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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Team Angel

Angel McCoughtry is holding a girls basketball skills camp
this week at the Basketball Academy in Louisville, KY.

This normally would be a busy week for most of us. When you consider that she played in a WNBA game Sunday and plays again tonight (a ESPN 2 televised contest) it speaks volumes about the dedication and drive that the Atlanta Dream wing has for the sport.

CARDINAL COUPLE caught up with Angel yesterday and sat down with her to discuss the camp, basketball and her college team, the University of Louisville Lady Cards.

A special thanks to Doug Bibby, Brian Dyke, Heidi and the staff of the Basketball Academy for making this possible. And also to Angel...who continues to shine as an example of what is right and good about professional athletes. Enjoy this look into TEAM ANGEL and the talented Ms. McCoughtry.

(On the concept and motivation of holding a camp)

"When I was in college, I always worked a lot of the camps. Men's camps. Rondo has his camp, Pitino has his camp, a lot of guys have camps and I noticed that the girls were always mingled in with the guys and always overshadowed. I wanted to have something just for the ladies..where they can feel comfortable...where they can come in and compete on the same level. I just wanted to have something for the young ladies."

(On attending camps while growing up)

"I did! I remember one time I went to a one day camp that Cheryl Swoopes had and I was so thrilled just to be there..to get autographs. Just to see her..I didn't even get to talk to her. And I thought about it and I realized that...wow...these girls here feel that way about me. It's kind of strange..because I know how I felt when I was this age but I'm glad just to be able to give back. I want to be able to talk to these girls and get to know them."

(On her first year at UofL...coming off the bench)

"Well, it was tough but the thing was it was definitely a learning experience. That just made me more hungry and it showed near the end of my playing time at UofL when we made the Final Four."

(On the high turnout for the camp)

"You know, it's so great...because the thing about it is, we only promoted for one month and to promote a camp you need 3 months or more to really get the word out. It shows the girls really care and I just love coming back to Louisville, it's my second home. I'm really here just to get them to learn the fundamentals of the game.

(On the camp goals and ideals)

"I was telling them earlier that they need to take advantage of every opportunity. I have one young girl here who had cancer. She's just recovering from leukemia. Just for her to get out there, just for a little bit...it's so humbling. I tell them to take advantage of every opportunity because you girls are healthy. Play. Don't take it for granted. Yes, we all get tired but just go out there and play hard.

(On the counselor selection)

"It was kind of a mixture of us both ( Doug Bibby and Angel). Bibby has a lot of connections and I know a couple of people. We got the kind of cast here that the girls can really look up to."

(Her predictions on the UofL women's team)

"Oh, my goodness! I've seen some of the girls play and I just wish I had a couple of years left to get out there on the court with them. They are awesome! Jeff Walz got an amazing recruiting class in this year. One of the tops in the nation. And, if he starts five freshmen next year, I wouldn't be surprised. There's going to be some bumps, sure...but by their sophomore year, I wouldn't be surprised if they make it to the Final Four."

(On attending the first game in YUM before heading back to play in the Euro Leagues.)

"Actually, on November 12th..on a Friday...we're playing Tennessee. That day I will be getting my jersey retired in the new arena, so I will get to see one game."

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Before our chat, I got to catch a little of the question and answer session Angel had with the camp attendees. The girls were given a chance to ask Angel questions and some of the questions and responses were fun and revealing.

(On how many games she has won)

"So many! Higher than I can count. And there's more on the way."

(Which coach did she learn the most from?)

"Jeff Walz. One of the main things he taught me was to keep my composure on the court, which was really important and helpful."

( Who do people compare her game to in the WNBA?)

"Some people tell me I play like Cheryl Swoopes, which I really am humbled by because she is one of my favorite players of all time."

(Which team do you like to beat the most?)

"In the WNBA, it would have to be Indiana. We just beat them Sunday and that was really good. In college it would have been Kentucky." (McCoughtry never lost to UK while at UofL)

(Who was the toughest opponent she has played against ?)

"As a team I would have to say Connecticut. They have a great coach in Geno and he coached me when I was trying out for the Olympic team and I now know why they are as successful as they are now. He's really a great coach. For an single opponent it would be Tina Charles. She was so talented, a great rebounder and she helped make Maya Moore the good player that she is. In the WNBA, that's a tough one but Tamika Catchings, who plays for Indiana is very good and tough to stop."

(Something most people don't know about her?)

"I can speak a little Portuguese. A couple of my teammates on the Atlanta Dream are from Brazil and that is the language down there."

(On life after her playing career is over?)

"What do you all think I should do? Did I hear someone say coach? That's a good idea. I'd also maybe like to do something in theatre. That's what I studied in college."

(On who she would like to play for if she didn't play for Indiana in the WNBA?)

"Washington. I'm from that area and it would be fun to play in front of my family and friends there."

Angel's "TEAM ANGEL" camp runs thru Thursday. You can catch Angel on ESPN2 this evening in WNBA action. Then, it's back to the 'Ville for instruction, encouragement and dialouge with our future stars .

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The U.S. vs. Sypher started back up again on Monday. Surprise, surprise...we were introduced to a few more people that "Sharin' Karen" slept with. Those of you out there that haven't slept with her or don't know someone who has...raise your hand. She likes to tell guys that she's really fertile, too.

Really.

For a different look at the proceedings, you might check out what Matt Jones is plunking down over at http://www.kentuckysportsradio.com/

The site bleeds "blue" thru and thru and you might want to avoid the comments section if you don't like reading negative things about University of Louisville athletics. Jones is blogging from the courthouse daily and probably dressed in a UK2K T-shirt and cutoff jorts. I wonder if he'll give the most likely and probale upcoming Calipari NCAA proceedings as much print?

Actually, forget about that. Nothing sticks to the "teflon Don" in Lexington. He's like Godzilla...leaving college programs shattered in his wake and uncatchable.

Jones's site is great comic relief if you need a reminder of how much some Big Blue fans are "ate up with themselves" and how much hatred there is for UofL out there in the state. Jones is a good journalist, but so much aggression and hatred for a college athletic program....can't be good for the blood pressure and stress levels. Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, Matty. You'll feel a whole lot better, believe me.

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Is anyone else getting tired of "Flo the Progressive Insurance Girl" and those inane commercials? I wonder why it is that insurance companies always come out with the worst commercials? You got the one company that has the gekko that talks, another one with the former head of "The Unit" and the guy from "Major League and "Love and Basketball" ready to put you in good hands and some slacker named "Justin Case" shilling for another one. Enough. Please.

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