Former White House Intern Will Compete for Roster Spot in Fever Training Camp

Emily Diekelmann | April 19, 2010

Playing pick up basketball during the WNBA Draft on April 8, Joy Cheek didn’t know she had been selected until she looked at her cell phone. Her phone flooded with texts and calls, however, Cheek knew that someone had drafted her.

Completing her degree in public policy from Duke, Cheek is now getting ready for Fever training camp which begins April 26.

Drafted with the 35th selection in a 36-player draft and knowing that her chances of being in the WNBA may be slim, it has been a dream since she was little.

“It’s really a dream come true,” Cheek said from her campus in Durham, N.C.. “I used to live in D.C., so when the Mystics came to town, we had season tickets and went to every game. I wanted to be on time for every game. I used to rush my mom to make sure we were there on time. Then we moved to Charlotte and I was there for the Sting until they left. I used to always go to the games because I wanted the WNBA to be around so I could play in it. Now being a part of it is really a great thing.”

Falling from the basketball family tree, Cheek’s father Boris played for Morgan State in college. Growing up, the duo would have early morning gym sessions, lift weights and work on shooting.

Having his experience to teach her was great, but Cheek was happy her mom could provide her own support, too. “It was a good advantage to have someone to talk to about the game and someone who can critique the game because he knows it,” Cheek said “It was also nice to have a mother who didn’t play because it created a good balance. She helped a lot with some of the mental things and a lot of the stuff he did were the technical pieces.”

During her time in college, Cheek was fortunate to spend time near her roots in the nation’s capital. This time, though, instead of her parents’ house, she spent time in The White House where she was an intern with the Vice President’s Office of Economic Policy.

If she weren’t playing basketball, Cheek would like to employ her efforts to help improve our nation’s educational system. She has expressed interest in the non-profit Teach for America program which hopes to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders. A future leader herself, Cheek hopes to someday work in Washington with education policy.

On the court, she prides herself in is being a versatile player. As mainly a post player, her ability to rebound, step out and shoot, handle the ball and defend are what she regards as her strengths.

She plays an aggressive game on the basketball floor, but she cites a difference in her personality off it. “The Joy off the court is really laid back,” Cheek said “I just kind of just chill out and am beginning to be really mellow. On the court, I am really aggressive and have a lot of grit. I smile some, but not a whole bunch. I am a lot tougher on the court than I am off.”

As a senior, she assisted the Blue Devils to their first ACC championship in six years. She counts that as her most memorable sports moment to date. She realizes, though, the move from college to WNBA will not be a simple one.

“I think that when you go to high school, you are usually the best player,” Cheek said. “In college, you can be one of the best, but everyone is pretty good. When you go to the WNBA, everyone is a great player. Only a select few make it through training camp. You know you are playing with Olympians and All-Stars. Those other players have won many national championships in college, WNBA titles and gold medals. Everyone is bringing something to the table. There are no slackers, they’re all great overall players.”