Michaela Mabrey Feels Right At Home In The Gym
Colorado Springs, Colo. – May 20, 2012
Michaela Mabrey (Manasquan H.S./Belmar, N.J.) is one of 18 players at the 2012 USA Women’s U18 National Team Trials to be participating in a USA Basketball event for the first time at these trials. That does not mean she is unfamiliar with high level basketball, however.
On March 28, 2012, Mabrey scored three points for the victorious East Team at the McDonald’s All American Game at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. Three days later, Mabrey scored eight points while playing in the WBCA High School All-America Game at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.
She feels as though her familiarity with elite basketball players at those events, as well as her “first one in the gym, last one out” mentality gives her an edge at the U18 trials. On Sunday afternoon, Mabrey took a minute to answer a few questions with USABasketball.com
It seems like over these trials you have spent a lot of time just shooting around in the gym, why is that?
I’ve always been like that. I like to feel comfortable and know my shot is going to go in. I got people doing it with me, like (Brittney Sykes). I know (Breanna Stewart) came with me today. I just like to feel confident and I think that helps with my confidence.
Would you call yourself a gym rat then?
Yeah, I picked it up from my brother. He’s always the first one in the gym and last one out, so I think I picked it up from him.
You also seem to be one of the more vocal players during session; is that conscious or are you just being yourself?
I’ve always been like that. Through AAU, I’ve always been the oldest, so I think leading people and trying my hardest helping out whenever I can, I think I just picked that up through the years. Especially in high school, I had to do a lot of the work. Always being vocal, always communicating is part of my game.
How do you feel like trials are going so far?
Good, I think there are a lot of good players here. People are going to be disappointed at the end, but I think everyone’s giving it their all. Everyone is going after at and the competitiveness here is just great.
What is it you try to show the coaches and the committee in a trials setting like this?
I think I’m just showing that I can be a leader. I can play all different positions; I can play not just the ‘two’ but the ‘three’ and the ‘one.’ My go-to is to shoot, so whenever I’m open, I’m going to shoot it. I’m very friendly with Brittney, so I know her well and when to pass her the ball and everything. Knowing my teammates helps a lot.
You had not been to a USA Basketball event prior to this, but you have played with and against a lot of the players here at the McDonald’s and WBCA All-American Games, as well as in AAU tournaments. Does that familiarity give you some confidence at these trials?
It definitely does. I played with a lot of them at McDonald’s and the WBCA game. I know strengths, weaknesses. Especially some of them that I’m real close with. I know exactly what to do with them, so I think that gives a little bit of an edge.
You had an interesting answer when asked which player you would compare your game to; what is it about Malik Sealy’s game that you find similar to your own?
He could shoot very well. He could shoot off one foot, off the other foot, and that’s part of my game too. He just leads and is a complete leader. I just think I compare well with him.
You also are a self-proclaimed “amazing cook.” What is your specialty?
I love making anything pasta wise. Pasta, meatballs, sausage—anything that has to do with Italian because my family is Italian. I love cooking; if I didn’t play basketball, I would probably be a chef. I love food.