Marie Ferdinand-Harris Q&A

Called “one of the most explosive scorers of all time” by new teammate Diana Taurasi, Mercury free-agent acquisition Marie Ferdinand-Harris will enter her 10th season in the league when she suits up for the WNBA’s upcoming 2011 season. The three-time All-Star has averaged 10.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 1.8 apg over her career, which included stops in Los Angeles and San Antonio (formerly Utah). recently sat down with the veteran guard to get her thoughts on fitting in with her new team, as well as her off-the-court interests, highlighted by her strong family bonds. You have played for two of Phoenix’s conference rivals, San Antonio and Los Angeles. Why the decision to move to Phoenix, your third WNBA team?

Marie Ferdinand-Harris: First, I just want to acknowledge my gratefulness to my personal Lord and Savior to be entering my 10th season in the WNBA. You ask why Phoenix and my answer is simply, "Why not Phoenix?" This is a team I have been a fan of since they began the up-tempo style of play. The timing and the situation was right to join this already-incredible team. The thought that always crossed my mind in the past playing against Phoenix was I better get extra rest the night before and be ready to play transition defense! The Mercury is known for its up-tempo style. Are you excited to play in the system and what parts of your game will fit in well here?

Ferdinand-Harris: Yes, I am extremely excited to play in a system that allows and emphasizes capitalizing on transition offense. Have you talked to Head Coach Corey Gaines, and what has he told you about where you’ll fit in with this team?

Ferdinand-Harris: Coach Gaines and I have spoken, and we both are very excited about the upcoming season. I mentioned to Corey that after playing in this league for nine years, I have had the opportunity to play many different roles, so I am ready to embrace whatever role would best help the team succeed. You have played the last three seasons with one of the best players in the game, Candace Parker. What are your thoughts on now playing with arguably the best player in the world, Diana Taurasi?

Ferdinand-Harris: Playing with Candace was really fun and she is a true pro, but I am so looking forward to being a teammate to one of the best players in the world. I've heard so many great things about Diana and how fun it is to play with such a great, unselfish competitor. You are entering your 10th WNBA season, tied with Penny Taylor for the most experience of anyone on the current Mercury roster. Do you think that gives you an advantage, and do you see yourself providing some veteran leadership to the team?

Ferdinand-Harris: Definitely! When you play nine years in the WNBA, you learn and gain so much experience. But I'm a firm believer that when you have the opportunity to learn and experience so much, it's not just for you but for you to share with others – like some of the younger players and the incoming rookies. You missed the 2006 WNBA season with the birth of your son, Cedrick Jr. Tell us a about CJ.

Ferdinand-Harris: Awww, little CJ! Everyone is already signing their name on the “Want to be CJ’s agent list!” (Laughs) He is truly a blessing. I'm a proud mom. CJ loves all sports, especially baseball like his dad. Your husband, Cedrick, won three national titles as centerfielder for the LSU baseball team. CJ must have some very athletic genes! Has he taken up any sports yet?

Ferdinand-Harris: Yes, my husband had four great years at LSU and actually played with the Diamondbacks organization. CJ will be 5 years old in June, and he is so advanced for his age. I really don't see him having any problems with excelling in any sports. He currently plays tee ball, flag football, and basketball. CJ has a little muscle, and my former teammates used to think I made him do push-ups before he got a snack. Totally untrue! (Laughs) You will be joining fellow LSU alum Temeka Johnson in the Mercury backcourt. Are you excited about the reunion of sorts? Is there somewhat of a bond between you two coming from the same program?

Ferdinand-Harris: I've been a fan of Temeka’s game dating back to the first time we played recreation ball during off-season workouts during our LSU careers. I really believe Temeka is among the top five point guards in the game today. She is such a smart player who, at all times during a game, understands very well time, situation and score. I am really excited about reuniting with Temeka because she simplifies the game in every avenue. Tell us a little bit about Marie the person. What do you like to do in your spare time? Any hobbies or special interests?

Ferdinand-Harris: Marie the person is very silly and loves to laugh. I love watching comedy shows with my husband. During my spare time I like to use my blessings to be a blessing to others and to use my gifts to make children smile. I am a proud example of someone who had a tough upbringing but uses sports as a vehicle to win in life. So I live my days being humble, grateful, and very appreciative of all my blessings. Are you involved with the community at all?

Ferdinand-Harris: Yes, I'm heavily involved with the San Antonio community where I reside. I'm a member of the San Antonio's Mayor Fitness Council and the Active Living Council, which is all about transforming San Antonio into becoming a healthy and more active community. I also recently started the Marie Ferdinand Basketball School of Excellence Academy, which also provides Character Building programs. I am currently working very hard on the final touches on starting the Marie Ferdinand Foundation, whose mission is teaching kids to have a passion for winning in life and not just in basketball. The foundation’s mission is truly my life story.