Caitlin Clark Likely to Take Starting Spot from Veteran Player Erica Wheeler, Who Is Helping Her 'Transition'
Caitlin Clark Likely to Take Starting Spot from Veteran Player Erica Wheeler, Who Is Helping Her ‘Transition’

With an experienced player who isn’t quite ready to retire hearing the footsteps of a possible superstar, things are bound to go badly. The veteran player could spend a lot of time on the bench.

But Caitlin Clark and Erica Wheeler say they are not limited to those tired parts.

Last year, Wheeler was the Indiana Fever’s starting point guard. As the WNBA draft got closer, she knew that Clark would be the first pick and likely take her job.

Wheeler has been in the league for eight years and is 33 years old. Last season, he scored 9.9 points and 5.0 assists per game. She began all 40 games for the Fever.

Instead of fighting what was going to happen, she made Clark feel welcome. Clark scored 31.6 points and handed out 8.9 passes per game for the Iowa Hawkeyes last season.

Read More: ESPN analyst: “Highly Unlikely” that Iowa and Caitlin Clark will make it to the final four.

“I put it like, you know, when you go to a new school, the first day of school you don’t know anyone,” Wheeler told the New York Post. She is in the last year of her deal.

“Then you meet someone who says hello, and that person becomes your best friend.” My goal was to get ahead of things because I know this change will be hard.

Wheeler said she is happy to be Clark’s guide.

“That’s how I was raised; I don’t hate anyone.” I want everyone around me to do well. He said, “I want to push you to be great even if you’re not winning.”

“So I just thought, ‘If I get ahead of it, I’ll make it easy right away.'” The change is simple and smooth. Being a big sister is something I enjoy, so I love it. I like to help first. I don’t like getting help very much. Being able to help her and be her big sister is nice for me now.

Clark, who is 22 years old, said that they value the help and that Wheeler “always wants the best for people.”

Read More: People are interested in Caitlin Clark’s college GPA.

“People can say that, but she really lives it every day,” Clark said. “You can tell that she’s going to push me, hold me accountable, and find ways to help me learn, but at the same time, she’s going to have my back every single day, and that’s something I’m really grateful for coming into this league; having a vet who really wants the best for you is special.”

Christie Sides, the coach of Indiana, has been changing up the lines during practice and said that being flexible with Wheeler is good for the team.

“All she wants to do is do whatever this team needs and whatever she needs to do for us to win,” Sides told the Indianapolis Star.

“I can ask her for anything,” she said. She will come off the bench if I tell her to. She will do what I ask of her if I tell her to. Her voice and guidance are such important parts of our team that it’s just who she is.

Clark is aware of the stress she’s under. Indiana hasn’t had a good season since 2015, and they only made the playoffs in 2016. In the last four seasons, they’ve only won 30 games.

“No matter what happens, there’s going to be expectations and pressure on my shoulders and pressure on this team to be really good,” Clark told ESPN.

“That’s what you want. We don’t want anything else. People should come to our games and expect us to win a lot of basketball games this year. I, for one, expect to play really well. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever experienced.

Indiana’s first game of the season will be on May 14 at the Connecticut Sun.

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