Q&A with Lynx Center Jessica Adair

When the Minnesota Lynx opened training camp in May, their 11-player roster was nearly set. Nine women were locks and Alexis Hornbuckle was expected to beat out rookies Kachine Alexander and Angel Robinson for the last guard spot. The only real battle was between Quanitra Hollingsworth, the 9th pick in the 2009 draft, and Jessica Adair, who Lynx signed as a free agent late last season, for the third center slot.

Adair eventual won out when Hollingsworth was traded to New York on May 27, but her struggle was not over. With veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin the starting center, Adair had to fight rookie Amber Harris, the 4th pick in April’s draft, for minutes as McWilliams-Franklin’s backup. She surprised many by winning that battle too.

With the playoffs looming, the 24-year-old will be asked to provide muscle, toughness and rebounding off the bench during what should be a lengthy postseason run. I caught up with Adair after practice last week to get her thoughts on a memorable season.

DZ: This is your first full season in the league, how’s it been going for you?

ADAIR: Awesome so far. I am excited to be here (and) learning as much as I can so I am better next season.

DZ: You did get a little action last year – a few practices, played in one game – did that help you at all coming into this year knowing what to expect?

ADAIR: Last year my body was a lot different. Knowing what to expect – I think overseas helped me with that a lot a lot more than last (WNBA) season because it was preseason games and the end of the season last year. It helped me a little bit, but I think overseas was the bulk of where I got most of my confidence and adjusting to my body and stuff like that.

DZ: How has your body changed, you mentioned that?

ADAIR: I lost 30 lbs since last season, so I am pretty much faster and stronger in certain areas…(I did) a lot of cardio, P90X workout, Insanity workouts, a lot of extra running, eating right.

DZ: You came to camp this year and weren’t guaranteed a job. It was real competitive – not a lot of open spots on this roster. What was your mindset coming in?

ADAIR: To do my best and make the team. Coach Reeve had talked to me prior to coming into camp and told me what I needed to do and if I did it then I would make the team. I tried my best to do what she asked me to do and I’m here.

DZ: Once the season started – obviously Taj is the starter but it was kind of between you and Amber for those minutes after that. That was another competition you had to go through. What was that like?

ADAIR: At that point we were both teammates so we wanted to push each other to be better. Whether (Harris) gets the minutes or I get the minutes, we are all teammates. I am working hard and I want those minutes, but if she gets those minutes, I am happy for her.

DZ: I mentioned Taj too. (She is) 40-years-old, still getting it done. What’s it like playing with her, what have you learned?

ADAIR: It’s awesome playing with her because she knows everything I am supposed to be doing on the court, so I am messing up, doing something wrong, she is always there in my ear telling me “You need to be doing this, you should be doing that”. She helps me on and off the court and she has a lot to teach so I am learning everyday.

DZ: Is she the type of person who would take you under her wing right away or did you have to get to know her first?

ADAIR: She takes you under her wing right away, almost instantly…She’s a mom; it’s natural for her to be that way.

DZ: Is it hard not to look ahead to the playoffs even though you still have a few games left?

ADAIR: As a professional, you have to keep your focus. It’s one day at a time, each team we play is a stepping stone to where we want to be. We have to take each team seriously, especially in this league. Every team is so good; you never know what is going to happen. We are No. 1 today, but tomorrow someone else could be No. 1 – you never know what could happen.

DZ: I read that you had a twin sister, Jazmine, that you played with in college (George Washington), what is she up to these days?

ADAIR: She is getting her masters at GW and teaching at our high school, Anacostia High School (in Washington, DC).

See more of David Zingler’s interviews with Lynx players:

August 26: Seimone Augustus
July 29: Monica Wright
July 12: Taj McWilliams-Franklin

One Response to “Q&A with Lynx Center Jessica Adair”

  1. MinnesotaSCORE » Q&A with Lynx Forward Charde Houston Says:

    […] 7: Jessica Adair August 26: Seimone Augustus July 29: Monica Wright July 12: Taj McWilliams-Franklin   […]

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