Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 1 year 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 podcast with paul Guerrino. Everyone in anyone athletes celebs and much more. What's up everybody I'm back for another episode of the average Savage 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. Thank you for having me. Yeah let's just let's just go into a recap of uh your season. I know it just came to an end. Um but you did have career highs in pretty much everything this year. You played, you started more games than you ever did. So what was your overall experience this year? Man experience was great for me. I mean it didn't end the way we went in. We didn't make playoffs of course. But for me this was my best season of my career. Um The best situation of my career coming to D. C. And being with the team and the culture that they have was really good for my mindset, my confidence in which I believe ultimately led to me having my best season of my career. Yeah definitely. Um Yeah always you know obviously always the goal is you know to make the playoffs and you go for a run like that but I want to also just take it to the last year in the bubble. Obviously it was a weird year. Um But you actually had even crazier experience I would say because you're I believe you're on three teams technically. Yeah. Yeah so I got wave from indiana um back Mayor March or something like that like right when quarantine like began and so I was just on the grind back at home working out and then the bubble, I was like looking at social media and everyone was going to the bubble and all that. I'm like, man, like I can't wait to get back into this league. And then about three days or four days after, like the team's got into 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 here tomorrow? And I was like, sure. So packed up all my stuff. Um flew from Bakersfield to florida and was with Atlanta. Well first I was first, I was the first ever like free agent like to come in from the bubble. Oh that was like a crazy experience because they didn't really know, they don't really have like a protocol like I was like the test dummy. So I was in quarantine for like originally they kept saying I was supposed to be quarantined for four or five days in my hotel room and then I would 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 it was literally felt like I was in prison like they knocked on the door, they slid 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 to practice and play one game with Atlanta cells with them for about 10 days. And then after they had to cut me because people come back from COVID and so that's when uh, like Less than 24 hours later in Minnesota called Me and I joined Minnesota, like on the bus, 10 minutes after Coach Reese told me I was on the team, she was like, can you make the bus depends. I'm like, sure, like it took a quick shower of my life and just threw something on and made the bus and everyone gave me a standing ovation, not standing ovation. They clap for me on the bus and that was my, my, my intro into Minnesota and I was in Minnesota for the rest of the season and my first time making playoffs with them. So, um I love the culture there. I love coach Reeves and sale and fee and they, they have a really great team, full of great players and yeah, that was my bubble season in a nutshell. Yeah, you probably had, I mean obviously 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 like being kind of like the hottest free agent in the bubble because the only person 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'm assuming you're just going to stay there and then just like someone's just gonna pick her up. Pretty much. This is pretty much that's what happened Anyways. That's funny that the bus story is pretty funny. Um just going back um What was your first like memory of just playing basketball for me? It always goes back to playing and practicing with my dad. He's always been like my first coach, my favorite coach, he coaches at the University of Bakersfield. Um and he's just paved the way for me and my sister and my siblings, you know, for this basketball game. And I remember practicing with him in the backyard and remember we had this conversation like when I, like when I said, I wanted to become serious with basketball and he was like, all right, like, you know, I'm going to give you the tools that you need, you know, to become successful and he gave me like, he's like four pillars of life that I like live by all the way up until really today. Um and it was like, God first, you know, family school basketball and then, you know, like the fifth one was kind of like, and always listened to me. And so, um, that's like what I've lived by, you know, growing up and I think that's one of the main reasons. That's why I became accessible because I always had that foundation in my life. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And then just going into high school and things like that, like when did, when did you know, you were like better than the rest? Yeah. I think I realized in my freshman year, my freshman year of high school, I realized I was pretty good like towards the end of it, like when I was starting to receive accolades and all these awards and stuff and I got uh, freshman of the year for California, which is huge. So I was like, okay, I'm pretty good at this game. Yeah, definitely. And then what was your recruiting process? Like? Pretty process is crazy. Um, you know, letters every single day, like mailbox stuff with letters. My mom would come home with like 10, 15 letters every day. Um, teams calling me, um, trying to figure out, you know who I wanted to go to. And then it was like, it wasn't like how 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, we kept our process kind of more private and we just really focused on what we want to focus on. And so um my top three were stanford U. C. L. A. And UConn and so I went on those three visits and had great visits for all of them went to a big sean concert from my U. C. L. A. Visit. So that was super cool. Ultimately um I decided stanford was the best college for me just because of the team atmosphere. I love the team and the coaches there and of course a stanford agrees like you can't beat that. Plus like when I went there uh stanford had BSE and we got to rush the field so it was super cool visit and 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 in high school. So you got straight A's essentially. Yeah I think I have like one but because you know with a P. Classes they're like differently. So yeah 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 your overall experience at stanford like on and off the court. Oh I loved it. I loved my experience at stanford. I mean I think it's the best university in the world but I'm biased So, but it has an amazing campus, amazing students, they're always love stanford in terms of the academics and just the student life here because many people think like that we get treated like athletes get treated like superstars and at stanford retreated like everybody else,...

