LOS ANGELES – UCLA Legend Noelle Quinn is living out the Bruin mission to be a “lifestyle giver.”
Quinn is currently in Senegal, West Africa, with the NBA Academy Women’s Program for a camp from Dec. 5-8 that brought together 24 of the top female prospects from 11 African countries. It looks about as expected from a high-tier basketball camp – the day starts with stretching at 8:30 am, then moves to focused warm-up drills, followed by full-court drills that evolve from day to day, and scrimmages to end each session. The goal of the camp is to have these young athletes learn directly from current and former WNBA players and coaches.
Monica Rogers, the NBA’s Elite Basketball Women’s Operations Lead, approached Quinn with the opportunity to join Arike Ogunbowale and Jasmine Thomas in West Senegal for the 2022 NBA Academy Women’s Camp Africa. Quinn self-admitted didn’t take much convincing to get on board, but had conversations with her assistant, Ebony Hoffman, who recently coached at the NBA Academy India at a similar camp. After a few talks, Quinn was all in.
“The purpose of my life is to be a light to others,” said Quinn, who had endless praise for her former teammates and coaches, current players and staff. The NBA Academy Women’s Program gave her an opportunity to encourage, uplift and inspire others while imparting the knowledge she’s gained playing with and for “a lot of GOAT’s.” While on-the-court Fundamentals are important and drills change throughout the week long camp to reflect the work yet to be done, Quinn said that basketball teaches life lessons: how to be on time, how to work cooperatively with others, and most evidently ?
Quinn has seen the Campers grow their confidence throughout the week, saying it’s been increasing as their basketball skills have been improving and as they’ve been making personal connections with teammates. She’s told her players they shouldn’t shy away from being confident. “A candle doesn’t lose its flame by lighting other candles,” Quinn says with a smile. The Seattle Storm head coach reiterated her commitment to lifting everyone up, and showing how using someone’s own gifts can help others thrive.
This lesson in leadership may come from her own path that led her into coaching. Quinn didn’t have long-term goals to become a coach during her playing days, but she received feedback from trusted people in her circle that she would make a great coach. Quinn is a competitor and an athlete at heart, but she has not always been the loudest voice despite her floor general duties. “I’m trying to be unapologetically myself while still getting my point across,” said Quinn of her reserved nature, finding a balance with her head coaching responsibilities and her communication style.
Humility doesn’t run short in the former Bruin point guard – when asked about her coaching career, Quinn said she’s still a “work in progress,” and that she’s just hoping to impart the knowledge she’s been lucky to gain from all of the Talented players and coaches that surrounded her during her time on the court. Quinn led her alma mater, Bishop Montgomery High School, to a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Championship in her first season with the team (2016-17). She was also the associate head coach for the Storm when the team won the 2020 WNBA Championship and most recently led the 2022 Storm to the semifinals as their head coach. For now, though, Quinn is content helping out at the NBA Academy in Senegal for the week.
“I’m blessed and honored to be here, and I hope to come back,” said Quinn. “It’s been such an awesome experience, and as much as I’ve helped [the campers], they’ve helped me even more. My heart is full, I am so grateful to be part of this.”
MORE ABOUT NBA ACADEMY WOMEN’S PROGRAM
Launched in 2018, the NBA Academy Women’s Program is a series of basketball development camps for top female athletes from outside the US at the league’s academies in Australia, India, Mexico and Senegal. The three previous NBA Academy Women’s Camps Africa were held at NBA Academy Africa in May 2018, November 2018 and November 2019. Eight former NBA Academy Women’s Camp Africa participants have committed to or gone on to attend NCAA Division I schools in the US