Making Big Brother Proud
By Brian Martin, WNBA.com

Rashad McCants won a national championship at the University of North Carolina in 2005.
Craig Jones/Getty Images
Rashanda McCants played in two Final Fours during her career at the University of North Carolina.
Kevin C. Cox /Getty Images

Before he heads to ARCO Arena for a game against the Houston Rockets on Thursday, Sacramento Kings guard Rashad McCants will be tuned in to the WNBA Draft on ESPN2 as he waits to hear his sister's name, Rashanda, called by WNBA President Donna Orender.

It was nearly four years ago that Rashad was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 14 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He knows first-hand the nervousness and excitement that his sister is feeling as the WNBA Draft approaches.

With his sister on the verge of becoming the familyís second professional basketball player, Rashad reflects with pride on his relationship with Rashanda and how they worked together to build her into the player that she is today.

WNBA.com: Describe the relationship that you and your sister had growing up. How close were the two of you and how much did basketball play a role in your relationship?

Rashad McCants: My sister and I were close, but it wasnít like we were stuck to each other. She was the competitive type to want to play ball with me and my friends all the time. Or want to play football and baseball with us. There werenít too many girls around where we lived that she was friends with, so if she wasnít following me she was bossing my little sister around. But once she was old enough to play with me Ė around 10 or 11 Ė her skills started to develop and I could choose her on my team to play against my friends. She gave me a reason to pick on my friends about a girl beating them. Basketball helped us become closer because I was able to teach her how to play and she wanted to learn.

Did you play against each other while you were growing up?

Rashad McCants: We would play one-on-one, but I was always hard on her. I would beat her bad and tell her the things she was bad at while beating her. This would help point out what she needed to work on to beat me. I would make her go left every time because I knew she didnít want to go left. Then I told her to practice dribbling left everyday until it became natural to her. When she got to high school she was a lot better at a lot of things. She was a great defensive player, so to help her with her offense I would beat her off the dribble every time until she learned to move her feet and stop reaching for steals; she had a bad habit of that. By the time she got to college, she was big enough and strong enough to play me straight up. But I was good enough to show her that I was still big brother and she was still little sister. (laughing out loud)

When was the last time the two of you played against each other?

Rashad McCants: The last time we played each other was last year and I won five games to zero! She came close one game - she lost by one.

How much of an influence do you think you have been on her?

Rashad McCants: I think I was a huge influence on her because when we were little she looked up to me as a role model even at a young age. Our childhood was not peaches and cream, it was really rough. And I had to be a positive influence to my sisters to keep them positive. My work ethic showed her that if you work hard you can do anything. When it was raining and snowing, I was at the court shooting. If we didnít have a court or goal, I was dribbling. She would see me doing it and then tried to mirror me. She used to watch me play against older guys at the age of 13 and I would be the best player on the court and it was because of the practice and time I put in. She took the same approach. She is a gym rat and she is a perfectionist. Just like her brother...

How proud are you of your little sister and the success that she has achieved thus far?

Rashad McCants: I always wanted her to get her own success. I didnít want her to be known as Rashad's sister. And once she was in high school winning all those state titles, I knew she was going to be very successful. Iím very proud of her. It brings tears to my eyes to see that our hard work has paid off and nothing could stop us.

How would you describe Rashandaís game? What does she need to work on to excel at the next level?

Rashad McCants: I would describe her game as like mine in a woman's body. She can shoot, drive and pass. She plays very good defense. She knows how to win and has proven to be a great team player and go-to player in the clutch.

What do you remember about your NBA Draft experience in 2005? What advice have you given to Rashanda about going through the Draft and as she is about to become a pro athlete?

Rashad McCants: My draft was all about just making it to a team. It wasn't where you were drafted; it was what you did when you got to your team. Success is all about situation and timing. The right situation can give you all the success in the world. The wrong situation can set you back from your expected goals. My advice to her is don't sweat it, relax and be excited for the opportunity.

You and Rashanda are about to become one of just a few brother-sister NBA-WNBA combos, joining duos like Anthony/Candace Parker and Rudy/Marta Fernandez. If we set up a two-on-two tournament, which siblings would win, and why?

Rashad McCants: Two-on-two ... I know we would win because none of those guys can guard me. Ha ha, just joking. My sister loves playing against Ms. Parker ever since high school. It would be a great match up, but I know we are too competitive to lose. Ha ha. I would love to see something like that happen though.

Congrats to UNC on winning the NCAA Championship again this year, as they last did in '05 when you a Tar Heel. What makes UNC so successful in basketball - on both the men's' and women's side? How remarkable was it to play for one of the best programs in your own home state?

Rashad McCants: The program gets kids who want to win and will do whatever it takes to play a role in winning on that team. Roy [Williams] has a system that puts his players in a position to play together and win together; the same with the women's team. Itís all Carolina pride. To play for the home team is something that will stay with you forever because whenever you come back home everyone remember your face and what you did for the state. Itís an honor to be a part of the Carolina Tradition.