Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 3 months ago

Erica McCall | Average to Savage EP145


This is the one hundred and forty-fifth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring Washington Mystics forward Erica McCall. Paul Guarino talked with Erica McCall discussing her career year in 2021, her experience playing at Stanford University, and what it's like having her older sister WNBA All-Star DeWanna Bonner to go to for advice.

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This podcast interview with Erica McCall was originally recorded on September 27, 2021

...this is the average to Savage podcastwith paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone athletes celebs andmuch more. What's up everybody I'm back for another episode of the averageSavage podcast. Our special guest today is Erica Mccall Erica how's it going?Doing well? How about yourself? Doing good? I appreciate you coming on. Thankyou for having me. Yeah let's just let's just go into a recap of uh yourseason. I know it just came to an end. Um but you did have career highs inpretty much everything this year. You played, you started more games than youever did. So what was your overall experience this year? Man experiencewas great for me. I mean it didn't end the way we went in. We didn't makeplayoffs of course. But for me this was my best season of my career. Um Thebest situation of my career coming to D. C. And being with the team and theculture that they have was really good for my mindset, my confidence in whichI believe ultimately led to me having my best season of my career. Yeahdefinitely. Um Yeah always you know obviously always the goal is you knowto make the playoffs and you go for a run like that but I want to also justtake it to the last year in the bubble. Obviously it was a weird year. Um Butyou actually had even crazier experience I would say because you're Ibelieve you're on three teams technically. Yeah. Yeah so I got wavefrom indiana um back Mayor March or something like that like right whenquarantine like began and so I was just on the grind back at home working outand then the bubble, I was like looking at social media and everyone was goingto the bubble and all that. I'm like, man, like I can't wait to get back intothis league. And then about three days or four days after, like the team's gotinto the bubble. I got a call from Atlanta um saying that they wanted me,coach Nikki called me and I was like, okay. And she was like, can you be heretomorrow? And I was like, sure. So packed up all my stuff. Um flew fromBakersfield to florida and was with Atlanta. Well first I was first, I wasthe first ever like free agent like to come in from the bubble. Oh that waslike a crazy experience because they didn't really know, they don't reallyhave like a protocol like I was like the test dummy. So I was in quarantinefor like originally they kept saying I wassupposed to be quarantined for four or five days in my hotel room and then Iwould come out and then test and they would extend the day and extend, extend.And so I think I was in quarantine. True quarantine for eight days. Like itwas literally felt like I was in prison like they knocked on the door, theyslid my food to me. I was doing my pushups in my room, my prison push ups.It was, it was wild. Um and so yeah, finally out of quarantine and got topractice and play one game with Atlanta cells with them for about 10 days. Andthen after they had to cut me because people come back from COVID and sothat's when uh, like Less than 24 hours later in Minnesota called Me and Ijoined Minnesota, like on the bus, 10 minutes after Coach Reese told me I wason the team, she was like, can you make the bus depends. I'm like, sure, likeit took a quick shower of my life and just threw something on and made thebus and everyone gave me a standing ovation, not standing ovation. Theyclap for me on the bus and that was my, my, my intro into Minnesota and I wasin Minnesota for the rest of the season and my first time making playoffs withthem. So, um I love the culture there. I love coach Reeves and sale and feeand they, they have a really great team, full of great players and yeah, thatwas my bubble season in a nutshell. Yeah, you probably had, I meanobviously was crazy, but I would say you have one of the craziest one. Yeah,sure. I always said like it was crazy because I went from being cut to likebeing kind of like the hottest free agent in the bubble because the onlyperson that was, that was available...

