

CS: With all rookies, you have to expect there are going to be growing pains due to the speed and physical play at the pro level. Courtney has worked really hard since day 1 and has been like a sponge…taking in everything from coaches and veteran players.


HI: There has been some talk of Pokey Chatman wanting to play a very uptempo style.  How committed are you to achieving this? Is it possible we will see more of a half-court style of play to emphasize the strength of Fowles inside?

CS: As long is Sylvia is on the floor, one thing will not change…she will always be our option #1, #2, and even #3. The thing that makes Sylvia special is you don’t have to limit her to a half-court style play. She can break down and defend, get her hands on a loose ball, sprint the floor in transition and outrun everyone down the floor and shoot a lay-up.


HI: Which Sky player(s) do you think are capable of surprising fans the most this season?

CS: Epiphanny Prince will probably be the most surprising just because she will be able to play her natural position where she is the most comfortable. She has also really worked hard overseas on being more committed to the defensive end of the floor.


HI: We all know that Big Syl is the top interior defender, but who is the best perimeter defender?

CS: Epiphanny Prince has been doing a good job for us as a perimeter defender…she is versatile and quick enough to pick up the point guard or can chase shooters around screens.


HI: Who has established themselves as the leaders of this team? Have you named any captains?

CS: As a coach, you hope that someone on your team steps up and takes on the responsibility of being the leader. We have not named captains, but I feel like Canty and Fowles have moved into these roles.


HI: How good do you think this Chicago team can be?

CS: We are a franchise who has yet to experience post-season play….our goal is to work hard and put ourselves in a position so that we are not playing our last game of the 2011 season on September 15.

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