AllSportsTucson.com is doing Where Are They Now? features, highlighting many of the athletes you grew to love through the years at Arizona and beyond. We hope you enjoy the new feature. Writer Katie Mabry will handle many of the stories.
Q: Mo, I think it’s great that you still have strong ties to the U of A and the entire Tucson community after a career in professional sports. What are you working on now that you want the readers to know about?
A: I am coaching the freshman team at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale. In addition, I spend my time off-season working with The Youth Academy, focusing on training players specifically in the positions of center, power forward and small forward. One additional project that I like to mention is my support for the community back in Mali. I head a t-shirt collection and campaign to send overseas for those in need. Last year, the U of A Athletic Department was instrumental in the success of the campaign.
Q: Your career at Arizona was inspiring. Looking back, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
A: Looking back, I realize I was way too hard on myself – especially after my injury. I wrestled with the thought that basketball was everything and without it I had nothing. I would tell my younger self to enjoy the journey, trust the process, and realize that no matter what happens it will all work out.
Q: You have become a mentor, coach and role model to so many. How do you stay positive?
A: I always looked to my parents as I grew up. Today, I find that I have the opportunity to inspire youth and give to others. I have learned that people depend on my knowledge and watch things that I do. I think that energy is contagious so I try to lead by example.
Q: Athletes talk about being “in the zone.” Have you had a moment like that, and if so, can describe that to me?
A: I’ve had moments like that – where everything seemed to go well and everything you do on the court seemed perfect. People don’t talk about it much, but I think it’s due to all the hard work you put into the preparation and suddenly, it all comes together. That’s why practicing every day and giving it your all is so important. You will eventually have that day where you rack up 30 points and feel like you’re unable to fail.
Q: Do you have any pregame rituals or habits that really help you focus?
A: Playing African songs would pump me up. I also take a moment to look at my Mom’s picture – knowing that she’s watching and with me in spirit.
Q: You’re bringing The Lute Olson/Mo Tangara World Basketball Classic Tournament back to Tucson this year. When is it and how can people get involved?
A: This year’s Tournament will be held June 1-7 at Catalina High School. We’re still accepting sponsors and looking for volunteers. You can keep up to date with the schedule and other opportunities on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lOMOTWorldBasketballClassic/