...that didn't have to come, you know,quarantine thing. So like once I was free, all the teams were calling me,I'm calling my agent. So I felt really cool there in that moment. That's crazy.I just remember just seeing it on twitter and I was just like, so I'massuming you're just going to stay there and then just like someone's justgonna pick her up. Pretty much. This is pretty much that's what happenedAnyways. That's funny that the bus story is pretty funny. Um just goingback um What was your first like memory of just playing basketball for me? It always goes back to playingand practicing with my dad. He's always been like my first coach, my favoritecoach, he coaches at the University of Bakersfield. Um and he's just paved theway for me and my sister and my siblings, you know, for this basketballgame. And I remember practicing with him in the backyard and remember we hadthis conversation like when I, like when I said, I wanted to become seriouswith basketball and he was like, all right, like, you know, I'm going togive you the tools that you need, you know, to become successful and he gaveme like, he's like four pillars of life that I like live by all the way upuntil really today. Um and it was like, God first, you know, family schoolbasketball and then, you know, like the fifth one was kind of like, and alwayslistened to me. And so, um, that's like what I've lived by, you know, growingup and I think that's one of the main reasons. That's why I became accessiblebecause I always had that foundation in my life. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Andthen just going into high school and things like that, like when did, whendid you know, you were like better than the rest? Yeah. I think I realized inmy freshman year, my freshman year of high school, I realized I was prettygood like towards the end of it, like when I was starting to receiveaccolades and all these awards and stuff and I got uh, freshman of theyear for California, which is huge. So I was like, okay, I'm pretty good atthis game. Yeah, definitely. And then what wasyour recruiting process? Like? Pretty process is crazy. Um, you know, lettersevery single day, like mailbox stuff with letters. My mom would come homewith like 10, 15 letters every day. Um, teams calling me, um, trying to figureout, you know who I wanted to go to. And then it was like, it wasn't likehow it is today, where I'm sorry, I hate what these kids are doing today,what they say they got to offer like every day, like, got offered by,offered by, this should be like, it's just, it wasn't like that, you know, wekept our process kind of more private and we just really focused on what wewant to focus on. And so um my top three were stanford U. C. L. A. AndUConn and so I went on those three visits and had great visits for all ofthem went to a big sean concert from my U. C. L. A. Visit. So that was supercool. Ultimately um I decided stanford was the best college for me justbecause of the team atmosphere. I love the team and the coaches there and ofcourse a stanford agrees like you can't beat that. Plus like when I went thereuh stanford had BSE and we got to rush the field so it was super cool visitand as the reason why I went there I gotta ask what what was your G. P. A.Going like what to get to you in september My G. P. A. was or two inhigh school. So you got straight A's essentially. Yeah I think I have likeone but because you know with a P. Classes they're like differently. Soyeah what was it what was it being that the B. Was in? Probably in calculus.Yeah like math was never my strong. Yeah. Um And then how how is youroverall experience at stanford like on and off the court. Oh I loved it. Iloved my experience at stanford. I mean I think it's the best university in theworld but I'm biased So, but it has anamazing campus, amazing students, they're always love stanford in termsof the academics and just the student life here because many people thinklike that we get treated like athletes get treated like superstars and atstanford retreated like everybody else,...

...we room with everyone else, we roomwith non athletes, it's just like a regular college experience and I reallyappreciated that. Um you know, I know that a lot of schools specific, likethe sec, like they are treated like superstars, like they fly private,they've, they've got it all down all of over there and at stanford, you know,like, like every student and you know, we're no, you know, special, you know,other suits and so I really appreciate that. And of course like your roommatecould be like the next Bill Gates, you know, the next genius. So like thelearning atmosphere, it is so dope. And then of course with basketball, I meancoach Tara Vanderveer is the genius, you know, on her own. And so the waythat she just executes ex's and oh's and then as she became more comfortablewith us, like, especially in my junior senior year, like she became a lot morepersonable, I think like she found the key to success and that's why she wonjust a national championship this last year. Yeah, for sure. And then um justlike looking at the stats, I'm assuming you were just like a role player, yourfirst two years and you started your, your final two years. So what, what wasthat like to just get the chance and then, um, obviously a great to twoyears of junior and senior year. Yeah. You know, my first year, I was justsoaking in the experience. Geneva Kane was my senior, she was a player in thenation at that point. And so I was just soaking it all in, like taking in thewhole experience. We went to the final four, my freshman year, so I couldn'thave dreamed of a better, fresh from the area. And so sophomore year aftershe left, it was like the first year after the Obamacare, like whether theyhad, you know, eight years of good okay there. And this was like, we didn'tknow like what our identity was, my software year and we really struggled.Um, and so that was a big struggle for me, software, it was really tough forme. And so going into junior year, just coming off of, you know, I think I hadplayed at, yeah, I think I played us a um, World University Games and like myconfidence just like blew off the roof after I play, I did really well in thatcompetition. So going into there, I just knew that I need to become abetter leader, become a better player for my team. And so, um, junior senioryear, I really just blossomed. Um, and that's all thanks to my teammates, mycoaches who help me get there. Yeah for sure and yeah I saw to that um youplayed in the in the u 18 world games for the three x three which which isinteresting because I was like I knew it had to be really knew then right?Yeah I think the year before it just started, so this was like the secondyear of three on three, so it was a very new sport and it was really fun umand like remember our first practices, our initial team was it was me umAlicia, Gray diamond, the Shields and Kayla uh Davis, but Alicia end upgetting hurt so then we brought in brown and Turner so it's super coolbecause like also doing well in basketball and so it was a crazy crazyexperience. It was really hard, we thought the practice is going to beeasy, but like three on three is so hard, it's so physically demandingbecause you're always on, there is no rest at all, you just are always goingand so when we went to I think with the Spain and we played it was super cooland I remember we actually Diamond and Kayla had fouled out so it's just meand Briana turning playing three against two, it was like an overtime weend up losing into china, remember that but we end up getting to win the wholegold medal at the end, but I remember that was like a crazy experienceplaying three and we actually did pretty well held our own for what wecould do, but it was that was a super cool moment. Is it crazy to see likethat's an olympic sport now? Yeah, it's wild to see, you know, I never thoughtit would become as big, you know, I just thought it was a kind of a subsport 2-5 on five basketball and to see that it's awesome to an Olympic sportand soon there's going to be you know like national leagues and all that, Ithink it's super cool. Yeah definitely, and then just going into the W. N. B. A.Draft 2017, like where did you see yourself going? And like what were thelike talks about and then uh you got drafted the seven men in the secondround, 17th overall. Um So what were...

