Storm Q&A: Shyra Ely
Forward Shyra Ely is the newest member of the Storm, beating out Barbara Turner for the final spot on the teamís roster after joining the Storm early in training camp. Ely, a native of Indianapolis, played at Tennessee with Storm teammates Tyeísha Fluker and Ashley Robinson. At last weekís Tip-Off Breakfast, Fluker chose Ely as the best-dressed player on the Storm.
Storm.wnba.com caught up with Ely to find out about her retail and consumer science major at Tennessee, the meaning of her name and more.
Ely: I think we played her maybe once in high school, but we played each other a lot in AAU. She played for Indyís Finest and I played for The Family. We were state rivals, so we played each other a lot that way, but not in actual high school, because she was a class below me.
What went into the decision to attend Tennessee?
It was a tough decision between Purdue and Tennessee. Purdue recruited me since I was in eighth grade and I was very close to them. My brother went to Purdue, I had good friends that went to Purdue, my boyfriend at the time was at Purdue, so all the arrows pointed to Purdue, but I felt like I would get better and better at Tennessee, I would be pushed to the limit at Tennessee. I think Iíd do it all over again, choose Tennessee.
How has having Fluker and Robinson in Seattle helped you?
It was really an easy transition because they were here and Iím close with Wendy Palmer as well. They really made it easy for me, encouraged me and welcomed me. It was a really easy process getting in. They made me feel welcome, and that was really good for me, because besides for the business side of it, I was having a really good time (during camp).
There are more Tennessee alumnae in the WNBA than products of any other school. What are those relationships like around the league?
Weíre all very close. I think thatís one thing that I can honestly say about Tennessee alums. We all stick together. When someone comes in town, we always get together. We enjoy each other, weíre happy for each other. Thatís a reason a lot of people go to Tennessee - to get to the next level, so itís important that we stay together and support one another.
Okay, now the hard question: Of the Tennessee trio on the Storm, are you in fact the best dressed?
Um Ö I think that everyone has their own individual style. I studied it in school, and so did Tye. Thatís something I definitely want to get into after basketball. Everyone has their own different style, so it depends on who youíd ask, but Iíd like to think so.
What exactly did your major at Tennessee entail?
They didnít have a fashion design program, which is really what Iím interested in. They had fashion merchandising, which is buying and things like that. Iím not really that interested in buying, but that was the only thing that kept me close to fashion, so I went into it. I have a business minor, so I plan on doing more with my business minor than actually with the fashion degree.
What has the transition from post to perimeter been like for you?
Fortunately, I played the three my senior year in college, so I was able to get some exposure at the three. Then I kind of became a tweener - more like a utility player. Wherever they needed me, I played. Thatís a big part of my game. I think it shows my versatility, being able to play the three and four. When I went to Israel, I played a lot of post this past off-season, so that was good. Then when I came home, I worked tons, tons, tons on my perimeter game, so I think that balanced me out. I feel good on both sides, post and perimeter play.
Iím getting more comfortable playing the perimeter here. It will take time as I get used to Coach Donovanís system. I think thatís the only thing thatís holding me back, just getting used to her system, which is expected because Iím new.
Did you resist the move at all because of your success in the post, or did you know your WNBA future was on the perimeter?
I did know that I wouldnít always play the post, so I knew that was a part of my game I needed to improve on. I really did welcome it, even though I didnít have as great of a year my senior year as I did my years before. I felt like, in the long run, it helped me.
Shy appears to run in your family. What is the story behind that?
Itís actually Creole. My fatherís name is Shy-Quon and his name means strong warrior. My older brotherís name is also Shy-Quon - heís a namesake. My name is Shyra Quontae, and it means sweetness and princess. My little brotherís name is Shyron-Quonel and his name is silent warrior. I donít know, itís something my dad just wanted to continue. Itís a Creole background. Most people think itís just made up, but it really does have meaning.
Did you each have nicknames growing up?
You would think that, but no. We all go by Shy. In the house, my older brother, we call him Quonnie. They just call me ďShy Shy.Ē My little brother, we call him ďBoyĒ because he was crazy as a little boy. We said he was just some boy we found on the street, so we called him Boy.