The W Guest Post: Janel McCarville
J-Mac talks about the highs and lows of ballin’ overseas.
Janel McCarville, of the New York Liberty, has consistently been a fan favorite everywhere she goes. In college at Minnesota, she and Lindsay Whalen helped resurrect the women’s basketball program into a national powerhouse before being drafted as the #1 overall pick by the Charlotte Sting in 2005. McCarville has established herself as one of the most versatile and effective post players in the WNBA today as well as one of the most respected. Along with new teammates Cappie Pondexter and Nicole Powell, McCarville and the Liberty are more than ready to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. On a personal note, from one tattoo lover to another, she has some of the coolest tats in the entire league.
Currently, McCarville is overseas in Russia playing with Spartak Moscow. Below, we are fortunate enough to get an inside glimpse from Janel on the trials and tribulations of life in Europe during the WNBA off-season. Many thanks to Janel for taking the time share her thoughts. Be sure to leave your comments and/or questions for her below.—Ben York / @bjyork
by Janel McCarville
Playing in Europe allows you to have so many experiences rolled into an amazing year.
Depending if your WNBA team is in the playoffs determines when players need to report to their overseas team. For the most part, players are asked to report anywhere from middle to late September. This past fall, I was headed into the second year of my two-year deal with CSKA Moscow, but two weeks before I was scheduled to report, the team folded. I rolled with the punches though and was not worried. Within almost hours of me finding out about CSKA folding, one of the best women’s clubs in Europe, Spartak, was knocking at my doorstep. I didn’t even think twice about signing. Within days, I was headed to Turkey to meet the team for a lil’ mini-camp.
My team’s official name is actually called Spartak Moscow Region Vidnoje. This team is filled with WNBA and European All-Stars such as Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Sylvia Fowles, Anete Jekabsone and coach Pokey Chatman. Our arena is pretty new, holds about 5,000 fans and this year we have only lost one game at home (to UMMC) just before Christmas break. I currently live in the ‘burbs of Moscow, in a city called Vidnoje.
Having a chance to play with so much talent on one team has been amazing. We finished first in Euroleague women’s play, and have the No. 1 seed going into the Final Four that is being held in Valencia, Spain. There we will face another Russian Powerhouse in UMMC. Their roster consists of (my new Liberty teammate) Cappie Pondexter, Deanna Nolan, Agnieszka Bibrzycka, Sandrine Gruda, Candace Parker, Maria Steponova, Svetlana Abrosimova, Ann Wauters and my old head coach from CSKA, Gundas Vetra.
It is a different life over here and it’s not always easy to understand. Earlier in the year, our owner and general manager was gunned down in downtown Moscow the day before my birthday. We, the team, had all gathered at his office waiting for him to go to the Beyonce concert. We could tell something was off the way people were acting, though most of them didn’t speak English. We finally got word of what had happened. As far as we know, they don’t expect to ever find the people who did it. Shabtai was very good to us and treated us like family. He is in a better place these days, but is missed so much, by so many!
If you have any questions for me about life overseas, leave me a comment or follow me (@JanelMcCarville) on Twitter.