...your feelings like uh initially I was just I was excitedto even invited me to the draft, I didn't think I was gonna get invited atall, I was planning on doing something at home and so I was trying to getgoing to the draft because my sister and you know, they wanna she gotdrafted fifth overall to phoenix. And so I was like man it's super cool, likeI'm at the same experiences what my sister got to do and so um when youknow got to the draft and it was like thomas tickin and everyone's name wasgetting called and you know, it started to get a little nerve wrecking, youknow, because people did project me to go higher than what I went and so as Iwent on like it was the last person to get drafted, you know, after at thedraft and so um it was, it felt like forever for my name, but when it didyou know, I was so high, like I didn't I didn't care like I was living mydream, I got drafted, I was at the draft and so and I went to um you knowindiana where you know, to make a catching, you know, we just had justfinished playing. So I'm like man, this team is about to be great and so I lovemy draft experience, you know, of course my time of indiana, you know, wedidn't it's succeed as much as we would like to, but I appreciate every momentthat I have with him for sure. Yeah, just just you saying that answer, didthat like motivate you when when you got when you expect to go higher, itdid it did for me um you know, uh kind of give me a chip on the shoulder, youknow, to go harder and you know to prove to a lot of people, you know thatI am a great basketball player, but of course draft numbers like really don'tmean anything until you get into the league and then you really get to seewhat people are about. And so um yeah, I definitely gave me some extramotivation. Yeah, definitely. I mean, yeah, like people from your draft classaren't even in the league now so that I would say that attest to you stillbeing in the league, appreciate it. Thank you guys think about that. Soyeah, I'm just adding to your point. Um And then yeah, just just going intointo the league and things like that. What what was what would you say likethe biggest difference from like transitioning from college to the pros?I think just the way that you have to think about the game is probably thetoughest thing, like you have to think more and think less at the same timebecause the WB is all about reads, um just knowing where to go, no where tobe at that at the right moment. And so in college you're you're definitelymore programmed to what your plays are to what you're your your team is doing.Um You know, if pretty much everybody in the WB runs the same stuff so wehave to, you know, be able to think differently and no like read thedefense uh differently than what you did in college. And so that wasdefinitely tough for me to learn. But as time has gone on I've become a lotmore comfortable and knowing where my role is on the team and so I thinkthat's why I became so successful with Minnesota and with D. C. Yeah and thenI know your sister do wanna Bonner is also in the league so what was it likegrowing up with her? Um Just as another basketball player, I know she's olderLike eight years. Yeah exactly eight years ago, the same birthday. So that'salso that's crazy. But it was really cool growing up, we didn't grow uptogether because you wanna is from Alabama from Bakersfield and so she uhstayed out there most especially as she got older but when we're younger sheused to come down and she reminds me of this like we used to have birthdayparties together so I was like I have no recollection of that because we wereso young. But even though she lives in Alabama, I lived in California like sheconstantly inspired me and she's still my expression to this day, you knowwhen I was in high school seeing my sister like dominated league you know bsix woman of the year for three times win championships. I was there at herfirst championship for me to see that just inspired me even more to get tothe level where I am today and where I am now you know seeing how much she'sdominated after having twins is incredible for me just knowing that youknow she can continue to thrive and do...

