Quotes: USA Basketball Women’s National Team Training Camp (9/30/17)
USA head coach Dawn Staley (University of South Carolina)
No one said they’re not going to not play for the 2020 games, which is great. So, we have a lot of options. We have a lot of people that are … that could be historical moments for them in their careers, for all U.S. athletes. Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, they both could be five-time (Olympic) gold medalists, something that hasn’t been done ever in basketball.
On the Women in the Game conference, you mentioned you never thought about coaching. Now that you’re here, can you soak it all in going from player to coach?
I look at it like this, because I had no exposure to coaching, except for the coaches who coached me, and I saw how hard it was for them to do this and balance everything, so I shied away from that. Once you get exposed to coaching, you fall in love with it and you want to go to the very top as a competitor. I’m very fortunate to have been around some great basketball with USA Basketball, a great culture that you want to keep coming back to. So, it feels great. It feels great to be able to be here in this capacity because it’s something that I’ve given over half of my life to, to USA Basketball. The culture just keeps … I embrace the culture and I love everything about USA Basketball. It gives you the warm and fuzzy feeling, because these guys come out here and commit. It’s an ultimate sacrifice to do it, but the reward is great.
What do you want the Staley stamp to be on this program?
For me, it’s just about winning gold. I don’t care about the stamp. I just want to win, continue the success that USA Basketball has had. We’ve had some great coaches and I just want to follow suit.
Asia Durr (University of Louisville)
How did the first practice with the USA National Team go for you?
The first practice has been good. I’m just trying to win from the greats, from the vets. So, it’s been pretty good. It’s definitely going to be a learning experience for me, so that’s all I’m trying to do is learn.
Have you been picking anyone’s brains for pointers?
I’ve been trying to, yes. Sue Bird has been great as a leader of this camp, so I’m just trying to follow her lead.
How much do you think this will help you going into the season?
I think this is going to help out a whole lot, learning from the greats and I can hopefully take that back to my team.
Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun)
After 40 games in a USA Basketball uniform on junior teams, what was it like for you to take the court at a USA National Team training camp?
It was a lot of fun. It’s just fun. It’s similar to the other times I’ve been out with other USA teams, but just the fact that it’s for the national team and even in my room this morning, I was like, ‘Wow! You’re wearing red instead of blue!’ So, it’s just a fun experience. I’m just really blessed to be here.
Was the red uniform something you’ve always wanted to wear?
Yeah. Well, I got to see it a little bit more because of Bre (Stewart). I was playing with her when she first got to be with the national team. When I saw her with her red stuff I was like, ‘I really want to be in red.’ The blue was great, but I want to be able to wear the red and be on the national team. So, to even be at a training camp, it’s really exciting.
What’s it like playing for Dawn Staley this weekend?
It’s awesome. Geno is great, but it’s cool to be able to play for someone else, especially someone who played on the USA National Team, won three Olympic gold medals, and Dawn is an iconic women’s basketball player. So, it’s cool to be able to be coached by her.
A’ja Wilson (University of South Carolina)
How was your first USA National Team training camp practice session?
It was a lot of fun being out here with people competing for a spot on the USA National Team. Being out here with the pros, I’m taking it all in. There’s a lot of basketball out here and I’m being a sponge. It’s a lot of fun.
Did you learn anything in particular today or did anything stand out?
I think the biggest thing that I took a lot of pride in was being able to play with Sue Bird. That was something that was great. She’s a great point guard, she’s a vocal point guard and that’s what every team needs. It was a lot of fun playing with her and Stefanie Dolson. It was just a lot of fun.
Was it easier knowing what Dawn Staley was going to run?
It was. Coach Staley likes to keep things the same way. Just to be able to know what the drills are, what we’re doing in the drills really helps out a lot. I’m like, ‘Okay, at least I know what I’m doing. I just have to be able to play with different people.’ And that’s how it is. It was a lot of fun going through familiar drills with coach Staley.
After your stints on USA Basketball junior teams wearing blue and white, was it special donning the red practice gear of the USA National Team?
It was a lot of fun. Putting on the navy, putting on the grey, that was a lot of fun. But, it was definitely a lot of fun. This morning when coach Staley saw me, she was like ‘You finally got your red shorts, huh?’ I was like, ‘Yup!’
Even just putting on the red sports bra, everything was just a lot of fun. It was really good wearing red instead of navy.
What are you hoping to get out of this weekend?
I can’t even pinpoint. There are a lot of things I just want to take back to my team. Whether it’s how to communicate with each other, how to get to spots faster, how to play on that next level with elite players. That’s something I’m going to take in, knowing that I can somewhat keep up with them.