Q&A with Australia's Elizabeth Cambage
|19-year-old Liz Cambage was named WNBL MVP and is expected to go early in the 2011 WNBA Draft|
Itís Cam-beige, not Cam-bidge. Beige, like the color. And you best be getting it right because you will no doubt hear the name ďElizabeth CambageĒ Monday afternoon when itís announced during the WNBA Draft at ESPN.
The 6-foot-8 CamÖbeige enters the 2011 Draft as the tallest and youngest player at just 19 years old. She has also logged the most frequent flyer miles to attend the draft, having left her native Australia early Tuesday (which was still Monday here, by the way) to attend the festivities in Bristol. SkyMall points may very well help furnish her new place, wherever it may be.
While visiting the league offices in New York City, Cambage fought through the jet lag and took a few minutes out of her day to chat with WNBA.com about the upcoming Draft, her MVP season in the WNBL and addressed a few rumors regarding her alleged disinterest in playing for Tulsa.
WNBA.com: I know youíve been to the States before, but is this your first time in New York?
Elizabeth Cambage: Yes, itís my first time here. Iíve spent a couple of weeks in Connecticut here and there with the Opals before so Iím loving it.
WNBA.com: Are you taking in any of the typical tourist stuff?
EC: Iím jet lagged at the moment. Iíve been in bed all day. But Thursday weíre going on a five-hour tour, weíll get out and weíll see everything.
WNBA.com: Despite all that jet lag, is there still a little bit of excitement mixed in there as well?
EC: Yeah. Iíve been saying it for a while, for like the past two weeks, Iíve just been so excited with everything thatís going on. We just won the championship in Australia and then I was strictly focusing on the WNBA so Iím very excited and a little bit nervous as well.
WNBA.com: And you were just named the WNBL MVP as well.
EC: Yeah, Monday night, which is really awesome and great to see that the coaches are great to you and see how much youíve improved and think of you as an MVP.
WNBA.com: In looking forward to the Draft, youíre coming in as the youngest and tallest player. On one hand you have an obvious height advantage, but on the other you will be going up against players who have had two extra years of playing time. Do you think thatís going to be the challenge here?
EC: I donít think so. I mean, I played at the World Championships and I played with Lauren Jackson and against her in the WNBL, so Iíve played against older women all my life in Australia and with them on my team. Iíve learned so much from them and Iím ready.
WNBA.com: Lauren Jackson is the player that a lot of people are going to be drawing comparisons to, not only because youíre from the same country but she was also drafted at 19 years old. Do you feel the comparison is justified?
EC: Not really. Lauren and I are completely different people. I love it when people try to compare us because weíre so different. Weíre different off the court and on the court, but when people say Iím the next Lauren Jackson I donít really mind because look what sheís done. Sheís the three-time MVP, won a few championships and sheís awesome and I love her, but weíre really different.
WNBA.com: How would you say youíre different on the court?
EC: Sheís a bit more versatile than me. Sheís got more of an outside game I think and Iím a bit more physical down inside the post.
WNBA.com: In the past World Championship, you and LJ were pretty much neck and neck in terms of scoring Ė you had 13.6 points per game and she had 13.4 Ė but it was the rebounding area that was different. Is that because you were playing outside the box a bit more or does Jackson just dominate the paint?
EC: Lauren just flies out of nowhere, itís amazing, and just grabs the rebound. Sheís so athletic but thatís also something weíve been working on, my rebounding. Getting in the paint a bit more.
WNBA.com: A lot of times players say that rebounding is the sort of thing that improves with repetition and time. Would you agree with that?
EC: Yeah, if you keep working on it it just starts happening in games and you really donít have to think about it much. I find myself, I mean, usually my play is on the outside. Iím a pretty good defender playing against smaller players, so my play is normally on the outside.
WNBA.com: Youíre coming into a league where you will automatically be the tallest player. In terms of defense, what kind of players are you most or least looking forward to defending?
EC: Iím looking forward to playing against everyone. I canít wait. I love switching onto a point guard or pushing the big up the court, but playing against Candace Parker would be awesome. Itíd be a bit scary because she is just amazing.
WNBA.com: Yeah you didnít have the chance this past WC because she was injured and unable to play for USA Basketball, but you did play against a number of WNBA players and even fellow draftee Maya Moore. What did you take from that in terms of going up against her and is it any surprise that the two of you are slated as top picks in the Draft?
EC: I think it was a great opportunity because weíre both pretty young and we both played well, but Iím not surprised at all really. Sheís such a confident player. She can shoot those big shots.
WNBA.com: Thereís a rumor out there that suggests youíve publicly stated that you donít want to play in Tulsa. Is there any truth in that?
EC: That article was taken so out of context it was ridiculous. I donít even mind where I go, Iím just happy Iím here. I think the reporter who was writing it was just a bit shady and I was saying Iíd love to go number one and it would be nice but Maya Moore will probably go number one and Iíll go number two.
WNBA.com: Was it one of those things where you said something like, ďI would love to go to Minnesota,Ē meaning, first overall, but the assumption was that you didnít want to go to Tulsa?
EC: Yeah. Yeah exactly. I really donít care where I go. Iím just happy that Iím here.
WNBA.com: In terms of just looking forward to playing in the WNBA and living out the dreams of girls and women around the country, are you ready to embrace status of a role model?
EC: Yeah. I know in Australia I have a lot of girls that look up to me and they send me messages on my Facebook and stuff, which is always lovely, and I think of myself as a really good role model. I rarely drink, I work hard and I think I have a good personality so yeah, I am.