By Stephen Litel
Since her selection as the number one overall pick in the WNBA Draft, Janel McCarville has heard criticism. Her time with the Charlotte Sting was not as advertised, as the team struggled and the constant chatter continued. As the team folded, it was an opportunity for McCarville to resurrect her career in New York with the Liberty.
“I don’t really listen to the critics at all,” says McCarville. “I mean I hear it, but that’s about it.”
In her first season in the Big Apple during the summer of 2007, McCarville posted career high numbers. She showed the confidence and leadership worthy of her number one selection and brought excitement with her.
“I had an organization that trusted me and put the ball in my hands,” continues McCarville. “Also, getting some actual playing time helped since I was rather limited when I played in Charlotte.”
Yet, as McCarville led the Liberty to a wonderful season, coupled with the best season of her career, fans on message boards continued to mention how she wasn’t a member of the Minnesota Lynx. Minnesota had the opportunity to take the hometown hero when Charlotte folded, but passed and fans consistently argue the merits of the decision. It has to be annoying to hear that discussion constantly, although she’s never been a member of the Minnesota roster.
“Yes and no,” says McCarville. “I was excited about the opportunity to play there, but once they passed on me I set my sights on improving with the Liberty. Sorry, Minnesota!”
Now, as she has quieted a few critics, it would be understandable to want to come into the 2008 season and have a comparable jump in her individual stats. Yet, McCarville shows the maturity and team leadership of a 10-year veteran when asked if that would be the goal.
“I can hope for that, but I don’t really come in thinking that way,” says McCarville. “I’m the type of player that will do what needs to be done. If I don’t need to score in a couple games and only rebound or defend, that’s what I’m going to do.”
“I am very excited for this season,” McCarville adds. “With all that we did last year and having everyone back and adding the newbies, it’s looking nothing but up for us!”
As another number one overall pick makes her WNBA debut in 2008, McCarville also shows her personality when asked, “So, who do you want to guard…Parker or Leslie?”
“I would say that is the question of the year,” says McCarville. “Everyone in the league is going to have to ask themselves that. If I had to choose, I would go with Leslie because – wait, no, Parker because – wait, no, well … I’m torn.”
It’s officially time to let the criticisms of McCarville go and accept her for what she is. She is one of the most blue-collar, hardest working, exciting players in the league. McCarville’s single-minded focus to bring the WNBA championship to New York should be the topic of discussion, as questioning that commitment would be a brief conversation.
Stephen Litel covers the Minnesota Timberwolves and the NBA for HOOPSWORLD
and is a HOOPSWORLD Magazine contributor. Litel also covers the WNBA and
Minnesota Lynx on “The Exchange” for Downtown Journal in Minneapolis,
which can be found at www.downtownjournal.com.
Litel may be reached at email@example.com