...we room with everyone else, we room with non athletes, it's just like a regular college experience and I really appreciated that. Um you know, I know that a lot of schools specific, like the 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 roommate could be like the next Bill Gates, you know, the next genius. So like the learning atmosphere, it is so dope. And then of course with basketball, I mean coach Tara Vanderveer is the genius, you know, on her own. And so the way that she just executes ex's and oh's and then as she became more comfortable with us, like, especially in my junior senior year, like she became a lot more personable, I think like she found the key to success and that's why she won just a national championship this last year. Yeah, for sure. And then um just like looking at the stats, I'm assuming you were just like a role player, your first two years and you started your, your final two years. So what, what was that like to just get the chance and then, um, obviously a great to two years of junior and senior year. Yeah. You know, my first year, I was just soaking in the experience. Geneva Kane was my senior, she was a player in the nation at that point. And so I was just soaking it all in, like taking in the whole experience. We went to the final four, my freshman year, so I couldn't have dreamed of a better, fresh from the area. And so sophomore year after she left, it was like the first year after the Obamacare, like whether they had, you know, eight years of good okay there. And this was like, we didn't know 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 for me. And so going into junior year, just coming off of, you know, I think I had played at, yeah, I think I played us a um, World University Games and like my confidence just like blew off the roof after I play, I did really well in that competition. So going into there, I just knew that I need to become a better leader, become a better player for my team. And so, um, junior senior year, I really just blossomed. Um, and that's all thanks to my teammates, my coaches who help me get there. Yeah for sure and yeah I saw to that um you played in the in the u 18 world games for the three x three which which is interesting 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 second year of three on three, so it was a very new sport and it was really fun um and like remember our first practices, our initial team was it was me um Alicia, Gray diamond, the Shields and Kayla uh Davis, but Alicia end up getting hurt so then we brought in brown and Turner so it's super cool because like also doing well in basketball and so it was a crazy crazy experience. It was really hard, we thought the practice is going to be easy, but like three on three is so hard, it's so physically demanding because you're always on, there is no rest at all, you just are always going and so when we went to I think with the Spain and we played it was super cool and I remember we actually Diamond and Kayla had fouled out so it's just me and Briana turning playing three against two, it was like an overtime we end up losing into china, remember that but we end up getting to win the whole gold medal at the end, but I remember that was like a crazy experience playing three and we actually did pretty well held our own for what we could do, but it was that was a super cool moment. Is it crazy to see like that's an olympic sport now? Yeah, it's wild to see, you know, I never thought it would become as big, you know, I just thought it was a kind of a sub sport 2-5 on five basketball and to see that it's awesome to an Olympic sport and soon there's going to be you know like national leagues and all that, I think 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 the like talks about and then uh you got drafted the seven men in the second round, 17th overall. Um So what were...

