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Changing the Game: Taryn Draine

Taryn Draine

This is the ninth interview from our Athlete of the Month (AOTM) series in partnership with TrueSport. To nominate an athlete or learn more, explore our AOTM headquarters.

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too?

Tackling dreams and motivating teams is exactly what the most recent Athlete of the month, Taryn Draine, is doing. From her team pep talks dubbed "Taryn Talks" to averaging 17 points a game and her junior journalist career, this 13-year-old paves new paths for young female athletes everywhere.

TrueSport Ambassador and Team USA netball team captain, Amara Mbionwu sat down for a recent interview to discuss everything from favorite WNBA team to what Taryn's interview style is like. Dive in as we spotlight the latest Athlete of the Month, Taryn Draine.

"Today I know that there is still work to be done, but along the way I am achieving my dreams." - Candace Parker

When did you start playing basketball?

Taryn: "I started playing basketball around age 11, so sixth grade."

Amara: "Oh my gosh, I started playing when I was in seventh grade! What made you get into it?"

Taryn: "Well, me and my brother, we started playing basketball and I decided like, hey, this is really what I wanna do. So I started to take it more seriously and focus on playing."

Amara: "Did you beat him?"

Taryn: "Sometimes, haha. It's a little harder for me to beat him now that he's older."


A post shared by Taryn D (@td_hoops21)

What position do you play?

Taryn: "I usually play the point guard or the shooting guard. I can also play the three and four, the small forward, and the power forward."

Amara: "OK, I played center throughout high school, then switched. I switched on and off to forward in college, but I'm like, put me in coach, and I don't want to be anywhere else. The house is mine."

Talk of the town

Taryn supports her teammates through and through. She was nominated as Athlete of the Month for her notorious pep talks in the locker room and sportsmanship on and off the court.

Amara: "Tell us about your "Taryn Talks."

Taryn: "Well, if the energy and the locker room is lacking, then I say hey, we need to talk, or I group my teammates up and give them some motivation so that they go out into the court in the right mindset. I get everybody pumped, so they have the energy to play the game."

Amara: "I love it. If I was your teammate, how would you help me out if I said I was nervous?"

Taryn: " I will probably tell you to have fun with it even if we don't win; just have fun. In the end, it doesn't really matter. It's just basketball, you know. It's more about getting better and making memories with your team."

If a teammate has a bad game or season, Taryn lets her teammate know that the only person that could bring them down is them. "You know they have to dig into themselves to keep going. And put people around them to motivate them. It's all mental. So you have to make sure you're in the right place to play basketball because it's definitely a mental sport," she says.

Amara: "Definitely, I agree. So how do you prepare yourself for a big game?"

Taryn: "I usually like to take a few shots before my game and listen to music, you know, eat the right type of meals. I usually eat a yogurt parfait with granola and blueberries. And I love blue Gatorade." 

Amara: "What's next for basketball?"

Taryn: "I'm playing in an All-Star game. I was selected for it by people who scouted me at my school games, and I was the top chosen one for my team to play in the three-point contest, so I get to do that too."

Amara: "Can we say #blackgirlmagic over here? Love it!"

Taryn notes that her favorite basketball memory is when she had the chance to participate in the Chicago Bulls' first 3V3 game with her teammates. "It was a really fun experience because we just got to kick it at the United Center," stated Taryn.

Taking the world on, one interview at a time

In her spare time, Taryn is a junior journalist for the Chi Side program, analyzing games and interviewing players. 


A post shared by Taryn D (@td_hoops21)

Amara: "Tell us about your experience as a junior journalist. I want to know more about that."

Taryn: "Well, when I first started doing junior journalism, I was a little nervous, but I decided, like my mom, she showed me the videos of their Instagram page, and I was like, OK, this might be something I want to do, and I did the first interview, and I was like, OK, I can definitely do this. As I started getting more confident, I started asking more questions."

Amara: "What type of questions do you ask? Like let's say you're interviewing me?"

Taryn: "I would probably ask you why you went from playing basketball to playing netball?"

Amara laughs and dives into the story of how her college professor toting in a flyer about netball kickstarted her career with Team USA.


Speed Round 'This' or 'That' with Taryn

(Answers are in bold)

  • Free throws or buzzer-beater 
  • Netflix or Cable 
  • Water or Gatorade 
  • Lebron or Jordan 
  • Always early or Always late (Time) 
  • Road trip or fly on an airplane 
  • Run 15 laps or do 15 perfect free throws 
  • Write an email or Write a letter 

With dreams of playing for the WNBA, Taryn notes her favorite team is the Chicago Sky. She says she loves the Las Vegas Aces style. We look forward to seeing Taryn on the court and putting athletes in the hot seat in the future!


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