Ticha Penicheiro: No Longer in Sacto
With free agency about to begin, Penicheiro checks in.
Free agency begins tomorrow in the WNBA and one of the players many fans will have their eyes on is Ticha Penicheiro. After 12 seasons in Sacramento, the Monarchs stunned the WNBA world and folded without much (or any) notice. Everyone was surprised, but nobody more than their star—and championship winning—point guard.
With only hours until teams can begin chatting with free agents, Penicheiro took time swing by Year Round Hoops to chat for a few minutes.
SLAM: First off all, how are you doing health-wise?
Ticha Penicheiro: Just saw the doctor and he said that my thumb is very stable and strong. Now I have about 3-4 weeks of rehab and I should be 100 percent by mid-February.
SLAM: What does rehab consist of for a thumb?
TP: A lot of putty exercises…then I do some parafin, ultra sound…and texting.
SLAM: You’ve been around for quite awhile. Have you begun to think about how much longer you’d like to play?
TP: Some days I do, but I try not to think about it too much honestly. I feel like my body will let me know when that day is arriving. I’m 35, but I feel pretty good, so as long as I’m healthy and motivated, I’ll continue to play this game that I love. There’s no better job in the world.
SLAM: So, I’m sure that you’re probably sick of these questions…but how did you hear about what happened with the Monarchs?
TP: I was actually working out in the practice facility. When I finished I got to my locker, looked at my phone and had some missed calls from people in the organization. I thought, “weird,” so I called back and heard the news. I was in shock! I never saw it coming! There were no rumors…NOTHING, so it totally just caught all of us off-guard!
SLAM: Is it even possible to summarize your time in Sacramento?
TP: I had an amazing experience. Twelve years! This is the team that drafted me back in 1998 and I instantly felt connected to the organization, the city, the fans. I was planning on retiring here. I call Sacramento my home and it’s very hard to envision myself playing for another franchise.
SLAM: I’m sure it was difficult to watch your Monarchs teammates go to different teams throughout the league in the dispersal draft…
TP: It was VERY hard to see everybody go to different teams, knowing that the same group will never be able to play together again. Those girls are “my sisters” and we are constantly in touch and the friendships that we formed are for life and the memories that we have are for life. I wish them the best with their new teams and I look forward to seeing them this summer. I hope I don’t pass them the ball.
SLAM: So, you’re a free agent. That must be odd…and tough.
TP: Well, it has been tough because free agency opens tomorrow. Teams can only contact me (or my agent) starting tomorrow. I have been anxious just to find out where I’ll land. I have marked Jan.15th on my calendar a long time ago…and it’s almost here!
SLAM: What are you looking for in your new team? A championship caliber squad or maybe a team that’s not great on paper, but needs a point guard?
TP: All of the above! A team that needs an experienced point guard, a team that has chances of wining a title…and a place where I’ll fit, on and off the court. I just want to be comfortable and happy, be where I’m wanted and then work my way to fit the system.
SLAM: How much is money a factor in where you’ll go?
TP: Money is not a big factor. At the end of my career, I just want to find a place that will fit my game and personality. A place I can call home, teammates that I can call sisters, fans that appreciate my game and a city that will embrace me. I have made pretty good money playing this game I love. Now, it’s all about being comfortable and happy.
SLAM: At this point in your career, do you still set personal goals for yourself as far as PPG or APG? That sort of thing.
TP: Individual stats take a back seat for team goals. That’s the most important thing to me that my team achieves the maximum potential! But I know I have to stay motivated and hungry. I always want to do my best and make those around me better players.
SLAM: Where do you think you stand in the WNBA’s history?
TP: Oh wow!! I always like to leave those answers to the experts. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about myself and my accomplishments, but I’ll try to answer. I would like to think that I am one of those old school point guards. I always try to make my teammates better, think passing before shooting, a good professional and, most important, I have given everything to the game of basketball.
SLAM: When your career is over, how do you hope WNBA fans remember you?
TP: Somebody that enjoyed playing the game and that played with passion. That was a good teammate, a good sport, fun to watch and a good professional. I think somebody that people will miss watching.
SLAM: What would you say to Sacramento fans?
TP: I would say THANK YOU so much for all of their support. They are/were amazing fans. They embraced us through the ups and the downs. I will also apologize for ending like this. I feel like there was no closure. We all played our last game at ARCO September 13, 2009 against the Minnesota Lynx not knowing that it was the last time we were all there. That bothers me…and I’m sure it bothers them!! There were not proper good byes…nothing! But their love for the team was unconditional and I know they will continue to support the WNBA and all of us.
SLAM: What would you say to the entire WNBA world…since everyone is curious to find out where you’re gonna land?
TP: Wait for this weekend. I should have an answer soon! Believe me, nobody wants to know more than me. I have been anxious about it and I’m just waiting for tomorrow, so I know what teams are interested. Then I can take some time to think about it and make a decision. I try not to think about it…I think it hasn’t hit me yet…the fact that I won’t be in Sacramento this summer.