New Year’s With Janel McCarville

A New Start

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Photos: First two seasons

January 1, 2007 - Forward Janel McCarville was the number one overall pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft out of the University of Minnesota, yet has been plagued with injuries during most of her first two seasons with the Sting. Now healthy, McCarville is currently playing in Slovakia with K Cero VODS in Košice and putting up some stellar numbers (14.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 4.3 apg). Her team is a perfect 14-0 in the Slovakian Extraliga standings and her team has advanced to the Sixteenth-Finals in EuroCup action. She returned home to the United States for the Christmas and New Year's holiday where we were able to catch up with her. She will return shortly as her team has an Extraliga game against ŽBK Poprad on January 6 and a January 11 EuroCup game against Szeviép (Hungary).

Q. So how has everything been with you?
"Everything has been good. Right now, I am actually visiting friends in Minnesota."

After two years of injuries, McCarville is healthy again.
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Q. Back at the old stomping ground at U of M?
"Exactly. Some hanging out with some old teammates and friends. Just trying to bring in the new year right. I have also been back at home in Wisconsin. Stevens Point."

Q. How is your health, first and foremost?
"The health is good. No injuries and nothing along those lines. I'm in pretty good shape and having fun playing."

Q. So when do you head back to Slovakia?
"I return on January 3."

Q. Are you living in a major city there or in a smaller town?
"There are a lot of people in a really small area. The town is not very big, but it is very heavily populated. It is the second biggest city in Slovakia. More than 100,000 people."

Q. That's pretty big. Especially compared to where you grew up.
"Oh yeah."

Q. So I'm assuming you know the future of the Charlotte Sting is still to be determined. What are your thoughts on that?
"I'm just going to wait and see how it all plays out. There is not much I can do it about it. Before coming back to the U.S., I just heard little tidbits here and there from people. There really isn't much out there about it yet. I'm not sure what's going to happen so I'm not going to get my hopes up either way. Just going to see what happens."

McCarville's future with the Charlotte Sting is up in the air.
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Q. How would you characterize your first two WNBA seasons with the Sting?
"It was very frustrating not to be able to play up to my full potential. It has been good for me to get overseas this year and get some confidence back, play a little bit and really just get back in the swing of things. Hopefully I can bring that back with me this year in the league."

Q. Well as far as the stats and numbers go, it's looking good. Are there specific areas of your game that you are focusing on right now as far as fine-tuning?
"I'm just trying to get back into the general rhythm of playing more minutes. I'm working more on my outside game because I play the 4 in the WNBA. Outside shot, ball-handling and those sorts of things."

Q. And being there with Kelly (Mazzante), who I am assuming you knew pretty well to begin with from Charlotte, but has it made things easier for you as far as adjusting to life in a new place?
"Oh it's great. It's beneficial both on and off the floor. We get to hang out off the court and have a good time. Obviously she is someone else I get to speak English with. On the floor, we know each other's game because we've been together for two years in Charlotte. We are accustomed to each other and it shows in our play."

Q. Are you rooming together?

She is averaging a double-double in EuroCup games this season.
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Q. You probably get to see a little more on your own that way, right?
"Yeah, we get some time away from each other, too. Too much time together is no good."

Q. So how do you pronounce the name of the city, Košice?
"The city is pronounced 'Koh-schit-zay.' The "s" has a little letter "v" on top of it. I didn't know how it was pronounced until I got there. I was in the airport and people asked where I was going, and I said 'Kos-ice.' I didn't know."

Q. Is this your first extended stay overseas?
"For an extended period, yes. I went to Spain last year, but with my back injury, I had to come home after two weeks. This is the first time I've actually been overseas and experienced it fully."

Q. And how is the adjustment?
"Good, I think. I'm loving it. It's obviously a little different with coaching and everything. There is a language barrier, obviously, but we make due. There are only four players on my team who can speak English fluently. We pick up a little bit here and there and trade off on what to say. We know the phrases we need to know."

Q. Are most of your teammates from Slovakia?
"Yes. There are Kelly and me, then one girl from Bulgaria. The rest are from Slovakia."

Q. So when you travel within the country, do they show you around or does the cultural exchange go both ways?
"It's a little bit of both. There are a lot of castles over there and they'll give me the lowdown and history about the places and things we see. They split from the Czech Republic back in the day so there is a whole political history as well, so I get a little bit of everything."

Moscow's Red Square has been the highlight of her travels in Europe.
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Q. What are some of your favorite places that you've gotten to go to outside of the country, for EuroCup?
"So far the best was Russia. We got to see Red Square in Moscow, which was, by far, the highlight of the trips that we've taken. We have only had three teams with Americans or WNBA players - Rebkkah Brunson is in Moscow and Wilnett Crockett plays in Lithuania. So far.

Q. And how long do you plan on staying?
"I'm going back this week and staying until I the start of the WNBA season."

Q. Are there any plans in the works to get family or friends to visit?
"Possibly. It is a long trip, but I am trying to coax a few to come over. It's possible. I'll give them a little tour."

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