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Sky’s Sylvia Fowles a reunited center with Pokey Chatman at helm

Sky center SylviFowles will be playing for Pokey Chatman her college coach LSU.  |  Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Sky center Sylvia Fowles will be playing for Pokey Chatman, her college coach at LSU. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 19, 2011 12:34AM



Sky center Sylvia Fowles cracked a wry smile when asked if there’s a certain comfort level playing for Pokey Chatman, who also was her coach at LSU and for Spartak Moscow in Russia.

‘‘I wouldn’t say there’s too much of a comfort level there because you have to pick your poison with Pokey,” Fowles joked Tuesday at the Sky’s media day at the Sachs Center in Deerfield. ‘‘The discipline level is definitely different than it had been in previous years.’’

So the two are reunited as the Sky finds itself three weeks from the season opener June 4 at Indiana and under some pressure to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Chatman is the Sky’s fourth coach/general manager since 2006, the franchise’s first season. She replaced Stephen Key, who resigned in October after the Sky finished 14-20 and in last place in the Eastern Conference.

Fowles said she didn’t push for Chatman to get the job.

‘‘I don’t think I played a role in it, but I did have some say as to what was going on, and I asked a few questions about her,’’ Fowles said. ‘‘The comfort level is definitely there, and I know what she wants and how she wants to get it done. All you have to do is abide by those rules, and you won’t get kicked out [of practice].’’

One of Chatman’s first statements was to draft Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot with the third overall pick in the WNBA draft last month.

Vandersloot, the first true point guard in Sky history, finished her college career with 2,073 points and 1,118 assists — the first Division  I player, male or female, to have more than 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.

‘‘I’ve only been here for about a week, and I already feel like I’ve learned a lot,’’ Vandersloot said. ‘‘Pokey wants to play a little bit of a faster pace, and that goes right into what I’m used to and my style of play.

‘‘The level of competition is a lot greater, but this is a great place for me to be, and the veterans are willing to help.’’

For at least the last three seasons, the 6-6 Fowles has been the Sky’s centerpiece. The addition of another high draft pick in Vandersloot could change that status down the road, but not if Chatman has anything to say about it.

‘‘[Don’t be] so quick to anoint her the chosen one,’’ Chatman said. ‘‘She’s thirsty and wants to learn, and I think she will grow into that role. The point guard commands that respect. But she needs her time to transition to this level with the physicality and speed.’’



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