New York Liberty 2016 Training Camp is presented by Blueprint for Athletes.
With the 12th overall pick in the First Round of the 2016 WNBA Draft, the New York Liberty selected 6-4 center Adut Bulgak from Florida State University. After growing up in Edmonton, Alberta, Bulgak started her college basketball career at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas, before starring at Florida State where she averaged 12.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a senior. Bulgak took some time to talk about what it was like to hear her name called on draft night, and a little about her game and playing at the next level.
So you had a party on draft night and there were a lot of people there to celebrate with you, what was it like to hear your name called?
Adut Bulgak: It was really cool to have all of that support there, it really meant a lot to me. When they called my name all I saw was everyone’s arms go in the air and it didn’t even hit me that my name was called. Our men’s coach asked me, ‘did you not know that was you being called?!’ that’s how calm I was. It’s still surreal, but it was great to have all of those people around me especially because my family was not here. I knew that we were at No. 12, and that it was New York, but after that it was a blur, then I got the phone call two minutes later, and then I was like, this is real.
Have you ever been to New York City before, what does it mean to have Madison Square Garden as your new home floor?
AB: Florida State came there for a Thanksgiving Tournament this season to play against LIU Brooklyn, but I have never been to Madison Square Garden, and I’m excited!
Tell us a little big about your game. You are 6-4, but have the ability to step outside and shoot 3-pointers. How would you describe your style of play?
AB: Confusing, haha. It is different because there are not many 6-4 centers that shoot outside. Most of the time I guard the five, and there aren’t many that can step out onto the perimeter and do what I can do, but on the other side I have to learn how to play on the inside too. I think versatile is the word for it. I used to practice my outside shot in high school, but it was just bad. When I went to JuCo (Trinity Valley Community College) my coach (Elena Lovato) would go in the gym with me, she was a really good shooter, she played professionally, so we would stay in the gym late and have shooting contests and that helped me develop.
You played several sports growing up before focusing on basketball, when did you start to think about playing professionally?
AB: My coaches always kind of ingrained it in my head for me, so I didn’t really have a choice in thinking about it. The idea of people seeing my development, and my potential, kind of gave me enough confidence to think that I could go professional, but as far as WNBA, I never thought that I was going to play. I was the clumsiest kid ever. When some of my friends were congratulating me they remembered in the seventh grade when I used to trip over my feet all the time, and I still do that. But the thought that now I am going to play professionally is crazy.
What are you most looking forward to about getting started in training camp next week?
AB: Just the new style of play and the new level. The competition and the opportunity to learn and play with older, experienced, bigger, better, stronger players is going to be good for me to actually develop now as a player.
Has anyone given you any advice about transitioning to the WNBA?
AB: Yeah, everybody, haha. They are just saying go out there and do what you do, shoot the ball, run the floor, and compete.