Maya Moore is the hottest commodity in women’s professional basketball, but she hasn’t forgotten her roots.
Moore, who attended Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County but played AAU basketball in south DeKalb, set records at the University of Connecticut and led the Minnesota Lynx to the WNBA championship last fall in her first pro season. She visited Southwest DeKalb High School on Dec. 20 for Maya’s Merry Christmas Clinic. More than 160 middle school and high school players from as far away as Florida and South Carolina attended the free camp.
“This is about more than basketball,” Moore said. “It’s about leadership, work ethic and what it’s like to be a great teammate. I always like to get out there and help kids.”
Each participant received a Nike Michael Jordan Brand bag, a camp T-shirt and had the opportunity to get her picture taken with the WNBA superstar. Moore was the WNBA rookie of the year last season and earlier this year became the first female player signed by the Michael Jordan Brand.
Organizers brought in a photo booth where Moore took pictures with two campers at a time during the eight-hour event.
“It’s been a great experience; I’m very fortunate to be here,” said Southwest DeKalb varsity player Nekia Sockwell. “I’m crazy and fun, and she’s crazy and fun so we got some great pictures. She knows when to be serious and when to have fun.”
The camp staff included several DeKalb ties, including Southwest DeKalb girls varsity coach Kathy Walton, and former St. Pius and Tennessee standout Kelly Cain.
In addition to taking photos, Moore participated in drills with the campers.
“There’s a lot of history here for me and I know a lot of the players and coaches,” said Moore, who was coached by Walton on the AAU level. “Both boys and girls teams are so competitive here. You can find different players to help you develop.”
Moore played with the Georgia Metros Girls Basketball Club, which was founded in south DeKalb County 28 years ago. The AAU program has sent nearly 400 female players to college on basketball scholarships.
“I want to continue to be involved in some way,” Moore said. “I always enjoy getting out on the court and teaching. It’s in my blood.”