Mariya Moore: A Dream Come True
Colorado Springs, Colorado
As an applicant athlete back in 2011, Mariya Moore (Salesian H.S./Richmond, Calif.) made her way to USA Basketball’s Women’s U16 National Team trials on her own, with the hope many young girls had-- to make the national team.
Being an applicant athlete is tough, as you are competing against the most talented girls around the nation, some of whom were invited by the USA Basketball Developmental National Team Committee to participate, however, this does not mean any one player has a greater or lesser chance of making the team.
In fact, several applicant athletes have made a USA Basketball team and gone on to win gold medals. In 2011, that wasn’t the case for Moore.
It would be easy to give up and refuse to try again, and Moore said she sometimes felt like that, but she refused to let that attitude overtake her.
“Not making it definitely changed my outlook on things,” Moore said. “When I first came and paid my own way, I worked really hard to try to make the team, but I didn’t, and sometimes for me personally, that could bring me down.
“It also just pushed me to work harder so that I would never again have that same feeling,” she continued.
In 2014, she was no longer an applicant, but was instead invited to participate in the USA Women’s U18 National Team trials, and this time, she made the 12-member roster.
“Coming from being an applicant before lets me know that anyone can make this team; they just have to work hard.”
Back in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this week for the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team training camp, Moore is appreciative of the opportunity and ready to take on the challenge of playing for a gold medal. The USA will begin play at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship on Aug. 6.
“Training camp has been competitive; intense,” she admitted. “We’re teammates, and off the court we’re cool, but we know when we’re on the court and the ball goes up, we’re going hard every time. And then after it, we’ll be cool again.”
Playing under the instruction of head mentor Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina) and assistant coaches Kim Barnes Arico (University of Michigan) and Jeff Walz (University of Louisville), Moore is trying to absorb and take advantage of every moment, especially when it comes to her interactions with coach Walz, who also will be her college mentor this fall.
As an incoming Louisville freshman, Moore has been on campus for almost two months now, and though being away could result in her having a few things to catch up on, she is happy to be with USA Basketball this summer on a journey she will share with the person who will guide her for the next four years of her life.
“College is definitely treating me well, I’m enjoying it. But being here with coach Walz this summer is special,” Moore shared.
“It definitely helps us to get a feel for each other. Even though we have each other in college, us getting this summer together will help prepare for the season so that’s a plus.”
With practices and scrimmages taking most of her time, Moore couldn’t love being with her team more even if she tried.
“I’m super excited to be back. Of course I had nerves, but once I got back with my team they all went away.”
From applicant to national team member, Moore’s journey was one well worth the trip.