...your feelings like uh initially I was just I was excited to even invited me to the draft, I didn't think I was gonna get invited at all, I was planning on doing something at home and so I was trying to get going to the draft because my sister and you know, they wanna she got drafted fifth overall to phoenix. And so I was like man it's super cool, like I'm at the same experiences what my sister got to do and so um when you know got to the draft and it was like thomas tickin and everyone's name was getting called and you know, it started to get a little nerve wrecking, you know, because people did project me to go higher than what I went and so as I went on like it was the last person to get drafted, you know, after at the draft and so um it was, it felt like forever for my name, but when it did you know, I was so high, like I didn't I didn't care like I was living my dream, I got drafted, I was at the draft and so and I went to um you know indiana where you know, to make a catching, you know, we just had just finished playing. So I'm like man, this team is about to be great and so I love my draft experience, you know, of course my time of indiana, you know, we didn't it's succeed as much as we would like to, but I appreciate every moment that I have with him for sure. Yeah, just just you saying that answer, did that like motivate you when when you got when you expect to go higher, it did it did for me um you know, uh kind of give me a chip on the shoulder, you know, to go harder and you know to prove to a lot of people, you know that I am a great basketball player, but of course draft numbers like really don't mean anything until you get into the league and then you really get to see what people are about. And so um yeah, I definitely gave me some extra motivation. Yeah, definitely. I mean, yeah, like people from your draft class aren't even in the league now so that I would say that attest to you still being in the league, appreciate it. Thank you guys think about that. So yeah, I'm just adding to your point. Um And then yeah, just just going into into the league and things like that. What what was what would you say like the 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 the toughest thing, like you have to think more and think less at the same time because the WB is all about reads, um just knowing where to go, no where to be at that at the right moment. And so in college you're you're definitely more 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 we have to, you know, be able to think differently and no like read the defense uh differently than what you did in college. And so that was definitely tough for me to learn. But as time has gone on I've become a lot more comfortable and knowing where my role is on the team and so I think that's why I became so successful with Minnesota and with D. C. Yeah and then I know your sister do wanna Bonner is also in the league so what was it like growing up with her? Um Just as another basketball player, I know she's older Like eight years. Yeah exactly eight years ago, the same birthday. So that's also that's crazy. But it was really cool growing up, we didn't grow up together because you wanna is from Alabama from Bakersfield and so she uh stayed out there most especially as she got older but when we're younger she used to come down and she reminds me of this like we used to have birthday parties together so I was like I have no recollection of that because we were so young. But even though she lives in Alabama, I lived in California like she constantly inspired me and she's still my expression to this day, you know when I was in high school seeing my sister like dominated league you know b six woman of the year for three times win championships. I was there at her first championship for me to see that just inspired me even more to get to the level where I am today and where I am now you know seeing how much she's dominated after having twins is incredible for me just knowing that you know she can continue to thrive and do...

...things even after having birthed and going through what she's been through and so she's my constant inspiration and I love her forever. Yeah, definitely. And then do you call her for advice still to this day? Yeah, I mean definitely. Like especially when it comes down to big games, when it comes to uh going to a new team, like when all that was happening, even when overseas, like I talked to her about my decisions overseas. Like I'm always asking for advice, you know, what should 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 have a group chat with my dad, my sister in my agent and we all like always talk about, you know what advice that I should be getting, where should I be going, 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 playing against her now? And what was it like the first time you got to play against her in the post? Yeah. The first time I was nervous it was I was the first time ever playing against each other. I mean we didn't play against each other when we were kids because we were just always, you know separated and so my first time planning is I was like, oh shoot, like this is my chance to get the show, you know, my sister what I'm all about and um needless to say, I just scored on her after three years of playing against her, I just scored on her this year shows how done she scored on me several times before that. So it just shows how dominant she is. But I I love the moment. I mean this is something that I've dreamed of as a little girl playing against my sister in the league um and she's just an amazing player. She continues to inspire 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, you know, it's all about having fun, not thinking too much, You know, when I've got in situations where I took the game way too seriously, that's when I struggled the most and I was constantly worried about my performance and how it'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 game as you did when you were younger when you begin to play, you know, continue to love it each and every day. So that's a blessing to be able to do what you do do. You have a scholarship to get to play in the pros, just continue to love it, continue to have fun and I promise success will come with that, I like that and um I know off the off the court, you just started your own podcast to Bird's Eye View. So what inspired 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 was just me just kind of get into the podcast world. I really didn't have much direction and I was doing literally everything from promotion to editing to doing the content work. So it was just a lot for me to to do all while I was overseas. So I took a break for it for a while for about three years. And so um but I love, I love listening to podcast and I did enjoy it when I did was doing it. So I was like, you know, I need to do something that I really know, uh something like a subject I really know about. And so I was like the like basketball overseas basketball, it's not something that's really 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 know answers all these questions and not just talking about basketball, but different aspects of what overseas basketball is overseas basketball experience is. And so that's what my podcast is bringing to everyone. I have a couple of episodes already recorded and we didn't want on basketball courts and then we have one of relationships will have won a motherhood, will have one on faith food. Um and so the list goes on but I'm really excited for for everyone to tune in and it's gonna be a fun podcast. Yeah, definitely. I'm going to check it out. What is your overseas experience been like and what countries have you played in? Yeah, so...