...things even after having birthed andgoing through what she's been through and so she's my constant inspirationand I love her forever. Yeah, definitely. And then do you call herfor advice still to this day? Yeah, I mean definitely. Like especially whenit comes down to big games, when it comes to uh going to a new team, likewhen all that was happening, even when overseas, like I talked to her about mydecisions overseas. Like I'm always asking for advice, you know, whatshould I do? You know, what do you think is the best? Who should I talk to?And so we have the same agent. So that helps out a lot with us and we all havea group chat with my dad, my sister in my agent and we all like always talkabout, you know what advice that I should be getting, where should I begoing, what should be my next move? And so I really love that aspect of it.Yeah, that's awesome. And then what was it like uh what's it like playingagainst her now? And what was it like the first time you got to play againsther in the post? Yeah. The first time I was nervous it was I was the first timeever playing against each other. I mean we didn't play against each other whenwe were kids because we were just always, you know separated and so myfirst time planning is I was like, oh shoot, like this is my chance to getthe show, you know, my sister what I'm all about and um needless to say, Ijust scored on her after three years of playing against her, I just scored onher this year shows how done she scored on me several times before that. So itjust shows how dominant she is. But I I love the moment. I mean this issomething that I've dreamed of as a little girl playing against my sisterin the league um and she's just an amazing player. She continues toinspire me even when she scores on me, I'm like dang, that's my sister. Yeah.And what advice would you give to a younger athletes trying to, you know,either trying to get like a scholarship, trying to make a pro league for me, youknow, it's all about having fun, not thinking too much, You know, when I'vegot in situations where I took the game way too seriously, that's when Istruggled the most and I was constantly worried about my performance and howit's going to be better, you know, that just made things 10 times worse for me.And so I encourage, you know, all young players out there just to love the gameas you did when you were younger when you begin to play, you know, continueto love it each and every day. So that's a blessing to be able to do whatyou do do. You have a scholarship to get to play in the pros, just continueto love it, continue to have fun and I promise success will come with that, I like that and um I know off the offthe court, you just started your own podcast to Bird's Eye View. So whatinspired you to start a podcast and and how, how have things been going? Yeah,so I had a podcast previously a couple years ago and it really didn't, it wasjust me just kind of get into the podcast world. I really didn't havemuch direction and I was doing literally everything from promotion toediting to doing the content work. So it was just a lot for me to to do allwhile I was overseas. So I took a break for it for a while for about threeyears. And so um but I love, I love listening to podcast and I did enjoy itwhen I did was doing it. So I was like, you know, I need to do something that Ireally know, uh something like a subject I really know about. And so Iwas like the like basketball overseas basketball, it's not something that'sreally talked about. Um and so everywhere I go, everyone's asking me,you know what's overseas basketball, like what's the food, like the language,the culture and so I was like, you know why don't start a podcast that you knowanswers all these questions and not just talking about basketball, butdifferent aspects of what overseas basketball is overseas basketballexperience is. And so that's what my podcast is bringing to everyone. I havea couple of episodes already recorded and we didn't want on basketball courtsand then we have one of relationships will have won a motherhood, will haveone on faith food. Um and so the list goes on but I'm really excited for foreveryone to tune in and it's gonna be a fun podcast. Yeah, definitely. I'mgoing to check it out. What is your overseas experience been like and whatcountries have you played in? Yeah, so...

