Ayanna Moore sent her daughter off to college with strict marching orders: No retreat.
"I cannot go home,'' Nia Moore said, smiling.
In other words, the Tennessee women's basketball freshman cannot call home with the imaginary sob story she told Monday after a team workout at Pratt Pavilion.
"I quit mom; we had the first practice today, it was tough and I couldn't get through it," Moore said. "If I said something like that, no, no way. If I said something like that (mom would say) 'Are you serious Nia?' That's not allowed."
Moore's mandate is to treat the entirety of her collegiate experience — basketball and education — as if it were a job. Value the opportunity and take care of your business.
"She said this is what I'm living for,'' Moore said.
To date, the 6-foot-3 Moore has lived a rather full life. While her mother advocated her daughter playing school sports such as volleyball and basketball, Moore's grandmother was ushering Moore and her twin sister, Annaya, to music class. At one point, Moore played the saxophone, clarinet and piano.
"Every Sunday, she would have us going to music class,'' Moore said. "That's what we did first. We were very busy. We really didn't have any time to go outside and play."
That might have been part of the plan, too. Moore, a spring addition to UT's roster after she was released from her letter of intent to attend Illinois, grew up as one of four children on the South Side of Chicago. She conceded that it wasn't always advisable to be outside playing in her tough neighborhood. Therefore, Moore's mother was looking out for her children by keeping an eye on their future.
"She doesn't want us ending up like the people we see,'' Moore said, "standing on the corner, you know, doing nothing."
Q: You're interested in studying psychology. Any future plans already in mind?
A: I want to be a child psychologist. I love children. I have three younger brothers so I spend most of my time looking after them. That's probably what got me intrigued. It's my passion.
Q: Even though she's
your twin, are you and your sister really alike?
A: I would have to say we're opposites. I would say she's more outgoing than me, pretty much, very outgoing. I would choose to stay home. I was always with my younger brothers. She would choose to go to the mall and hang out with friends.
Q: Did you enjoy playing volleyball?
A: I really didn't get to experience it that much because they took me right over to basketball. It was my freshman year. But for like two weeks, I enjoyed it."
Q: Your mom told me the only thing you didn't like about volleyball was the uniforms. Is that right?
A: The shorts! They kept riding up. I didn't understand the point of the small shorts. You could play in basketball shorts, you know.
Q: You transferred to Bolingbrook High, played on a state championship team and played with great players there. How much did that do for you basketball-wise.
A: Playing with Coach (Anthony) Smith at Bolingbrook and the Lady Raiders, I would say that's what got me ready for the next level of competition. The stuff my coach had us doing — 5 a.m. workouts, weights, running on the football field and then coming in doing court work — that's what got me ready for this level.