Tamera Young has been called the greatest player in James Madison University history. Nancy Lieberman predicted her to be a sleeper in the 2008 Draft. Ivory Latta has called her Go-Go Gadget. Chioma Nnamaka has described her as lovable and fun to be around. Coach Marynell Meadors has deemed her a rising star.
Though fans were initially skeptically about the Dream’s first round pick, Tamera always knew there was a place for her in the WNBA. Now that she has proven herself to the fans in Atlanta, the trend she started at James Madison University has started creeping into town – PIGTAILS! At JMU, fans wore their hair like their favorite player and little girls sported headbands and pigtails to their AAU games. Though pigtails could be construed as a sign of youth, Tamera showed great maturity when asked about how she felt about little girls emulating her.
“I was pretty excited; I felt special,” said Tamera. “It really let me know that these girls look up to me, and that I am a role model for them.”
After teasing from her teammates about being a grown woman, she retired the pigtails when she headed off to the WNBA. However, after a discouraging first half of the season, she decided to bring back her look. She started wearing her pigtails again during the June 29 game against the Detroit Shock and scored a career-high 26 points.
Being a grown up, it seems, has nothing to do with hair. Moving from college to the pros, Tamera has found the game is more about personal responsibility than a structured and regimented schedule. In a recent article in the Wilmington Star News, Tamera said, "Staying mentally strong, in college, it's different. My coach was always there on me, always talking to us. Now we're all adults, and you have to make yourself stronger.”
Besides her standing as one of the League’s outstanding rookies, Tamera is a lot like other recent college graduates. When she has a day off, she likes to hang out at home, play with her Wii and go shopping. Her favorite restaurant is T.G.I. Friday’s and she was recently introduced to Benihana. Don’t expect her to be checking Facebook or MySpace; she decided they were too distracting after spending too much time navigating through profiles and no longer uses them. She stays away from the WNBA fan message boards too.
What’s most important is her love for the game. She plays each game with excitement and enthusiasm and never wants to treat her place with the team as “just a job.” As for many years down the road when she is no longer on-court, the former kinesiology major has said she’d like to coach.
While she does miss her James Madison University coaches and teammates, Tamera has been playing great basketball. She marks the team’s first win against Chicago at home and sinking the three that led the team into overtime at Connecticut as her favorite moments so far. Hopefully, she’ll look out to the crowd on July 22 to see the pigtails in Atlanta and have another highlight to add to her list.