Home » Liberty kick off training camp at Barclays Center, glad to finally be able to work in new home

Liberty kick off training camp at Barclays Center, glad to finally be able to work in new home

The Liberty are finally home.

One year after having to ring in their new-look team under new leadership and ownership out of state, the Liberty got to officially christen Barclays Center with their first day of training camp on Sunday.

It was a long time coming for the team without a proper home since getting banished from the Garden three years ago. Include last season’s bubble in Florida and it seems like it’s been ages since the Big Apple gave a proper throne to the Queens of its court.

But that’s in the past and the team wants nothing more than to create a better future, starting with a new season with new players and even a new assistant coach, all added within the last two months.

“It’s been really nice,” second-year head coach Walt Hopkins said Monday. “That’s one of the first things we talked about yesterday, when we kicked things off. Getting to have a home, getting to see your colors and your logo. Getting to have a sense of routine in terms of staying in your own place and having your own space… In addition, just to have somewhere where you’re familiar with the court and with the locker room and all that stuff.”

Walt Hopkins was welcomed to his new role in Barclays Center before the pandemic rocked the Empire State.

The Liberty will hold the rest of training camp on the practice courts at Barclays Center as opposed to the HSS Training Facility in Sunset Park, where the Nets hold practice. It’s an upgrade from the gym at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., according to the players. But having a regular training camp in general already makes this season seem brand new to some without getting to settle in in their new digs.

“We now get the full experience of a real training camp so it’s just like my rookie season part two for me that’s what it feels like,” second year Liberty guard Jazmine Jones said. “It’s like eight, nine of us that’s coming in here with no real training camp experience and don’t know what to really expect, so like that, that was exciting.”

And what’s really to know what to expect when a whole new team takes the gym together.

Last season, all 12 teams got a brief training camp period, schedules intertwined because of having to share limited facilities in the isolated area. They had less than two weeks of camp, off some having had down time over several months, others coming right from international play in seasons also altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. That Liberty team had seven rookies and five vets, three of whom hardly considered themselves so old in league years. Camp seemed more like practice on fire for the young group and the Liberty ran the season like an over-glorified Summer League.

“It’s an experience where we’re definitely glad to be back in New York, out of the bubble, playing in Barclays, practicing in Barclays, and just being in Brooklyn,” Jones added, “and then hopefully the season playing in front of our fans and stuff like that, so we can get the full WNBA experience safely.

“I mean, we were blessed with the gym in the bubble… but now just being able to have our own space and things like that and be as loud as we want to on the court is nice and have our privacy and everything.”

Chemistry was built last season in close quarters, but this team has work to do before the regular season, their first at Barclays, tips off on May 14 against the Indiana Fever.

“I think, as a whole from a system and roster perspective, we’ve done a really good job as a group, Jonathan has done a really good job of putting together a group of people who really do fit,” Hopkins said of the new team, “not just the cultural piece which is massive, but also the basketball side, you know, the people who can really defend at a high level and whose defensive skills fit our defensive wants and needs.”

Now we’ll wait to see how those pieces fit together. It’s Seafoam Season.

Source (Ny Daily news)

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