Maya Moore Attempts To Make Third USA Roster At 2009 World University Games Trials
May 15, 2009 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Connecticut sophomore and USA Basketball veteran Maya Moore has been busy for the past several years. Busy winning Big East player of the year as a Rookie in 2007, the first player in conference history to do that " men or women. Busy winning a gold medal at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the 2007 U19 World Championship. Busy leading Connecticut to a 39-0 record and a national championship in 2008-09.
Among all her impressive wins, awards and statistics, there seems to be one that may surprise even Moore. Her high school (Collins Hill, Ga.), college and USA Basketball teams have combined to compile a 213-5 record (.977 winning percentage).
-Wow," Moore said. -I find these things out from you guys (laughs). That's crazy. I've just been blessed to play with great teams. I'm not going to pretend like it's all me. Connecticut, USA Basketball and (Collins Hill) high school stressed the little things and pushed me to be the best. It's all just worked out really well, and I'm definitely not going to want to add any more losses to that record."
Moore has certainly been impressive on the court " she averaged 19.3 ppg., 8.9 rpg. and 3.3 apg. as a sophomore - but she also uses her time wisely off the court. Last summer, which she actually had -off" from basketball, she traveled to Colorado to participate in a camp through Athletes in Action, a sports ministry organization.
-I got a chance to learn some things and to meet different people and have a different athletic experience," said Moore. -Learning about different things with my faith and combining that with our sport was a really cool opportunity."
While you will almost always find Moore either playing or watching basketball she also realizes the importance of balance and downtime in the offseason. Last summer, she also got the chance to see her family in Missouri, spending time with the people she grew up with, and she says that is important to help prevent getting burnt out.
-I'm probably going to be taking the second half of the summer to rest, and it's just as important to be able to rest as it is to push yourself and work your butt off. You have to be smart about it," Moore said.
Moore enters the 2009 World University Games Trials as one of the most distinguished players on the roster, having been honored as the 2009 State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year, just the second sophomore to earn that distinction. She was also named to the 2009 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team, the 2009 NCAA Coaches' All-America Basketball Team and repeated as Big East Player of the Year.
She tallied 712 points in the 2008-09 season, becoming Connecticut's single-season scoring leader, and became the fastest Huskie to reach 1,000 points, doing it in just 55 games. But its Moore's attention to detail that makes her one of the greatest players in the country. She not only scores; she rebounds, passes, plays tenacious defense and has a very high basketball IQ.
-At this level everyone is talented and everyone is going to work hard," said Moore. -But if you work hard at the little things it's eventually going to add up, and ironically it's the little things that separate you from everybody else. It's tough but it's why I think USA basketball is so great because you have coaches that are going to make you pay attention to those little details."
Moore's coach at Connecticut, Geno Auriemma, also could be described as someone who pays attention to the details. He is well known for his constant pursuit of excellence, and for his willingness to accept nothing but the best from his players. Some might think that two people, who are so similar " so driven in their desire to succeed, could clash at times, but Moore explains that's not the case.
-We're always striving to be the best and striving to get every detail correct, and I think that's why when he does yell at me and gets on me I can take it because that's what I expect from myself," said Moore. -Sometimes you feel like you're giving everything you've got and he still wants more, but in the long run when you finally get what he is stressing it feels really good."
Moore says there are many similarities between USA Basketball and the Connecticut program, especially the mindset of doing whatever is best for the team. With Auriemma taking over as head coach of the USA Women's National Team, Moore can't help but think just how special it would be to represent her country three years from now.
-It makes the dream to play for that 2012 team even more appealing," said Moore. -Having Coach Auriemma, I really feel like that was a great move. I have had the chance to play for him so I know how good of a coach he is and (USA Basketball) is in great hands and like I said it just makes that 2012 team even more of a dream for me."
But right now, her focus is on combining an incredible year in the NCAA with a third USA Basketball gold medal at the age of 20.
-Right now I'm just focusing on each session and trying to get better," said Moore. -(Winning a third gold) would be something that I would treasure. It's an opportunity that not a lot of people get."