Maya Moore

Name: Maya Moore
Height: 6'0"
Position: Small Forward
Class: Senior
School: Connecticut
School Bio: Maya Moore



Bio

Perhaps the most decorated women's college basketball player of all time, Connecticut's Maya Moore has been widely considered the top player in this year's draft class ever since she won her first Wade Trophy as a sophomore. The school's all-time leading scorer, Moore was the catalyst behind UConn's historic 90-game winning streak that ended in December. Moore is an incredible 146-3 over her career at UConn and has captured two National Championships. Moore currently ranks 4th in the nation in scoring, averaging 22.8 ppg through 33 games.



Coach Reeve's Thoughts

Prolific scorer, rebounder, and passer. One of the most storied women's basketball players in NCAA history.



An Outside Look

Graham Hays, ESPN.com

She's the best player in the draft, a perfect franchise cornerstone mix of skill, drive and charisma. The specific skills are impressive enough, be it the range extending well beyond the 3-point line, the mid-range touch or the body control off the dribble, but like Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings and the long lineage of superstars before her, it's the sum of the parts and the effect she has on the other players on the court that keep you coming back for more.


Rebecca Lobo, ESPN

In your opinion, where does Maya rank among the all-time greats to play women's college basketball?
Maya is definitely in the discussion of the all-time greats in the history of women's basketball. He record at UConn is outstanding and the consistent winning is unparalleled. If she wins her third title this year, she'd solidify herself as one of the best ever.

How have you seen her game develop over her career at UConn?
Maya has always been an outstanding scorer. She is a player who moves constantly on the offensive end of the floor making her hard to guard. Where she has really improved is that she is more efficient with her movement she now has a purpose on the offensive end. Instead of moving around just to move around, she is moving to get herself and her teammates open.

A lot of rookies face a tough transition period from their senior year to their first year in the WNBA. How do you see Maya faring in her rookie season? What makes you confidant that she can have success in her first year in the WNBA?
If Maya stays healthy, she will be the WNBA Rookie of the Year. She is WNBA-ready now and proved that when she played with the National Team at the World Championships last summer. She was the only college player on the team and held her own. She has a WNBA body and a WNBA game. I expect her to be an All-Star and an All-WNBA performer her rookie year.

We all saw what the rookie class of 2008, especially Candace Parker, did for the WNBA that year. Parker had 34 points and 12 rebounds in her first game with the Sparks. What kind of impact do you think Maya will have on the league as a whole? Do you think she'll bring a new type of fan out to the games?
Maya will have an impact similar to Candace Parker's. Again, she needs to stay healthy, but Maya could be the MVP her rookie year. If she is drafted to Minnesota and plays with a point guard the caliber of Whalen for a coach the caliber of Cheryl Reeve, she will have tremendous success. I don't know if she'll bring a "new" fan to the game, but she will bring fans. When she plays in a game, folks will want to come out and see her play in person. She'll have that effect on the team that drafts her and when she plays in away arenas.

How good can Maya be at the next level? Does she have the potential to be the best player to ever come out of UConn when it's all said and done?
Maya can be the MVP of the WNBA for many years during her career if she stays healthy. Can she be the best UConn player ever? She will have to compete with Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tina Charles (amongst others) for that designation, but she'll definitely be in the discussion. Of course, both Diana and Bird have won multiple WNBA championships, so Maya would need to do that to compete with them for that designation.

Maya is obviously a very versatile player. What aspect of Maya's game impresses you the most?
Maya's ability to score is what most impresses me. She can score on anyone, in any situation. She's faced every junk defense, all types of tactics (physical play, multiple defenders, etc.) and still continued to score. She is a great teammate and will be a terrific addition to any franchise. She's one of those players that has the complete package skill, great attitude, interest in community involvement. She's the real deal.


Joe Perez, Norwich Bulletin

Maya has always been a great player, but how have you seen her game develop over the course of her UConn career?
When Maya first arrived at UConn, everyone knew she was going to be great. Just watching her practice seemed like an event. But in games, she was more of a jump shooter than anything else. Over nearly four years, she's become more aggressive offensively, unafraid to attack the basket. She's also put in so much time with her mid-to-long-range jump shot that her coaches and teammates have every bit of confidence that she'll make those shots.
Defensively, she's taken her natural instincts and combined them better fundamentals. She could stand to improve this element of her game, but she's a difficult defender for even the best ballhandlers to confront.

In your opinion, where does Maya rank among the all-time greats to play at UConn?
She's the greatest player in program history. She's shattered the school's scoring record, she's among its top rebounders, she's unselfish and she works hard. Huskies coach Geno Auriemma said he never wants to be forced to pick Maya or Diana Taurasi. What I really appreciate about Maya is that she's not defined by basketball. She has interests outside of the sport; she's an exceptional student and a very thoughtful, well-spoken, well-rounded woman.

