Q & A with Connecticut's Maya Moore
|Maya Moore is the projected No. 1 pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft|
Photo courtesy of UConn
Maya Moore's college career may not have finished the way she'd wanted, but that doesn't take anything away from her two national championships in 2009 and 2010 (among a number of other accolades along the way). The projected No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft took a few minutes to chat with WNBA.com about her success at UConn, the school's historic win streak and her thoughts leading up to Monday's big event.
WNBA.com: Does it hurt to not go out with one final championship after winning two in a row?
Maya Moore: Yeah, it was one of the most painful experiences of my basketball career. Not being able to end the last game of my college career with a win, it really hurts. The last couple of years weíve been able to send our seniors out with a national championship, so I was hoping to go out the same way but thereís a lot of good things to take away from the season. We made a lot of history, broke a lot of records. Iím just glad I was able to be a part of that.
WNBA.com: The old saying suggests that records are made to be broken, but do you anticipate UConnís 90-game win streak to stand for a while?
MM: (Laughs) Itís so tough. The way that not only basketball in general is going, but the womenís game is so competitive and talents are going in a lot of different places and teams and programs are getting better, itís going to be tough to get.
WNBA.com: Obviously you played with Tina Charles for three of your four college years. Now youíre about to enter a league where the two of you will be going up against one another. Are you two looking forward to that or perhaps even trash talking a little bit on the side?
MM: Iím not a big talker on the court but itís always fun to play against the best talent in the world and I think sheís one of the best centers in the world. Sheís a tough matchup. I donít think weíll be guarding each other directly, but itís always fun to play against the best.
MM: A lot of it definitely is our coaching staff, and our program is just going out and finding great people that not only have talent but love the game, work hard and are competitive. I think if you can find competitive people theyíll make any environment that they go to winners. So Iím excited to now be a part of that alumni class. Just to compete against some of the other players that I never got a chance to play with who are UConn grads, itíll be fun. Hopefully Iíll be able to play with some that Iíve never been able to play with at some point.
WNBA.com: A number of mock drafts and experts have you pinned at the No. 1 spot in this upcoming draft and have for quite some time. Has there ever been a point where you doubted it?
MM: I take it in stride. Every year that goes by more and more people are talking and giving opinions and predicting and this and that, but I think some of the things that UConn did was they just did a really good job of just trying to block out extra noise and just really focusing on getting better and having great practices, being with good people and so far itís worked for me. All the other individual awards or honors have been icing on the cake. So itís an honor to hear those things, but I think Iíve had a good couple of people around me and Iíve done a good job of just staying focused on getting better and making sure Iím the person and the basketball player that I need to be.
WNBA.com: So do you believe that you will go No. 1 in the draft?
MM: When that happens at 3:00 [Monday], Iíll be able to tell you more. I know what the plans are and what everybodyís predicting and I think itís a situation thatís not really in my hands any more. Iíve done my work, Iíve shown the world what I can do and Iím excited. Iíll be really able to enjoy the moment when I have it.
WNBA.com: Youíve said that you first picked up a basketball at two and starting playing AAU ball at eight years old. Is this moment in your life the culmination of all the hard work or just the start of something more?
MM: Definitely a milestone in the long line I like to call my career. I never want to say that I had glory days. I like to think that every new year thereís something great that can happen, something great will happen, whether itís a basketball thing or an off-the-court thing. So I donít like to say that this is the highest of the high, but I do know that this has been the highest of the high so far (laughs). Iíve enjoyed it and I hope to continue to get back to work and putting a lot in the tank so that Iíll be able to enjoy something else down the road like I have been this year.
WNBA.com: You played in the Stars at the Sun game last season and the World Championship in September. You went up against a number of WNBA players and perhaps even some incoming WNBA players along the way. How did that help prepare you for what lies ahead?
MM: That was a great experience to see that I got what it takes but thereís still a lot more work to be done. Being able to learn from the greats. Just watching Sue [Bird], Diana [Taurasi], Tamika [Catchings], Swin [Cash], Asjha [Jones], just to go out there and just little by little get that work done against the best talent in the world. Iím really appreciative of that experience and it gives me a lot of excitement to know that if I keep working hard and keep doing what Iím doing Iíll be in the league with them and be a leader for the national team if I keep working hard. If I keep growing and learning and not settling. So I think it did two things: it gave me confidence, and it also made me hungry. Itís a reminder that I have more to do and itíll keep me hungry for workouts coming up, training camps and anything that involves working and getting better.