Redskins

Maya Moore leaving mark on Chinese basketball

201212130026015945297-p2.jpeg

Maya Moore leaving mark on Chinese basketball

Maya Moore has excelled everywhere she's played, winning championships from college to the WNBA and Europe. Now she's leaving her mark on the Chinese women's basketball league.

Averaging 45 points a game for the Shanxi Flame, Moore has helped bring new fans to the women's game in a basketball crazed nation.

``They show maybe five NBA games a week here,'' Moore told The Associated Press in a phone interview. ``They get a good amount of coverage and people love it. We are starting to get a little more interest about our game.''

The NBA long has seen China as a place for huge growth.

It was evident at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 with the basketball games sold out and the contest between the U.S. men and China having nearly 100 million viewers. With Europe still feeling the effects of the financial downturn, China's competitive salaries and shorter season have made it one of the top destinations for the world's elite women basketball players.

The former UConn star is earning mid-six figures, which is on a par with European salaries. While most European leagues go from October to May, China only plays till February. This will give Moore time to rest before the Minnesota Lynx open training camp in May. It also will provide the young face of women's basketball the opportunity to participate at the NBA All-Star game in February and be around for the women's Final Four.

Besides Moore, the talent is improving throughout the league. Tamika Catchings, Elizabeth Cambage, Sophia Young and Jayne Appel are all playing this year. Swin Cash has played there in the past.

``I think it's been a good introduction for a lot of the fans seeing some of the Olympic level women over here,'' Moore said. ``To see the talent it's been I think very surprising thing for the fans. Interest will continue to spark more of a demand for players and the basketball level will rise. This area of the world will continue to want basketball even more, elevating that market.''

The WNBA has taken notice of the recent boom in China.

``We know the sport of basketball is on the rise in China and the WNBA has already had great success on the international stage,'' WNBA President Laurel Richie said. ``I am really encouraged that there are now many more millions of people around the globe - including China - who know what the WNBA is all about. We've exposed more people to the game, to the players, to the story both on and off the court ... and this will only help grow our league both domestically and abroad.''

While Moore has definitely brought interest with her play, Catchings has tried to mentor her teammates.

``I think my approach is probably different then the approach of some of the younger players,'' Catchings said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. ``I feel like my job is to teach my teammates how I play and how to have fun doing it.''

It didn't take long for Moore to endear herself to her new team. Moore, the first woman basketball player to be signed by the Jordan brand, gave a pair of yellow and red sneakers to each of her teammates.

Then she started playing and the team only has lost once since. Moore introduced herself to the Chinese fans almost immediately with a 60-point performance in her third game, which just happened to be nationally televised.

``The game was against one of the army teams,'' Moore said. ``They don't have a foreigner and they are very prideful. The first quarter I was in a zone feeling good. I hit seven 3's in the first quarter. It gave me a jump start on the 60.''

Moore was hard-pressed to remember ever scoring close to that before. She had 48 in high school and 48 was her college best.

Connecticut and Olympic coach Geno Auriemma wasn't surprised by his former star's success.

``Maya is Maya,'' he said. ``Her scoring that many points isn't a real shock. She can really do whatever she wants.''

Basketball has been the easy part for Moore since coming over to China. Communicating with teammates has taken a little more work with up to four languages being spoken in team huddles.

``It's pretty comical,'' Moore said laughing. ``I speak English, one of my teammates is Korean. That's two languages. Two of our coaches are Spanish - one is the Spanish national team head coach. The first couple days I was there my head was spinning.''

On the court, there don't seem to be many communication issues. The team uses hand signals, numbers, and Moore said she learned some basic words to get through.

``I'm getting better, I know about 10 words so far, I'm learning new ones every day,'' she said.

Moore also has a personal assistant assigned by the team to help her with basics like grocery shopping and getting around.

``I think the success to your playing overseas really relies heavily on your translator and how well the team is able to help you adjust to them and being in a foreign country,'' said Catchings, who also has spent time playing in Korea. ``It's definitely an adjustment. Your team and the organization becomes your family while you are over here.''

Moore, who played in Spain last winter, also has had the benefit of having her mom with her. She came over in October and has spent most of the first two months in China, including Thanksgiving. The two have been put up in a ``western-style'' hotel for the four-month season.

``It's really been great having her around and she'll be here for Christmas,'' Moore said. ``She's experiencing China herself.''

Among the things Moore has learned to appreciate while being in China are some of the freedom she has in the U.S.

