Jeannette Pohlen Q&A
Jeanette Pohlen: From Stanford to Indy to Tarsus
January 11, 2012
No longer a rookie, Fever guard Jeanette Pohlen is experiencing her first winter season overseas in Tarsus, Turkey. Fortunately for Jeanette, she is joined in Turkey by Fever teammate Tangela Smith. Fever teammates Shavonte Zellous and Shannon Bobbitt also are nearby.
One year ago, Pohlen was leading top-ranked Stanford to the NCAA Women’s Final Four on what would become her future home court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Her whirlwind senior/rookie season included All-America status, a first-round draft selection, a WNBA 3-point shooting title, a trip to the WNBA Playoffs and, not just one but two new cities to call home.
Averaging over 10 points per game in Turkey, her first year as a professional featured a WNBA rookie campaign in which she averaged 3.9 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.0 assists while playing in every Fever contest. She was a regular off the Fever bench which was credited with being a primary factor in Indiana’s success. She led the league with 46.8 percent accuracy beyond the 3-point stripe and she netted a high of 17 points (5 of 5 3FG) in a June 19 loss at Phoenix.
Pohlen answered questions for FeverBasketball.com via email from Turkey.
FeverBasketball.com: First things first. You’re in Turkey now … what’s your favorite type of food over there these days?
Jeanette Pohlen: “I think one of the things I like to eat the most would have to be tantunis. For those of you who don’t know, they are tortillas that have meat, tomatoes, grilled onions, some sort of greens, and delicious flavor. We have a great place we always go to.”
FB: Let’s talk about Fever and your rookie season. When you got drafted, what were your thoughts about going right back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse where you had just played in the NCAA Final Four?
JP: “Well, first I was really excited to be drafted to the Fever. Even though I had just lost my last college basketball game there, it’s kind of cool that I was able to start another chapter in my career there as well. I’ve also said this before, The Fieldhouse looked so different to me without all of the Final Four banners and decorations that it did feel like a different arena than what I had played in previously.”
FB: After playing your first season in Indy, how would you compare The Fieldhouse with other arenas around the country?
JP: “There is no place like playing at The Fieldhouse. You can really feel the energy of the crowd every game, and of course our fans are so loud which makes it even better. I love the old school design and that it isn’t too large.”
FB: Speaking of your first season … you led the WNBA in 3-point shooting percentage. Did that surprise you?
JP: “It did surprise me a little bit. I knew I had been shooting a pretty decent percentage from 3 but not good enough to lead the WNBA. There are so many great shooters in the league so to be among them as far as 3-point shooting this past season was pretty cool.”
FB: How would you analyze your own game during your first WNBA season. What did you do well?
JP: “Well, like you just mentioned, I think I shot pretty well from the 3-point line and I really tried to just go out there and play my role. I knew who needed to get the ball and when, so I tried to do the little things to help the team succeed.”
FB: Now critique your game. In what areas do you need to improve?
JP: “In my eyes, there is always room to improve in pretty much any part of my game, whether it be shooting, ball handling, pick and roll situations, etc. I think some things I want to focus on more than others right now are my mid-range game and being more aggressive with the ball. More towards the end of the season I put the ball on the floor to take it to the basket, but I just want to be more aggressive. I know I am not just a 3-point shooter, so I need to work on all of the other aspects of my game.”
FB: Talk about life as a pro. How was your summer different from past basketball seasons?
JP: “For me, summer has always been about improving my skills individually and really focusing on what will help me succeed in the next season, so last summer was very different than previous ones. I went straight into another season of basketball, but I can definitely say that I think I improved. Playing behind two of the top guards in the league was a great experience because I was able to see what it takes to get there.”
FB: What has been the most challenging part about playing and living overseas?
JP: “One of the most challenging parts about being overseas in my opinion is just being away from your family and friends for that long. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of things, but the opportunity I have been given to play over here has been a blessing. I would say another challenging part would be the language barrier. I’m really trying to learn some Turkish to at least try to communicate with some of the people. We’ll see how that goes.” :)
FB: Your mom is coming to visit this weekend … what is one thing you are hoping she can bring for you?
JP: “Well she’s baking cookies so I’m pretty excited about that! (oatmeal chocolate chip, no raisins) Other than that just a few snack things here and there. Not too much because I just brought back a bunch of stuff from when I was home for Christmas. It will be nice to just have her here. And my best friend is coming as well which will be a lot of fun and laughing.”
FB: Having Tangela Smith and other American players on your team has helped your transition to Turkey. What has been the best part about playing overseas?
JP: “Having Tangela here has been amazing. She’s someone who knows overseas very well, especially Turkey, and has the experience to help me adjust to everything. The best part about playing in Turkey has been getting the experience playing in one of the top leagues in Europe and at the same time learning about a new culture.”
FB: How much do you keep in touch with your Fever teammates and coaches?
JP: “I mainly keep in touch through Twitter and by computer because I don’t have texting right now. Ha! Twitter is great though because you can follow what everyone is doing and keep in touch. I definitely miss everyone though!”
FB: How much have you had a chance to follow Stanford this season? Perhaps another trip to the Final Four?
JP: “I try to follow them whenever I get the chance. It’s kind of hard with the time change, but I still talk to a lot of the girls and even saw a few of them over Christmas break so I’m definitely keeping my eye on them. I hope they win it all! I don’t want to jinx them, but I think if they play the way they are capable of, another trip to the Final Four is definitely in their future. :) GO CARD!”