While the recently re-upped Sydney Wiese plays on an LA Sparks team with Kristi Toliver, Chelsea Gray, Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker, the guard still has big ambitions.
During a press conference to celebrate her freshly inked contract, Wiese said, “My aspirations as an individual are to eventually become an All-Star, and then I want to win a championship. I mean, that’s basically it.”
The Sparks won their third championship in franchise history during 2016, and Wiese joined the following season. Since then, there have been some seasons with potential, and others that proved quite frustrating. But on paper, the 2020 roster looks like one of LA’s finest in recent history.
In addition to the players listed above, the roster includes Seimone Augustus, Maria Vadeeva, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Riquana Williams and Marie Gulich.
It will not be easy to break into that rotation, but as a self-described veteran and now in her second season in coach Derek Fisher’s system, Wiese feels more confident, as she told TBW:
“I remember before entering the league, my goals were to be on varsity all four years in high school, to get a Division I scholarship, and then to become a professional basketball player. And then once I made it to that level, I was like, now what?
Now what do I get to do with this? It took me some time to figure it out and to find my footing within the world to begin with. But now I feel like there’s so much that I want to get better at.”
After limited opportunities and few games in her first two seasons, Fisher empowered the guard last season. Wiese said that was a result of the coach telling everybody on the squad to stay ready. To her credit, she could have otherwise fallen out of the league after her second season.
As a rookie, Wiese was given sparse minutes but played most of the season and did well for a first-year player under Brian Agler. The second year, she was given few opportunities. But when Fisher came in, it breathed new life into her game.
Wiese showed an ability to be one of the better wing defenders—something that will prove vital now that Alana Beard has retired—and averaged 4.8 points over 20 minutes per game, even starting 16 of the 32 she played.
Fisher added during the introductory press conference: “Sydney Wiese is an invaluable part of our organization. She can play multiple backcourt positions, provides outside shooting, and is a model teammate and professional.”
This professionalism is what has helped Wiese ride through tough stretches in her career so far.
She has also shown an ability to expand her game during her overseas seasons. Alongside young, talented Spaniard Laura Pena and former Washington Mystics draft pick Tinara Moore, Wiese has been a leader of Spanish club Cadi La Seu.
In a shortened EuroCup this year, Wiese scored 11.6 ppg and a well-rounded 3.9 rpg and 3.1 apg. The season ended early, as most leagues did around the world, and Wiese caught Coronavirus before leaving Spain.
She helped raise the profile of the virus and has since fully recovered.
Not done fighting. If you’ve beat #COVID19, join me in donating plasma. The antibodies in your blood could save lives ???? #VitalToLife #SmilingUnderTheMask #SafetyFirst #InThisTogether pic.twitter.com/aPtj1DJ7At
— Sydney Wiese (@swiesebaby24) May 22, 2020
This growth in her game and her leadership for other players will go a long way in earning respect around the WNBA, which could help her going forward.
Wiese told TBW, “I love what comes with the game, the relationships that I get to continue to build. And, as I get older within the league, I get to mentor the rookies that come in and the kids that are coming after me, which I think is such a privilege to be a part of the league right now. It’s so cool. The league is on an upward swing and the culture is healthy.
“To see the growth and the determination and the leadership and having Nneka firsthand as the president of the Players’ Association, to listen to her and to see those union meetings: It’s been so cool to learn the in’s and out’s of the league.
“I feel very fortunate to be a part of that, and want to continue to help those who are stepping into this league eventually, and to make it better than we left it.”
All that is to come, and now that her contract is secure for the next two seasons, you can expect Wiese to grow with the franchise.
“Aspirations, basketball-wise, is to competitively be the best that I can,” she says. “When I’m done, being an All-Star would be awesome, but bringing a couple of championships to LA is the ultimate goal.”
Huw is a TBW staff writer who grew up in Wales and currently lives in England where he coaches a local basketball team. He loves all sorts of basketball: men’s, women’s, wheelchair, international, good and bad. He has bylines with the NBA/WNBA’s UK broadcast rights partner Sky Sports, has featured on Sporting News covering FIBA events and is a Lead Writer with UK-based basketball website and podcast Double Clutch. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @coach_huw where he often posts about how Tim Duncan was the best player of his era.