Our latest 'Big Interview' is with Molly Moffitt, who is part of the Ireland Women's U20 team that competes this week in the FIBA European Challengers. Molly joined the team from Seattle, Washington where she played with Seattle Prep. This will be Molly's Irish international debut, after she gained citizenship through her grandparents, who originated from Claregalway.
How have you found the move to Ireland so far? Is there anything really big that is different here from back home in Seattle? Any major culture shocks?
The move to Ireland so far has been fantastic! Everyone I have met has been so welcoming and nice. The people here are phenomenal. The weather is pretty similar to Seattle but the big difference which has been hard to get used to is the driving on the left side of the road. Also the food here is the best I’ve ever had. The toasties are delicious and the chocolate is so good!
What was it like joining the Irish U20 Women's team at first?
It was great! The girls made my transition so smooth and easy. They are all great to be around and very welcoming. They made me feel apart of the team right when I got there. Some of the nicest girls I’ve ever met. Truly a special group!
How are preparations going with the Irish U20 Women's team?
Preparations with the team are going really well! Every session we are getting better and we all want to give it our all in the tournament. We have had two practice games against the Senior Women Team and have undergone major improvements each game. It’s been been fun playing with girls who are eager to succeed and put their best foot forward.
Do you hope to continue to play abroad following your time with the Irish U20 Women's team?
Yes definitely! Playing abroad has been an amazing experience and I feel so thankful to be a part of the U20 Irish Women’s Team. I have met some truly amazing people and the coaching staff has taught me a lot about international basketball and the game itself.
What does it mean to you to get to represent Ireland in a European competition?
It means so much to be able to represent Ireland in a European competition. I feel honored and thankful that I get to do so. My grandma was born in Galway and I am so glad I get to make her proud by representing her country and playing for a place that I have really grown to love.
Since arriving, have you noticed much of a difference in the approach taken to basketball by Martin Conroy, U20 Women's head coach, compared to your coaches back home?
Coach Conroy is easily one of the best coaches I have ever been coached by. He gets the best out of his players, makes practices engaging, and is approachable. He cares about each and every one of his players and does everything he can to put them in the best position possible to succeed. I have never met a more caring coach who values work ethic and community. It’s been an honor to play for him and I am so excited to compete in Hungary.
Molly Moffitt with Ireland U20 Women's Head Coach Martin Conroy
Similarly, do you notice much difference in the style of play here in Ireland compared to at home in the US?
Yes definitely! At home I felt like there was a lot more one-on-one play. Coming over here I have really learned how to move without the ball and hit cutters fast.
How were you first introduced to basketball growing up?
I was first introduced to basketball through my parents - they let me play all the sports but basketball really stuck with me. I played for my local boys and girls club, and continued to get more serious about the sport as I got older. I also played lacrosse at a high level but realised that basketball was what I loved the most.
What is so special about basketball for you? What is your favourite thing about it?
I love team sports and basketball is a game that requires chemistry and teamwork. Basketball is so special to me because it’s enabled me to travel all over and explore places I never thought I would. It’s led me to some of my best friends and has taught me the importance of collaboration and hard work.
Is there anyone that has been instrumental in your progress in basketball?
I would say my parents have been extremely instrumental in my progress in basketball. They have always been so supportive of my dreams and goals to play basketball at a high level and have always put me in the right place for me to succeed. Even through Covid they continued to support and help me grow as a player and as an individual.
Are there any basketball players / coaches / other athletes that inspire you?
I would say my brother Jack is an athlete that inspires me. He is currently a pitcher at Gonzaga University and someone that I have always looked up to. He has taught me the importance of resilience and that if you want something badly enough, keep working hard and moving forward towards your goal.
What is the toughest thing about basketball for you?
The toughest thing about basketball for me would probably be my self talk. I tend to get down on myself at times and I am slowly learning to always think ‘next play’ and talk positively to myself instead of negatively.
What advice would you give to young girls playing basketball in Ireland & back home in Seattle?
I would say that anything is possible! You never know what doors will open when one shuts. Coming to Ireland was a huge jump for me, but if you want to play basketball you will always find a way.
Is basketball big where you're from? Do you support any teams locally or in the NBA?
Basketball is big where I’m from - a lot of kids play it but I wouldn’t say everyone watches it, at least not the NBA. We sadly don’t have an NBA team but everyone I know supports college basketball and watches a lot of it. I like supporting Gonzaga University’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams as well as the Seattle Seahawks football team.
How important do you find nutrition & recovery to be as part of your development as a player?
I think nutrition and recovery is a very important part of my development. As I am getting older I am realizing how crucial it is to practice good habits to keep as healthy as I can moving forward and as I get older.
You recently graduated from Seattle Prep high school. Do you have any plans for the next chapter in your life?
I am planning on attending a basketball prep school next year in the states called Putnam Science Academy, in Connecticut. It will be a great opportunity to get recruited by some universities and meet new people.
What are your aspirations for your basketball career? Do you have any big goals that you are working towards?
As of right now I really want to play Division 1 basketball. Many offers and looks fell through due to Covid but my goal to play D1 still remains. It is something that I have dreamed of doing since I was a little kid and I got a glimpse of it while being recruited pre-Covid. Getting that tiny taste has made me even more hungry to pursue this long time dream of mine.
Molly competes this week with the Ireland U20 Women's team at the FIBA U20 European Challengers in Sopron, Hungary (July 12th - 17th).