In your 3+ years of covering Maya, what has been your favorite moment? What's been the most enjoyable moment to cover? Team or individual.
There have been so many moments where Maya has left myself and others amazed at what she does. There seems to be a play every game that sort of makes you shake your head. However, the one that I recall most came during her freshman year. It was the second-to-last game of the regular season and UConn was in a dogfight with Rutgers for the conference title. Playing at DePaul, it appeared the Huskies were going to lose the game after Renee Montgomery missed a game-tying free throw with seven seconds left. DePaul raced down the court with the ball, but Maya caught up to the ballhandler and stole the ball from behind. UConn then won on a shot with one second left. UConn won the Big East by one game over Rutgers.
The most enjoyable moments are when you get her to discuss anything other than basketball; it can be classes, music, her teammates anything. That's when Maya really shines.

A lot of rookies face a tough transition period from their senior year to their first year in the WNBA. How do you see Maya faring in her rookie season? What makes you confident that she can have success in her first year in the WNBA?
I believe Maya will be an All-Star her first year in the WNBA, not just because she will be very popular and voted into the starting lineup, but because she's an amazing talent. She's going to have more double-figure scoring games in NCAA history, may graduate with the highest winning percentage in the sport's history and does all of the things necessary to succeed. What gives her a leg up is that she's practiced against some of the best players in the league when they come back to UConn to visit and she played with Team USA last fall, so there won't be any surprise in terms of the style and physical nature of the pro game.

Do you think there's ever been a player with her skill set to enter the WNBA? Who does she compare to?
I think she is a once in a lifetime player. Over the years, I've seen so many great players and they go through ups and downs, they have bad days like anyone else. But when Maya has a bad day, she's still better than everyone else. She's never satisfied with what she's done today and always looks to what she can improve upon for tomorrow. She can play on the perimeter or she can play in the paint; she's so strong that smaller centers would struggle with her. This is what LSU and former Houston Comets coach Van Chancellor had to say about her earlier this season: "I wouldn't trade (the No. 1) pick away for any other whole team for her. I'd keep that player."
I really think Moore is only beginning to scratch the surface of what she can and will do.

Of all her skills, which impresses you the most?
Of all the things Maya Moore can do, the one thing that impresses me most is her ability to create scoring opportunities. Whether it's a difficult, off-balance pass to a driving teammate or a left-handed tip while falling away from the basket, Moore seems do things no one else can, especially in pressure situations. Her greatest strength in this area is what she can do to create shots for herself. She's the right blend of size, speed and strength that in some way, shape or form, she's a mismatch for anyone on the court. Guard her tightly? No problem. She lifts effortlessly without resetting her feet for a jumper anywhere on the court that's going to be on target. Want to double-team her? She'll beat defenders to the punch and either blow by them or muscle her way through to the basket. Want to play bigger bodies on her to wear her down? She's essentially been the Huskies' power forward and has battled teams' biggest players at times. Moore is so powerful and well conditioned that she can negate height disadvantages as long as she doesn't try to play like a true post player.


John Altavilla, Hartford Courant

Maya has always been a great player, but how have you seen her game develop over the course of her UConn career?
Maya came to UConn already incredibly developed, especially in terms of her maturity, after a wonderful high school career at Collins Hill High (Ga.) and two years playing for DePaul coach Doug Bruno, the head coach of USA Basketball's U-18 and U-19 team. She walked right onto a team with two future Division I All-Americans and No. 1 WNBA draft picks, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles, and asserted herself by becoming the first player in the history of the Big East, male or female, to be the conference player of the year as a freshman and a first-team All-American.

In your opinion, where does Maya rank among the all-time greats to play at UConn?
I did not cover Diana Taurasi's college career at UConn. But everyone knows what a truly iconic player she was in college and now is in the WNBA and internationally. I challenge anyone to tell me how she could possibly be a better player that Maya Moore; UConn's first four-time All-American, its career scoring leader, the Big East's career scoring leader and the only college player on USA Basketball's 2010 World Championship team.

In your 3+ years of covering Maya, what has been your favorite moment? What's been the most enjoyable moment to cover? Team or individual.
Maya is the most physically gifted women's player I have ever seen or covered. She can catch and shoot better than anyone. She plays with incredible passion. She is a fierce rebounder. She is a tremendous teammate. She is an Academic All-American. She is a role model for young girls. My top moment, performance-wise, was seeing her score 41 points against Florida State on Dec. 21 in the game UConn won to break the UCLA men's record winning streak with its 89th straight. What I will never forget is dealing with her on a daily basis and watching and listening to the professionalism and thought she put into interview sessions.

A lot of rookies face a tough transition period from their senior year to their first year in the WNBA. How do you see Maya faring in her rookie season? What makes you confident that she can have success in her first year in the WNBA?
The only difficult part of the transition for Maya will be getting used to the travel and the losing that will inevitably become a part of her professional life, no matter where she is drafted. As of Feb. 11, she had only lost six games in high school and college combined.

Do you think there's ever been a player with her skill set to enter the WNBA? Who does she compare to?
Diana Taurasi. Game, set and match. That's it.

Of all her skills, which impresses you the most?
Maya's physical ability will wow those who have never seen her play before. She simply does things and is capable of doing things that no one can do, perhaps ever. But what will endear her hometown fans to her even more is the kind of person she is; smart, spiritual and dedicated. She will take the WNBA by storm.


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