Locked On Women's Basketball Episode 167: Indiana Fever Forward Lauren Cox
In. The lockdown podcast network your team every day. You are locked on women's basketball part of the locked on podcast network. Lockdown. Women's vegetables brought you by built bar built ball. Go enjoy the banana bread. During your workout after your workout before your workout. All three, you'll thank me later built bar. Hello and welcome to a special edition of the next best of all podcast I'm your host Howard Magda reminding you, you can follow us. Twenty, four, seven, three, sixty, five at the next dot sub stack dot com where your favorite women's basketball writers, podcasters videography are all making sure you know everything there is to know about women's basketball and I am joined by someone who we've written a lot about it pipo stoops, and in our podcast, and in many different forms. Now about to hopefully soon start her professional career, and that's Lauren Cox and the Indiana Fever Lauren. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Of course, thank you for having me. I want to start. If I could, and you wrote a piece over at Players Tribune that I really loved about the way you've persevered overcome so much to get to a point in basketball where you have been remarkably successful at every level, and quite frankly I expect that to continue at the professional level for some of the numbers I. Want to throw in here as And those numbers that you referenced were about things like points per game rebounds per dame to me, if anything that under sells the value that you put forward during your time at Baylor, where you win six woman of the year, the you'll manage to go out and play the four when it was needed. The five hundred was needed whether it's the fact that you're able to facilitate. Those numbers are on. Per minute basis, even more emphasis than a per game basis so. I'd like to start by the way in which you think of an you looked at the numbers that are most important to you when you're trying to evaluate the impact, you're having on a game. I think the first thing that I look at is my turn. Assist to turnover ratio and coach Mogi always told us that. It needed to be a to. Assist to turnover ratio so I always wanted to make sure that if I had two. I wanted to have four assists. So that was kind of the first thing that I looked at and then the second thing was probably that blocks or balance I. I think if you look at my scoring That's not the biggest part of my game I'm not the thing that I bring to the table I think I bring other things like passing defense rebounding thing. I do whatever it takes from team to win. You know the thing that's so interesting about the the way you blocked shots and it didn't matter whether you were playing more of the. The traditional five replaying playing extra, Kalani, it didn't matter your blocked shots when you go by blocked rate block, percentage were top fifteen, the country and a twenty six beer freshman year near thirty fifth year seniors, and this was something that was consistent, and the reason why the thing that's so interesting Jr. obviously, you are playing next to tear McCowan when the season starts. We all hope very soon. Somebody who obviously gets blocks in droves and I. Just I wonder how you come to those decisions as a four when you're in that position when your looking to get that block shot when you're looking to sag off and let you know it was Salani, we'll be T doing it. How is that decision made in the context of half court defense for you. I think it's. It really happens within what I can you know It's just how the game is flowing whether you have to come from outside the block a shot. Whether, you know your teammates know that they can defend someone on their own Instincts and it's kind something that I've always had. This isn't high to. This has always been a shot blocking. Area where you excel. I mean not just a question of being able to be I'm sure you were typically one of the taller players as you're growing up, but understanding the way, not just the HAL. Yeah I have always taken descends personally and I've always loved to block shots I. Mean I played volleyball all four years in high school, so I think some of that kind of translated to the way that I blocked shots do since that volleyball would have been a potential path for you if a scholarship and then professional opportunity was part of the sports landscape right now I'm struck so many of times within women's sports by how decisions are made based on where you could advance. The furthest wondered whether Beshir was your true love war weather that played a part in your decision making. Basketball always a nightshirt love I played volleyball just for the fun of it. You know just to get away from basketball myself a little bit of a break because I mean if you're playing basketball year round. No matter. How much you love it! You'RE GONNA. Get a little tired of it, so wally ball gave me a nice break and I just had a lot of fun with it. Elena Delle done did the same thing actually when she took a year off from playing basketball. So maybe there's as part of a WNBA future. All Star stills deemed that can be some sort of volleyball challenge that happens. That would be a lot of fun. I would certainly be here for it. I I do to get into the assist turnover issue. Because again it's worth throwing back to when your game in person I've had the privilege of being able to cover person, but it jumps off. The page on the stat line is well, and so your assist rate is not just a question of two to one. You're up around twenty percent the last two years in terms of your assist percentage, which is a number you typically see from darts at the collegiate level, not from players who were able to do as many other things as you do. Curious in your initial conversations with Marianne Stanley how much how often in the ways in which you're going to be utilized as a secondary playmaker in that way in much the same way quite frankly that you see at times, Elena Delle Don do it, and frankly Emma Michigan do it as well for Mariam's team in Washington. Yeah, she's been telling me that she loves the way that I can pass the ball and It kinda goes back to rebounding. You know I get a lot of defensive rebounds, so she said. Maybe, starting to break the past and then I'm going to be trailing that. She really trust me to make decisions at the top of the key makes an next pass make. Hand off whatever it is so I think she really likes out about my game. You're still percentage also jumped very significantly. You're a two point one percent in your senior year. How, much