Youth movement looks to spark Indiana Fever

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After a 9-25 record last year, the Indiana Fever are back and feeling better than ever.

“We talked about the recipe. I think a good veteran mix with the three draft picks that we have…they’re eager to learn, and that’s going to be the fun part for me and my staff,” said Fever head coach Pokey Chatman.

“I think the energy, the buy-in, positive vibes, a lot of communication on and off the court. So far (it’s) been pretty exciting,” said forward Candice Dupree.

The Fever had a ton of success in the draft this offseason, picking up three of the top players in college basketball, two of them coming from Ohio State. Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Mavunga have some familiarity with Bankers Life Fieldhouse, having recently played in the Big Ten Tournament in the building. 

“I would say it’s just excitement. Not in the scoring piece of everything, but knowing I was familiar where I was coming to,” said Mitchell. “It would probably be different if I was going to a place that was in Las Vegas. You know, like, I’ve never been there. I’ve been here three years running when it comes to the Big Ten Tournament, so that’s always a plus.”

“Before the preseason game, Coach Pokey told me the last time we were in this gym, I had 26 (points) and 21 (rebounds) so I’d need to get out there and show the numbers that I had,” Mavunga said. “I mean, it actually brings a little bit of pressure, but at the same time I just try to play my own game, and do everything that I can do every time. I just want to get out there and compete. The team that has already been out there has already set the precedent and it’s a great one. So I’m just trying to get out there and continue what they’re doing and not make the same mistakes as the rotation prior to me, and just kinda learning from the veterans and also growing and learning as well with my other fellow rookies.”

Mavunga, a Brownsburg native, finished that preseason game with 18 points and 8 rebounds. A great way to come back home again to Indiana.


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