April 26, 2021 

Charli Collier made her presence felt during the Wings’ first practice

Dallas begins to learn a new system with fresh faces

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Charli Collier (Screenshot via Dallas Wings)

On the first day of training camp No. 1 draft pick Charli Collier made her presence known during the Dallas Wings’ three-hour practice. Head coach Vickie Johnson told reporters that she was not surprised with how Collier performed in her first practice and was very happy with what she saw from the 6’5 center.

“She was very active and she was very outspoken; she was a leader on the court,” Johnson said. 

For rookies, training camp is comparable to the first day of school. There are new introductions, standards are set for the year and then the learning process begins. Collier said there is more accountability in the WNBA because there is not anyone making you get up and do anything. The center said she talked to as many people as possible to prepare for training camp; one of which was former Texas guard and WNBA champion Ariel Atkins.

“That is all that I am doing right now, is trying to soak it all in and get as much information as I can from these veterans,” Collier said. 

First-year players have just under three weeks to be competitive and do what they can to earn a roster spot for the upcoming season. 2017 rookie of the year Allisha Gray said she offered some advice to the rookies as they make their way through camp. 

“The biggest thing is to just continue to play your game and be comfortable,” the four-year veteran said. “There is a reason the Dallas Wings chose you; just play your game, don’t think too much and have fun.”

Collier is making the transition from being a leader and the most experienced player on the team at Texas to learning a new system in Dallas and settling into her role. The center said it was her experience at Texas that helped her be comfortable and more vocal in her first practice. 

“As a rookie you just want to go in and do your best, you want to be vocal, you want to be a great teammate because you do not know your role yet;” Collier said. “That is what I try to do, not trying to do too much, just trying to be a great teammate; be a great rookie for everybody.”

With Collier the Wings get the assistance they need down low that can make a difference on the boards. She finished her final season at Texas averaging 19 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

The Texas native told reporters that it feels great to be back on the court and that there was good, positive energy that she fed off of during the Wing’s first practice.  

“It’s  just great vibes here, we are really building something special and I am excited to be here,” she said. 

It was the first day and the rookie has already begun to make her mark from Austin to Dallas. The learning process continues as the Wings prepare for their first preseason game against the Connecticut Sun May 8. 

Written by Arie Graham

Arie Graham joined 'The Next' in May 2021 as the beat writer for the Dallas Wings.

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