``It's kind of hard not having unrestricted Internet,'' she said. ``There's certain things you can't view. Certain liberties you don't have. YouTube, Twitter, things like that. There are certain social medial sites. You're so used to having access to whatever we need. It's different that way.''

---

Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

Quick Links

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

roster_prediction_hero_image.png
Various sources

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 18, 38 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—offense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on offense; defense up tomorrow. 

Quarterbacks (2)
Alex Smith, Colt McCoy

I think that Kevin Hogan is very much on the bubble as the third quarterback. They got along with two QBs last year, and with Alex Smith having demonstrated great durability during his career, Hogan may well get bumped off. 

Running backs (4)
Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, Rob Kelley

I’d say that this is 95 percent locked in. Maybe Kapri Bibbs or Byron Marshall can make a push for Kelley’s roster spot but his history with Jay Gruden will make it very hard for him to get knocked out. 

Wide receivers (6)
Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Trey Quinn

The first time I did this back in April I didn’t have Quinn on the roster. That was before he was a man among boys at rookie camp and a player who looks like he belongs when the veterans showed up. I don’t know if he’ll have the impact that many fans think he will, but he’s certainly going to get his chance. Brian Quick could steal a roster spot from Harris or Davis.

Tight ends (3)
Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

The Redskins did not draft a tight end or sign one in free agency so there seems to be faith that Reed will be healthy. We’ve heard that before and it seems somewhat risky to leave Davis, who has Father Time nipping at his heels, and the inexperienced Davis as the only two backups. They may try to make room for an undrafted rookie like Hudson Garrett.  

Offensive line (9)
Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsekhe, Geron Christian, Tyler Catalina, Tony Bergstrom

I think that Gruden is probably happy with the starters here but the depth is shaky, especially in the interior. The key could be whether Christian is ready for prime time as the swing tackle. That could allow Nsekhe to fill in at guard. Bergstrom is fine as the backup center, although I wouldn’t want to have to count on him for more than a few games. 

Offensive players: 24
Rookies (3):
Guice, Christian, Quinn
New to the organization in 2018 (5): Rookies plus Smith, Richardson 
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (11): Rookies plus new plus Harris (practice squad), R. Davis (practice squad) and Bergstrom (not on the team). 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Tandler on Twitter

An Indiana state police officer tweeted that he pulled a driver over for going too slowly in the left lane. I believe this person is a national hero. 

Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 38
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 52
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 75

The Redskins last played a game 167 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 83 days. 

In case you missed it

Quick Links

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

brown_pryor_usat_ig.jpg
USA TODAY Sports/@TerrellePryor

Zach Brown says Redskins defense will 'have it out' for Terrelle Pryor during joint practices

Terrelle Pryor made a number of highlight reel catches last year during training camp, and it appears the Redskins defense didn't like it. 

Washington's marquee free agent signing last season, Pryor came into Richmond with sky-high expectations. Throughout the training sessions last August, Pryor put on one-handed displays at the Jugs machine and often made big catches in team drills. It's also important to remember there was never any live tackling during these drills, leaving defenders at a distinct disadvantage. 

Zach Brown remembers the scene quite well, and thinks it will look very different this summer when Pryor comes to Richmond as a member of the New York Jets. 

"That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now," Brown said on Inside the Locker Room on the Team 980 (full audio here).

Brown explained that Redskins coach Jay Gruden would not allow the defense to hit Pryor last year, even when the wideout did some showboating. 

"Jay ain't here to protect you anymore," Brown said.

The Redskins linebacker explained that he tried to explain to Pryor that the one-handed catches from training camp would not translate in the NFC East, where players get hit hard. It doesn't seem like Pryor listened, as he finished the season with only 240 receiving yards on 20 catches in nine games. 

"The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year," Brown said. He added, "Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm."

One incident that supports Brown's comments came when Bashaud Breeland got thrown off the practice field last training camp. Breeland got mad that he wasn't allowed to get physical with Pryor at the line of scrimmage, and the scene blew up. Breeland eventually got sent off the field after arguing with coaches. 

The Jets visit the Redskins for three days of practices beginning August 12th. The two teams then square off in the second preseason game on August 16th. 

Brown will get his chance at Pryor, assuming the wideout plays. Pryor finished the 2018 season on the injured reserve, but is expected to be fine once training camp begins in New York. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

#REDSKINSTALK PODCAST

Don't forget to subscribe to the #RedskinsTalk podcast, hosted by JP Finlay.

Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below.