WNBA free agent camp set to take place on Final Four weekend in New Orleans

Merit Management Group still has spots open for their April 7 WNBA Free Agent camp in New Orleans. This will be the 16th year for the event, which allows prospective league players to try out in front of WNBA coaches.

The camp has attracted coaches for years, and has facilitated many players getting contracts, such as Kelley Gibson, Kisha Ford and Jennifer Lacy. It is sometimes the only U.S. venue where athletes can be seen, after playing the winter overseas.

“Our camp is truly a win-win situation for everyone,” Merit Management President Stephanie Stanley said. “Athletes get a chance to showcase their skills, and coaches are able to see dozens of players in one shot.”

The camp begins with introductions, which includes speeches from former WNBA players who were previous camp participants. They let the athletes know what did and didn’t work for them, which helps put them at ease. These former league players stay for the whole day and help run the camp.

Athletes are then put through stretching, drills, and position work before WNBA coaches arrive. Stanley said this is due to feedback from coaches that they’d prefer just to watch the game portion of camp.

Teams are then formed, and players are put through practices to ensure that they understand the set plays that have been implemented. The remainder of the day consists of 20-minute games, run on two separate courts simultaneously. This guarantees each and every player maximum exposure. All games are all videotaped.

The camp concludes with a question-and-answer session, which allows players to make any inquiries they have regarding next steps.

The camp is always during Final Four weekend, in the host city, as it was last year. Merit Management started it the year after the WNBA was formed.

In recent years, however, a few copycat camps have sprung up, causing confusion. Various claims of being a WNBA combine have surfaced, but the league’s last combine was six years ago. Merit’s free agent camp is the longest-running and the best-established, with the best track record of helping players get into the league, from the WNBA’s early days.

Prospective attendees can apply through the Merit website.