I, obviously, Baylor and your identity there was so based around defense, but how much of that comes down to? It being something you're hunting, you're hunting steals your hunting deflections, and how much of that came from strategically? What does running? Yeah I. Mean Coach Mulkey always said that. No matter how often fully skills you are, if you can't play defense and you're not going to be playing very much because if you score. Fifteen points a game, but you're giving up twenty twenty five then. You're not doing very good, so she always put an emphasis on the fan whether that was being in the passing lane, getting deflections, getting steel, walking shot, having foot and Elaine being able to help our teammates. She always synthesized that and we probably worked on everyday in practice. I to that end from the offensive perspective. Hollinger and Dunkin her on the lockdown podcast network. The smartest NBA podcast free Monday. Dunkin, the NBA so. It's a strange thing to save someone who as much as you did, but do you feel as if your game has even more room to grow on the offensive end of the floor right now? Yeah, I think no matter how good you are. There's always areas that you can grow in and. I this past season. I've seen in era I. didn't get to shoot as many threes that I did my junior year because I was playing more of the five sedition playing in by so that's one of the areas that I want to improve on and want to get back to is shooting that outside shot, so let's talk more about that I'm glad glad you brought that up because it's obviously still that you've had. You flashed it in several different seasons throughout your career, but like you said your role in your senior season. Allow for in the same way that. You Know Claudia somebody who an off to tell you is somebody who is capable of hitting that three especially hidden that trail three, and simply wasn't having the opportunity to do that. During her senior year junior year as well and then something I know she's looking forward to doing more in Atlanta and something Nikki, Collins Talk to her about doing as well so two parts of that one is. To be with someone like Marianne, Stanley, who has not just worked with a lot of the great bids I mean you can go back decades. She's somebody who coached and Donovan. In College show who has latency of doing that, but also a legacy of coaching, versatile bigs hat important was that. How significant was that and was that on your radar? Come draft night when you're looking and you're seeing the way the dominoes falling and there's a real opportunity for you to be drafted by Indiana three. Yeah I mean I was really excited because Elena though on his one of my favorite players, so coach family has coached her before That was really exciting for me and. She always says you know we're going outside shot because if you have an open shot I, want you to knock it down I. Want you to take it I'm not going to get mad at you for taking open shot, but you need to get the reps thin so that you can make those shots every time. So how are you dating? Reps in are in reps in we're. We're in this very strange moment obviously and so take me through what you're able to do white. You're most missing not able to do with this moment as well. Yeah. It's been hard. I've had to get really creative with workouts, just trying to stay in shape and stuff and when gyms weren't really open I was having to shoot outside, and you can't really shoot outside shots when it's windy and. Shoot and shoot straight, and then the ball curves the left curves to the right. You know so. I deeply objects to Elliott cleared lease handicap. She had to experience shooting outside when she was playing. Horace few which. For just that reason alley quickly who can hit the shots from anywhere? And she's handicapped by having to play outside instead of inside I thought it was. It was deeply problematic and Yeah, sure an objection, but please don't want. Yeah, so that's that's been hard, but especially in Texas, things are starting to up a little bit so I'm able to get an agenda now. and get up some shots. How many in a day feels like enough to you right now? I. Don't think there's a specific number I think just. Getting in the gym. It's just nice just being in there again. You know getting those shots up hearing the ball bounce on the floor goes through the nets It's nice to be back in the gym so I wouldn't say there's a specific number. It's Kinda. Just based on how I'm feeling. Just go in as hard as I can and when I'm exhausted and I know that I've done enough. Let's talk about your legacy a little bit, too. Because I think that we missed an opportunity for you to do something. Very few people have done and winning multiple national championships. That's a short list and so I I WANNA start with. What you make of the conversation, the women's basketball conversation where so much of it has been centered around Oregon absolutely a tremendous year. Sas Carolina absolutely tremendous year. It feels to me like Baylor doesn't get talked about in the same way, which is strange, not only because you're the defending champions coming into what would have been? Epic March, but because of how dominant you'd is world season, so if you take me through just how you're processing it whether you think that this Baylor team would have won at all I'm just wondering what your perception of it all is. Yeah I mean it was really disappointing that we didn't get the defend our tidal because I think. We had a really good shot at it. We had a really good team. a lot of returners that were not national championship team and with the addition of some really good new players so. It was heartbreaking when we didn't get to make that. Run again and I think. Maybe a lot of people counted us out when South Carolina beat us over the Thanksgiving. Break I mean I was hurt at that time hands saying that we would have won the game if I was planning but I like I said before I'm willing to do anything to help my team win so. I didn't get to play against them. so I. I think if we would have. Played an NC double A. Tournament. I think we would have met him in the final four, and it would have been a really good game. It's hard to imagine taking that seriously as precursor. One of the teams missing it's best player. It's just not a reasonable way to evaluate that match up in my in my opinion, you know I'm happy to say that. I know that might not be something for you to say, but yes, absolutely to the chance to see you guys at full strength and them at full strength would have been an epic match up for sure. There's another part of that, though which is you won