Jefferson Hopes Third Timeís The Charm At U19 Trials
Colorado Springs, Colo. ē May 24, 2011
Mo Jefferson has put the past behind her and is focused on the present during the second day of the U19 World Championship Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. After being cut from the 2010 USA Basketball U17 World Championship Team Trials and the 2009 USA U16 National Team Trials, Jefferson, an All-Texas Region first -team member in 2011, hopes her third time competing for a roster spot on a USA national team is the charm.
The 5-6 guard from Glenn Heights, Texas has already had an illustrious high school career, taking several regional and all-area honors. Jefferson, who is homeschooled and competes for the Texas Home Educators Sports Association, has been named to the National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championships (NCHBC) All-America first team three consecutive seasons, in addition to being the NCHBC Sullivan Award winner in 2011. She sat down with USABasketball.com on Monday to talk about her expectations for this week.
What are you most excited for this week during the trials?
First of all, Iím looking forward to the competition. Playing against this level of college players, you donít get that anywhere else but here. I know everybodyís going to go hard, so Iím looking forward to that. Off the court, Iím looking forward to being with my friends I donít get to see a lot.
What is it like competing against some girls youíve gotten to know over the last couple of years?
Itís really fun. Alexis Jones and I used to be on the same team, now weíre always going at it. Diamond DeShields, Ariel Massengale, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, we all get along real well.
What are some of the differences you experience since you are homeschooled?
I think being homeschooled gives me a little bit of an advantage because I can do my work at night and then wake up in the morning and train as long as I want to. Now Iím taking classes at a junior college so itís a little bit different, but I think the experience of being around a lot of people here is good for me. When Iím at home, itís just me.
Talk about the honors and accolades you have received throughout your high school career thus far:
Itís an honor. When Iíve received awards, everyone is so nice to me. People were asking for my autograph and stuff; it was kind of surreal for me. Being able to get awards like that means Iím doing something right, so it motivates me to work harder.
This is your third time competing in USA Basketball trials. How has not making the team the last two times changed you?
It fuels me knowing I didnít make it. When you come out for something like this, you want to make it. Honestly, I give my best, 110 percent, every time I get on the court. Being cut hasnít really changed anything about me, it just makes me go a little harder.
How do you believe youíve become a better player since the last time you were here?
My shooting has gotten a lot better. I was just an attacker; I drove and everybody knew thatís what I did. Now my mid-range and my 3-point ball have gotten a lot better. Thatís something I look to use to my advantage this week.
Since youíve been here before, does that take a little pressure off of you?
I know the system. Nothingís new to me anymore, so itís kind of nice being able to just get on the court and get after it, knowing what Iím doing.
You mentioned playing on a stage once. Explain what that was like:
It was at UTA (University of Texas-Arlington). Their basketball court was on a stage, so you had to step up to it. It made a weird noise when you dribbled the ball, kind of like an echo. Every time you dribbled, you were looking behind you. It was weird, but it was pretty fun.
This past season your school played 50 games, a significant amount more than most programs. Talk about that:
We donít have a league. We get any team that will take us. During the offseason, weíre always calling teams, looking for games when their off days are. So whenever we could get a game, we always played it.
What is your overall impression after the first two workouts of the week?
Things are going pretty good so far. Everybodyís competing real hard, trying to do their best. Today was better than yesterday; we got out a little more on transition and hit some threes. Yesterday, my 3-point game was on more than it was today, but Iíll try to fix that for tonight.
Itís tough competition. Everyoneís just going hard, going all out. Everyone has to give 110 percent every time, because if youíre slacking off someone else is pushing.