Posted at 7:12 AM on July 11, 2008
by David Zingler
Note: We've been contemplating making "Bleacher Bums" an all-sports blog; just to test the waters I've decided to place an occasional non-baseball related entry. Any feedback you have on this idea would be greatly appreciated.
If you haven't seen Seimone Augustus play basketball, you're missing out. The 3rd year shooting guard/small forward is on everyone's short list of the top women's basketball players in the world and will represent the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games.
Augustus won every award available at the collegiate level and seamlessly stepped into the WNBA, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 and rewriting league scoring records along the way. The 24-year-old was cool and classy enough to take some time out after a tough loss to Atlanta on Wednesday and brutal practice on Thursday to chat with me:
DZ: What do you think the biggest problem has been with the team lately?
AUGUSTUS: We just haven't been playing good basketball. When you have the lead, you try to maintain that lead - we need to play better defense and play more consistently on offense.
DZ: The rookies have played a big part this year. Things were going great early, but it still looks like you and Candice Wiggins have developed a pretty good rapport out there. What's it like playing with her?
AUGUSTUS: It's fun. She is a competitor, she has a winning attitude but most important, she is willing and eager to learn about the game and get better.
DZ: You are in your third year now - on this team that gives you a lot of seniority - do you feel like this is your team; that you are the leader?
AUGUSTUS: Yeah, I've been handed that role. I've been trying to do my best, it's a new position for me so I am just trying to be a motivational leader - not so much a vocal leader - just come out on the court and lead by example.
DZ: You are going to the Olympics next month, how cool would it be to get a gold medal?
AUGUSTUS: It would be very good to get a gold medal. This is my first Olympics, so it's a great experience. This would be the tip-top of my career...it would be something I would cherish for the rest of my life.
DZ: You missed your first (WNBA) game a couple of weeks ago (June 28 - with a toe injury). I know you take a lot of pride in being out there on court, how hard was it for you to sit on the sidelines and watch?
AUGUSTUS: It was very hard. I guess it was a learning experience, getting a feel for what other players go through when they are inactive and things like that. It was hard to sit down and watch my team play without me, but - at the same time - it was a learning experience for myself and for the team. We have a good team with or without me, I still think we could have won that game in San Antonio.
DZ: I saw that your favorite player is Dr. J (Julius Erving). You are young enough - did you ever even see him play in person or TV?
AUGUSTUS: (laughs) I watched ESPN Classic - I watched all of that stuff...Dr. J's game: he could dunk on anybody, had that finesse type of game, he was never out of control, always poised and had that greatness about him.
DZ: Have you ever met him?
AUGUSTUS: Yeah, at the pool tournament at the men's (NBA) All Star Game this year.
DZ: One last thing, I noticed that every year your hair gets longer, when is the last time you got it cut?
AUGUSTUS: Oh gosh....I haven't gotten it cut....I don't think I am going to cut it. By the time I retire, it should be in the middle of my back or down my back...I think this is me, every year I change. Last year I had braids, in college I had braids; (the dreadlocks) are a new thing for me.
(Photo by Maurico Lima/Getty Images)