Sky coach and general manager James Wade said having Candace Parker on his roster has provided a boost to his team. | Junior Ruckdeschell/Chicago Sky

Thursday Sky coach and general manager James Wade said no player has stood out in particular through the first week and then laughed and quickly brought up Parker.

The Sky are only five days into training camp, and the team has already felt Candace Parker’s presence and impact in a big way.

Sky coach and general manager James Wade said Thursday no player has stood out in particular through the first week and then laughed and quickly brought up Parker.

“Having Parker here is a big boost for our team,” Wade said. “Her presence has been felt every time she steps on the floor.”

Wade followed that up, acknowledging other players who have looked good, including Stefanie Dolson, Diamond DeShields, Kahleah Copper and Lexie Brown.

It’s not that players haven’t stood out, but rather that training camp is a process, and Wade seems adamant on getting ahead of himself in it by offering up early praise. Everybody still has a lot of information to take in at this stage of the season.

The Sky have been without Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Astou Ndour, Ruthy Hebard and Gabby Williams due to overseas commitments. While rookie Shyla Heal has been waiting on her travel visa and unable to move to Chicago.

Wade said Ndour was on a plane to Chicago while he was fielding questions from the media. Vandersloot and Quigley are back in the United States and arrive in Chicago in the next few days. Wade expects to see those three on the court sometime next week after going through the league’s COVID-19 protocol that includes returning six negative tests.

Hebard returns from Turkey this weekend and will go through the same protocols. Heal is expected to have her travel visa by next week.

The priority for Wade will be building cohesiveness once his entire roster is available with a condensed amount of time.

“The fact that we have players that play overseas and come back late is just the world we live in,” Wade said. “We started off really well last year and didn’t finish very well. I would rather have it the other way around.”

Dolson said the first week of camp has been extremely focused despite not having the entire roster intact. Young players like Natasha Mack have come in and are playing unafraid which raises the intensity level.

Dolson added that Parker’s presence gives the team another layer of leadership. She’s already become the teammate players are turning to with questions.

After a disappointing 2020 season, Dolson looked refreshed and said she’s feeling great. She’s lost 28 pounds with the goal of losing 35 by the start of the season.

Dolson is coming into this season healthy and more confident after a difficult time in the WNBA bubble. She said that’s a feeling the entire team shares.

“We’re excited to have a season where we all stay healthy and compete at our highest level of basketball,” Dolson said.

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