a national championship, and let's be clear you wouldn't have won a national championship at Baylor without everything you did on that team all season, and that is stipulated, but because of your injury in that final dame, you were not able to play those final few minutes. I I remember it I remember the hush in the crowd I remember. I remember Kim's tears talking about this afternoon when when we didn't know yet. How serious injury would be your how quickly you'd be able to come back. Is that added to that frustration for you just knowing that you weren't able to experience that as as a collegiate athlete and I I just I wonder just how you process it and how you move past that emotionally. Yeah I mean. That was bittersweet for me because. I mean it was a dream. Come true when championship but. I didn't know how severe my injuring was. Be I didn't get to run out on the court and hug my teammates game. You know I had I was stuck on the sideline and they had to come to me. So that was definitely Hark. Just being like 'cause that's. Business casual is a new podcast by morning. Brew that makes. Business News enjoyable relatable and dare. I say fun I interview. The biggest names in business covering topics like how technology is changing the fitness industry and the economics of influence or marketing. It's the business podcast, but makes you smarter and makes you laugh. Listen to business casual wherever you get your podcasts. Goes are all the pictures you know all the videos everyone running out and I? Just I'm missing from all those. That was kind of heartbreaking for me and not getting to defend that title and possibly do that again this year. It kind of made it even worse. I think getting over all the emotions was definitely hard. I cried for a couple of days when we found out the news, but. Just, looking forward to the draft, looking forward to that that future That kind of helps me get over all the emotions when you think about that in back onto the court. Do you visualize it? And if so, how do you visualize it when it's so hard to know we don't know where it will be. We don't know when it will be, and it would be obviously a dramatically different experience from the dame's. You're used to play in front of a lower a large number of fancy. Yeah it's definitely going to be weird once we get back out there but I think. All the players probably have the same opinion. We just WanNa play whether that's in front of fans whether that's in an empty Jim whatever it is, we just WanNa play because we love the game. On the business side of things I saw you ultimately signed with Aaron Kane Octagon hoping you could take me through what it's like to be one of the most after players in the draft how those conversations go, and how you figure that out in the midst of them, particularly a very strange. Period of time you know whether it's the end of the college season or the uncertainty that comes with pro season a heck. Yeah that. Whole Process was kind of interesting. It was kind of like being recruited all over again. You know your arm sewn with people trying to get to know them. then trying to get to know you and. In the end I picked Erin because I just travel with her, I felt like I can. I could talk to her about anything and. It it just felt right for me. She, obviously also represents Elena. Delle Donne is a player you've talked about is your favorite. Elena is obviously a parallel to you in a number of ways, but Do. You think that what Alina has done in this league? Is your goal your stealing as a player? Do you see that differing I'm just wondering how you define your arc ahead and where you want to get to as a player. Yeah I mean I look at her in Houston. That can score at any level with ease. You know She puts up. A difficult shot and she makes it look easy, you know. I all if I want to necessarily. Like frame my after her, because like I said scoring. Isn't the main thing that I do if my team score then I'm going to step up. I'M GONNA their. UPS in I'M GONNA. Do whatever it takes for me to be that kind of score, but. Mainly to rebound I'm GONNA do that if they need is to defend to make good passes. Whatever it is I'm going to do that. I guess I wonder and you're saying it on the ground, so you're seeing in a different way than I am covering it, but if you go back a few years, somebody with the size of Elena Don doing things that she does or a large actions and example candace Parker's an example with these were exceptions to the rule, and now we're in a world with. Elena still playing with Kansas, still playing with Brian Stewart playing, obviously with no shortage of other people look, we had multiple people. Yourself included in this draft with Bela Allerg- well with such a sabally who are able to at a size, six, three, six, four, six, five. Be able to play. Guard still positions are able to shoot the ball from anywhere, and I guess what I'm wondering is whether you think this is becoming the norm, and we're rapidly evolving in the lead toward a part where there are simply biggs and other bids. Rather than the more traditional one through five. Yeah I think what are definitely evolving. You know I. Think the more versatile you are, the more dangerous you are. but at the same time I think that. Every team Kinda needs that true five player. You know someone that can get down on the low post banging around with everybody just a big body down in the post I think. A lot of people my junior year when we won the championship where like? I mean. Is Baylor GonNa? Win It because they kind of playing old school. Basketball and everyone else is kind of playing new school so and we proved it worked for US turned out Oh. Yeah didn't WANNA shy away from nine game. No and it was remarkable to see up close. And There's more to come in Indiana something I'm I'm really looking forward to the last thing and I've asked. This of other people were going through the quarantine. The way we all are, but when this all over when we were back to normal. What is the first thing you are most excited about seeing doing? Maybe what's what's number one on your list? Oh. Maybe doing to like a movie, theater or something like that. like I said Texas is kind of started to open up. So I've actually been like a couple of restaurants. No sitting out on the patio again. That was my number. One thing that I wanted to do so maybe going to the. Movie would be nice. That would be very well. Talks pleasure to chat with you always great to get the opportunity and short, you'll look forward to the other side where you had to play and we talked about the team. Thank you so much for your time. Yeah, thank you.