Maddy Kerr talks volleyball, Steve Kerr

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Maddy Kerr is a rising junior on Cal’s volleyball team and is expected to be one of the team’s biggest stars this upcoming season. She’s not the only Kerr who’s making a mark in the Bay Area: Her dad, Steve Kerr, is the head coach of the Golden State Warriors and recently led the team to an NBA Championship. Meanwhile, her brother Nick is transferring to UC Berkeley next season as a fifth-year senior and will play on the basketball team. The Daily Californian sat down with Kerr to talk about the Warriors, her dad and the upcoming volleyball season.

The Daily Californian: You’ve had a lot of time for the NBA Finals to sink in. What are your thoughts and your experiences?

Maddy Kerr: It was really surreal. I think my dad getting a coaching job, especially with the Warriors to begin with, was such a surprise and such an awesome thing for our family. We were still kind of riding that train, so we didn’t really expect them to go to the finals or win the finals. It was really cool. It was a good surprise. He worked really hard and has always wanted to be a coach, so it’s awesome to see your family members succeed.

DC: Does he talk about it all the time now?

MK: Right now, he’s in relaxation mode — like he’s not doing anything. He’ll be like, “It feels pretty good to be an NBA champion.” He’s very sarcastic about it, though. He’s not arrogant or anything.

DC: Your brother’s coming here next year, too, right? That’s got to be awesome.

MK: He’s really excited to come to Cal. The basketball team’s going to be really good, and he’s a fifth year, so he only has one more year of eligibility. I think he was kind of bummed to be missing out on all of this stuff, because him and my dad are best friends, and it’s such a cool experience being able to be around such a great team and winning all the time. So he felt a little left out.

DC: You went to the games in Cleveland, too, right? I know the crowd was giving you guys a lot of trouble.

MK: I’m sure every crowd is like that in playoff games. We may not see it as much because we’re in the family section at Oracle, but I’m sure stuff goes on everywhere. They just love their team like we love ours.

DC: And how was the parade?

MK: That was the coolest thing ever! The parade was crazy. I went when I was little, when my dad won as a player a few times. I think the last one I was 8, so I was pretty little. None of them have been that wild. My dad said it was the best parade he’d seen. I mean, Oakland is so cool, and the city just really loves its sports teams, like the whole Bay Area. They put it on, so it was incredible. Everyone was so excited, and the crowd was just really cool. It really represented Oakland well. The crowd was diverse and hip and cool.

DC: Can you imagine how different everything would be if your dad had taken the Knicks job?

MK: I don’t even know how to imagine that. We all thought he was going to take that job, and we weren’t trying to influence his decision or anything. And I couldn’t be like, “Oh, I want you to stay!” I’m somewhat of an adult, so I need to keep my place. But obviously, I’m so glad he took this job. He’s a total California person — I don’t think he would’ve done so well in New York with the weather and being alone. He needs my mom.

DC: What do you learn from being around a team such as the Warriors as an athlete yourself? What do you try to take away from that team?

MK: I think what they achieved over the year was a really good balance of discipline and fun. That’s something most teams and athletes don’t really ever fully understand. If you’re having too much fun a lot of the time, you feel like you’re not putting in the work. Or if you’re being too angsty or intense, you end up really stressed. They made it fun to be disciplined and work really hard, because it led to them winning. That, and just having really good chemistry, is so important.

DC: What sort of preparation have you gone through already?

MK: The main thing for me is that I had shoulder surgery in January, and I’ve been injured kind of the last two years, just playing on a bad shoulder. So getting healthy has been my main priority for the last six months, and I feel really good right now.

DC: How does everything with the team look so far?

MK: It looks good. The freshman are, I mean, I was really impressed. Coming in as a freshman is really hard, especially when you’re only playing with the team, without the coaches, because literally no one knows you or has seen you play. You know, it’s really intimidating. … I was really impressed by them (Wednesday). Everyone’s definitely going to be able to contribute. I think we all don’t want a repeat of last season, so everyone’s really motivated.

Hooman Yazdanian is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hoomanyazdanian.