Kelly Faris Trying To Adjust To New Role: Waiting For A Chance

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Throughout her successful career as an Indiana high school star and UConn focal point, Kelly Faris has always understood nothing worthwhile has come easy for her.
She has relied on impeccable fundamentals and work habits to compensate for whatever physical skills were lacking. And somehow she has always been able to make it work for herself and her team.
But in her second season with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, Faris is facing the first serious roadblock in her career.
On a young, rebuilding team, stocked with many like-talents, she is now the last player on a 12-player depth chart in a rotation that has rarely gone deeper than nine.


As a result, Faris is the only Sun player not to appear in any of the team’s first three games as it prepares for its fouth Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena against Seattle.

“I know this is hard for Kelly,” Sun coach Anne Donovan said. “She had a good rookie year for us and because of our situation [injuries] she received more playing time [24 games before her season ended with a foot injury] than most rookies would normally get.
“But what I love about her is that she understands that she needs to get better.”
Faris is the type of player Donovan needs on her second Sun team; one who seems to buy into the message. That wasn’t the case with many of last year’s players.
Still, Faris was outplayed in training camp by Danielle McCray and rookie Alyssa Thomas, the fourth overall pick in the draft. And because of that, and after Kalana Greene was cut to keep Faris, there simply was not place else to put her right now.

“I completely understand that this is eating her up inside and she isn’t satisfied with how things are,” Donovan said. “We’ve talked about it: I’ve told her it isn’t personal, that why she is in the spot she is has to do more with how well other players have performed. But just like it was last season, she knows she needs to be ready if called on and I have great confidence she will be. I just can’t play 12 players.”
Faris, who much of last summer dealing with a persistent foot injury, originally suffered with the Huskies in March 2013, says she began to notice playing in Hungary during the winter how her skill set seemed to be falling short.
“Obviously, my shot needs to be more consistent,” Faris said. “My ball-handling and being able to handle defensive pressure are other things I need to get better at…Part of my game isn’t where it needs to be.
“If I can play the point, shooting guard or small forward spots, I know I can be more valuable to a team. I want to be more comfortable and confident if I’m needed at the 1 [point], just like Allie Hightower is now.”
Faris is usually the last player to leave practice and on game nights she takes the floor early, usually with former assistant coach Catherine Proto by her side, working on ball-handling skills and shooting.
“It’s all a part of it. If you know me, you understand I am all about [the concept] of earning minutes. If you deserve to be on the court, you deserve to be on the court and right now there are some players ahead of me, doing a better job in certain situations,” Faris said. “I just have to look at this as a challenge. This is professional basketball. You need to prove that you deserve to be here. So I am working as hard as I can every day on things that I know [skills] are not where they need to be as of yet.”

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