I've played in Hungary all four years in the same team which is very rare in the overseas basketball world. Um and so hungry was a beautiful, beautiful experience for me the first my first year it was tough because you go in and we talked about this on my episode with Sydney weeks in the first episode, we talked about how when you come in like you you say like I'm a dominate, you know like I'm an american, I'm about to dominate this team, I'm about to get all the points all the rebounds and that's not the situation when you go up and you are humbled tremendously. I mean it could be for certain players, but for many of us your home, but when you go overseas it's it's a different style of play is different style of mine mindset, different style of physicality and so I had to learn that quickly and I once again I had to not take myself too seriously and realize that this is a dream, This is a beautiful experience. I get to do playing overseas basketball. And so with that, I just love my experience in hungry. 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 regular season titles, they're gonna Euro Cup final four. My sister actually played with us my last season and hungry. So that was super cool. That was our first time 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, they get to receive those Are you are you on over there this year? This season? I am not. So that's like the big crazy thing. Everyone when they talk to me like you're not going back to Hungary not going back to sex. I'm like, I know I just felt like it was time for change. I've been there for a really long time and 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 gonna be super cool. I'm ready for a new experience Are going to feel like a rookie 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. Or what? Uh what are three basketball jerseys? You don't own that? You would want. 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 or Orlando. Yeah, I was going to save all of those two. Uh let's see. I love at least a less new Jersey. I don't have one of those. I need that in my possession. And who? I didn't Cheryl swoopes jersey. But the USA one. All right. They got those. Now I've seen I've seen they made the restaurant once. I don't know if they I don't know if they made the lisa Leslie restaurant. Yeah, I don't think so. I haven't seen that one blessing the scoops out. There's like stuff. I need it. What's your favorite food? Fair flu. Favorite type of food is mexican, but favorite food within that category. Angela. I love enchiladas. So good cheese. Just cheez though. No, chicken, you got to get them in California. You have to get in California have to get your mexican food in California. Not text Mex, not Arizona mexican food. I went to new york and was highly disappointed in the mexican 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's called I'm gonna look it up because I should know my favorite song because I listened to him. I think it's called Wild ones Wild Side bam Wild Sideboard by norman E. I've definitely been there where I just listen to a song but have no idea what they're saying or anything or like I just know it sounds good and I like such a great song but I can I mean the music video though is she's incredible like an incredible dancer and entertainer. So that's the main reason why I love this song and then last one. What do you what do you like to do in your free time? You're in my free time especially with like what I'd like 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't feel guilty watching it but I love like I love reality tv since I was a little girl like I would watch flavor of love when I was like eight years old. I was that was my intro to reality. So as I've gotten older it's it's been super fun. Which ones are you watching currently? So right now they have it's called the Zeus Network and so it's like prime time reality tv like super like unedited too. So you really did you really get the full scope of it? So there's um there's a show called One More Chance with uh it's actually like a Tree of flavor of Love which is pretty cool to see. He was on um I love new york which was workers from flavor of Love. So he has his own reality tv show on the news network and so I've just started that and it is entertaining the same. Did you watch Love Is Blind? I did. That is one of my shows as well. Yeah I did. I love Love Is Blind. I watched and I don't usually like those shows and I like that one and I was like why do I like this right now if you watch your reunion? Uh I don't know, I don't know. I know they came out with something right after but I think then they come out with one recently. Yeah, so they came out with I don't think so like all the cast members get together for like a party and its drama. No I didn't I did not see that. I did not see that one then I only saw the one like maybe like the month after one or whatever. They just yeah this is like two years or something. Yeah. Yeah I remember they were supposed to have another one in Chicago, but I think it never happened because the pandemic concern, but I didn't see another show but I didn't check it out. And they had like um like costume mask on like hell they were talking, 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 I have to say like a, like a unicorn head on or something that they were talking to each other, but they were in person but they had Damascus, I think I've seen a commercial for that and that's very icy. So I will happen. Uh well I appreciate you coming on and I could do what the listeners know where they can follow us on social media. Perfect. Thank you. You guys can follow me on instagram at bird's, the word. Underscored 24 you can follow my podcast at bird's eye view dot podcast and if you want to follow me on twitter where I'm fun and more unedited, you can follow me at Erica Mccall 24. Okay. Yeah,.

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