Catching Up With Essence CarsonJuly 31, 2012
Newark, NJ- Upbeat and optimistic best describes Essence Carson’s demeanor in the New York Liberty locker room. Not one to shy away from post-game comments, Carson can be depended upon to provide her perspective of the game and what she feels the team needs to improve on in order to achieve success.
Carson was drafted seventh overall by the New York Liberty in the 2008 WNBA Draft. In 2011, she averaged 11.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game, and made her first appearance as an All-Star in the 2011 All-Star game. Now in her fifth year with the Liberty, Carson’s career numbers continue to climb as she is currently averaging 11.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
In the first of a two-part interview conducted prior to the Olympic break, SPM chatted with Carson about her season so far and why she loved her most recent offseason experience in Spain.
SPM: What do you think has changed about the league since your rookie year?
Essence Carson: Wow, each year I’ve been in the league, it has improved greatly as far as the players go. They become more athletic each and every year. The level and IQ of players continues to go up. As a whole, it’s just more competitive each and every year.
SPM: How do you feel about the Liberty’s season so far?
EC: It was just the first half of the season, so I know we can still improve and still end up with a winning record. We started off really slow and that was disappointing, but we’d rather start slow and finish strong, than to start strong and fizzle out.
SPM: What challenges does the team need to overcome in order to improve?
EC: We have to overcome those times in the game when we become stagnant on offense and when we don’t get back in transition. It just seems in that one period of the game everything goes wrong. Then you look at the scores through every other quarter, the game is always pretty even. So, if we get rid of that, being stagnant, we’ll be fine.
SPM: What goals have you set yourself this season?
EC: Just to pick up where I left off last year. I was an All-Star last year and this year I wanted to come back and improve my shooting – three-point shooting, that is and remain aggressive. Also, just to continue to come back even stronger on defense.
SPM: What motivates or inspires you to be at the top of your game day in and day out?
EC: I have a lot of things that motivate me, whether it’s family members or just going out there and being a true competitor and wanting to be one of the best players. Those are just two of the many things that motivate me.
SPM: What is the biggest lesson basketball has taught you?
EC: That you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it. Put your mind to it and you really believe in it, you’ll be able to do it.
SPM: What do you enjoy most about playing for the Liberty?
EC: I enjoy being a part of this organization. Growing up and watching them play basketball, it was always a dream to play in the Garden. Also, just being able to stay close to home.
SPM: You spent your most recent offseason playing for Rivas Ecopolis, a team in Spain. What can you share about the experience?
EC: It was a great experience. Spain is a beautiful country. The people there are very warm and welcoming. They also play a good game of basketball. It was all around a great experience for me.
SPM: In all of your overseas adventures, what is your favorite town or country you’ve visited?
EC: Definitely it has to be Spain overall. Again, everyone is just so welcoming. In Madrid it didn’t snow, so it was wonderful. It was a great year and it was warm pretty much all year. The food was great and I just love the whole culture.
SPM: How important is it for a player like yourself to play professionally year round?
EC: It’s important because you get to improve on certain areas of your game. You use it as your practice time, but it’s like a high level practice because the competition in Europe is so good that you can never take any days off. It forces you to be a better player.
SPM: What’s one thing Liberty fans can look forward to after the Olympic break?
EC: Some wins. (smiles)
In Part Two to be posted later this week, get to know more about Essence Carson, as she shares more about the musical side of her life.