Lindsay Whalen On Her Selection To The 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team
March 31, 2012
Lindsay Whalen on Mrach 30 was announced as one of the first 11 members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women's Basketball Team. She talked with the media via a teleconference, calling in from Prague, where she is competing in her fifth season for ZVVZ USK Prague.
What are your initial feelings about being selected?
I think at first I was just kind of speechless and shocked a little. You don’t really know what to say other than that you’re thankful and honored to be part of the team. I’m going to do whatever I can to help this team. I think that’s what we all have to do. We don’t have a lot of time for preparation, so we have to work on our own individual games and come in shape and continue to do what we can to be better teammates. As long as we do that, we’ll give ourselves a good opportunity.
Geno talked about the team’s leadership. Is it easy to put together?
I think the players that have been on multiple Olympic teams and have been part of USA basketball definitely help. I think leadership is going to be huge, and I think that’s something that everyone is a leader on their individual WNBA or European teams, and you bring that quality to USA basketball and look to the leaders from before.
What are your memories from the last Olympics and were you longing to be part of it?
Last Olympics I was spending part of the time in Minnesota and part of the time in Connecticut because I was playing there at the time. I was in the running for the last team, and it was one of those things where I couldn’t make some of the camps for different reasons. Some of the players were having great seasons and deserved it ahead of me. It’s just the way the Olympics are, and they won the gold medal so they did a great job. Now I’m just ready to be part of the next team.
What has been the reaction from back home?
I’ve talked to my family, my parents of course, and just today I’m getting ready to talk to more people because it was announced at 1 a.m. here so when people heard about it I was sleeping. So I’ve just begun talking to people today and (will) continue to talk to people throughout the weekend I’m sure.
How will your time on the USA World Championship Team help?
I think that will be really important. I thought we had a great team at the World Championship, nine games in 11 days there. Just having familiarity with people on the team is pretty cool.
Any differences with this group of players?
It’s a great group of players. It’s fun to bring the ball up and get the team into plays with these types of players. I’ll do whatever I can to put the players in good spots and help the team.
What are some of the challenges you’re expecting?
Right now it’s going to be hard work. It’s going to be hard practice to get ready and a big commitment and lots of unselfish play from everyone. There are great teams out there. And for me, having the chance to play in the world championship and play with the team across the world, for me it’s getting more prepared.
You have a WNBA championship and a shot at a gold medal in the same year. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s really incredible, and I guess I feel lucky and grateful to be part of great teams and great coaches and great people. You always have to be so thankful for these opportunities and great situations. They don’t come around all the time.
Where does this rank among the WNBA title and Final Four?
It’s hard. I haven’t really thought about that. Playing for the Olympics is one of the goals you have growing up and playing for a gold medal is the ultimate goal. Playing for your country and your home town, your state ... So just to be named and be part of it is a huge honor, and it’s definitely right there if not a little more because it’s really a special thing.
How will your relationship with Seimone help on this team?
Seimone and I feed off each other really well in Minnesota both on and off the court. She’s a great player, a great competitor. I know me and Maya will be asking her how it was in Beijing and I know I will be asking her what it was like. And it’s one of those things where you go through it and you take each day and work hard. If you do those things, good things will happen.
Have you talked to Geno about playing time?
No. I’m just really happy to be part of the team and I just want to do whatever I can to help. However that goes and whatever coach wants me to do, I’m going to do as good as I can.
Do you envision a Minnesota player platoon for continuity?
The last championship we had a good first group, second group that coach put out there. He always had fresh people coming in and out. We’ll see what the rotation ends up being. Once you get a different group of personnel, it gets totally different. I think it’s definitely great to have three of us that have now played together for a while and know each other, but again once we get into the camp and into the preparation it’s going to be interesting to see how everyone’s playing and what’s best for the team.
Does the Olympics affect your approach for the summer?
It’s something you have to take into account. We’ve been playing in Europe for years now. Something you have to be is in great shape for the WNBA season, and then the Olympics, so you have to listen to your body on different times to push through some things and back off. Probably more than anything how things are going. You have to pay attention to that.
Have you thought about the opening ceremonies?
Not really but just thinking about that is something I’ll think about as I get a little closer. Just to be part of all that and all the players, not just basketball but all the sports, that will really be fun to be part of that group.