One of my first impressions of Tennessee Lady Vols freshman Cierra Burdick is that she will fill a notebook or a tape recorder as easily as she will a stat sheet.
The 6-foot-2 forward is outgoing, funny and thoughtful. I didn’t have to search for subject matter when doing an introductory Q & A with her a few weeks ago. She supplied the bulk of the material, everything from heart surgery to an impromptu ride in the back of a police car.
She’s a strong candidate for my all-interview team and it’s good that she’s getting an early start. She’s got some talking to do to break into the following group:
Abby Conklin: Somebody who says “I could’ve had an elephant baby by now. I’ve been so overdue. ” after breaking out of a long shooting slump in 1997 is a hall of famer. Furthermore, the former forward was accomodating enough to defy the NCAA. After the 1996 national championship game, she told an official, who was herding the media out of the locker room, that I could stay because I was the beat writer. Then she gave me two great quotes.
Nikki Caldwell: Any line of questioning , whether its post-game or post-practice, usually is conceived in haste and prone to being leading in nature. Caldwell, a former guard, told you what she thought, not what she thought you wanted to hear. Her candor was as useful as it was refreshing.
Michelle Marciniak: Even though she got in hot water at least once that I can remember, the former point guard would speak her mind. She’s been as helpful as a former player as she was when she played at UT, which has solidified her spot.
Alexis Hornbuckle: Recording devices were created with her in mind. After being taunted by Duke fans for her shoplifting arrest in high school, she expounded at length about her thoughts and feelings. Sounded like therapy.
Kara Lawson: Another point guard makes the lineup. Lawson wasn’t colorful but, of course, she was thoughtful and oh so consistent.
Since you can only play five at a time, I’m only bringing five to my interview room. That said, Semeka Randall and Nicky Anosike deserve to be stationed in the doorway. Probably didn’t talk to Anosike enough but when times were tough, she was a go-to quote.