I've played in Hungary all four yearsin the same team which is very rare in the overseas basketball world. Um andso hungry was a beautiful, beautiful experience for me the first my firstyear it was tough because you go in and we talked about this on my episode withSydney weeks in the first episode, we talked about how when you come in likeyou you say like I'm a dominate, you know like I'm an american, I'm about todominate this team, I'm about to get all the points all the rebounds andthat's not the situation when you go up and you are humbled tremendously. Imean it could be for certain players, but for many of us your home, but whenyou go overseas it's it's a different style of play is different style ofmine mindset, different style of physicality and so I had to learn thatquickly and I once again I had to not take myself too seriously and realizethat this is a dream, This is a beautiful experience. I get to doplaying overseas basketball. And so with that, I just love my experience inhungry. That's why I stayed there for four years and so it's been super cool.I've had a lot of success there. I've won cups there, have won the regularseason titles, they're gonna Euro Cup final four. My sister actually playedwith us my last season and hungry. So that was super cool. That was our firsttime getting to play with each other. So hungry by me many blessings overseas,by me many blessings. And I hope that when people listen to podcasts, theyget to receive those Are you are you on over there this year? This season? I amnot. So that's like the big crazy thing. Everyone when they talk to me likeyou're not going back to Hungary not going back to sex. I'm like, I know Ijust felt like it was time for change. I've been there for a really long timeand I have nothing but love for them. But I'll be going to Turkey next season.So I'm really excited for that best because it's in Istanbul. So it's gonnabe super cool. I'm ready for a new experience Are going to feel like arookie all over again because it's a new country, New language, new team,new style of basketball. But I'm excited for the, for the journey. Yeah,that's awesome. Are you ready for some fun questions? Yeah, let's do it. Orwhat? Uh what are three basketball jerseys? You don't own that? You wouldwant. Ooh, good question. Okay. Um, I would love to Shaquille O'neal Jersey.For what? What team? Out of the eight teams? I'd either like a Lakers one orOrlando. Yeah, I was going to save all of those two. Uh let's see. I love atleast a less new Jersey. I don't have one of those. I need that in mypossession. And who? I didn't Cheryl swoopes jersey. But the USA one. All right. They got those. Now I'veseen I've seen they made the restaurant once. I don't know if they I don't knowif they made the lisa Leslie restaurant. Yeah, I don't think so. I haven't seenthat one blessing the scoops out. There's like stuff. I need it. What'syour favorite food? Fair flu. Favorite type of food is mexican, but favoritefood within that category. Angela. I love enchiladas. So good cheese. Justcheez though. No, chicken, you got to get them in California. You have to getin California have to get your mexican food in California. Not text Mex, notArizona mexican food. I went to new york and was highly disappointed in themexican food. So only California where you can get your best mexican food. What's your favorite song right now?Every song right now it's probably uh it's a song by norman E. And it'scalled I'm gonna look it up because I should know my favorite song because Ilistened to him. I think it's called Wild ones Wild Side bam Wild Sideboardby norman E. I've definitely been there where I just listen to a song but haveno idea what they're saying or anything or like I just know it sounds good andI like such a great song but I can I mean the music video though is she'sincredible like an incredible dancer and entertainer. So that's the mainreason why I love this song and then last one. What do you what do you liketo do in your free time? You're in my free time especially with like what I'dlike to do to wind down. I love watching reality tv. I'm a reality T. V.Junkie. I'm not ashamed of it and it's...

...not a guilty pleasure at all. I don'tfeel guilty watching it but I love like I love reality tv since I was a littlegirl like I would watch flavor of love when I was like eight years old. I was that was my intro to reality. So asI've gotten older it's it's been super fun. Which ones are you watchingcurrently? So right now they have it's called the Zeus Network and so it'slike prime time reality tv like super like unedited too. So you really didyou really get the full scope of it? So there's um there's a show called OneMore Chance with uh it's actually like a Tree of flavor of Love which ispretty cool to see. He was on um I love new york which was workers from flavorof Love. So he has his own reality tv show on the news network and so I'vejust started that and it is entertaining the same. Did you watchLove Is Blind? I did. That is one of my shows as well. Yeah I did. I love LoveIs Blind. I watched and I don't usually like those shows and I like that oneand I was like why do I like this right now if you watch your reunion? Uh Idon't know, I don't know. I know they came out with something right after butI think then they come out with one recently. Yeah, so they came out with Idon't think so like all the cast members get together for like a partyand its drama. No I didn't I did not see that. I did not see that one then Ionly saw the one like maybe like the month after one or whatever. They justyeah this is like two years or something. Yeah. Yeah I remember theywere supposed to have another one in Chicago, but I think it never happenedbecause the pandemic concern, but I didn't see another show but I didn'tcheck it out. And they had like um like costume mask on like hell they weretalking, you Watch that one too? Is that the mask? Not the mass singer. No,no, no, no, no, no, it's like a dating one, but they literally had like, oh Ihave to say like a, like a unicorn head on or something that they were talkingto each other, but they were in person but they had Damascus, I think I'veseen a commercial for that and that's very icy. So I will happen. Uh well Iappreciate you coming on and I could do what the listeners know where they canfollow us on social media. Perfect. Thank you. You guys can follow me oninstagram at bird's, the word. Underscored 24 you can follow mypodcast at bird's eye view dot podcast and if you want to follow me on twitterwhere I'm fun and more unedited, you can follow me at Erica Mccall 24. Okay. Yeah,.

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