By John "Woods" Armwood
The Texas native, Gisella Maul, has made an eruption on the girl's basketball scene. She once was well known in Texas, now she’s well known throughout the country. Maul’s originally from Austin, Texas, she played several sports growing up. The first sports she grew a liking towards were track and field, and basketball. It seems 5th grade was the determining year for Maul as she emphasized that things began to become a lot to juggle between the two. Once she realized it was nearly impossible to compete at a high level for both, ultimately, she shifted gears and focused primarily on the game of basketball.
Let's just say she never looked back since. Many may not know, but she even defeated Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant in a three-point contest at just 11-years old. Ironically, she idolizes her game after Durants', as well. Maul was very open to admitting her favorite player is Durant and she finds similarities in both of their games. Their ability to score on all three levels efficiently, and their abilities to impact the game on defense. So, it should come as no surprise the immense success she’s lived up to up to this point his her young career.
A healthy balance is always imperative for success
Again, while she’s found success in her journey many people forget these young athletes are still children. During our interview, she spoke about her experiences growing up and the struggles she went through attempting to balance her social with her day-to-day lifestyle.
“Yeah, it’s been difficult at times,” Maul said. “The expression, ‘Ball is Life’, really is true for me. For example, I just finished my high school season this past Saturday. Yet, tomorrow evening I begin AAU basketball.
“… The most important key to performing at a high level is finding a balance of getting away from it because at times it can be a lot,” Maul continued.
Maul explains how seriously she takes her offseason preparation and why it’s imperative to help perform at a high level. While she briefly speaks about some of the drills she does, however, she explains in detail why these drills translate to better shooting and efficiency on the court. Her shooting percentage has increased dramatically within the past two seasons due to being in the weight room, resting, and eating properly.
The biggest and arguably most important skill she works on in the offseason is her leadership. One may wonder how does one work on leadership as the skill is not physical. Yet, Maul has found ways to be effective and help improve her game on the court during the season.
“In the offseason, I make sure I call all my teammates and ask them to join me working out,” Maul stated. “At times, when they’re struggling I try to reach out and encourage them as much as I can. Believe it or not, this helps me on the court knowing they trust me and I trust them, and more importantly it helps me become a better friend as well.”
Historic strides at Cedar Park High School
Maul’s legacy at Cedar Park High School is historic already even if it ended today. She’s not only won two back-to-back state titles in the state of Texas but she also has won the MVP award on an undefeated team. This past season, she spearheaded the first team ever in state history to go undefeated and win a championship. When asked how much this meant to her legacy, she responded:
“The championship meant so much to me but it meant even more to my teammates,” Maul responded. “Seeing all our hard work pay off was worth it and finally getting the respect they deserve.”
Respect seems to be a huge part of Maul’s basketball legacy. She harps on the fact that being a young woman in a male-dominated sport has made it difficult for all women to gain recognition, not just her. While there’s been a push as of late, there are still tons of talented women around the country that play basketball that will never get the respect they rightfully deserve. This championship and MVP award pretty much sealed the deal that she’s here to stay and not going anywhere anytime soon. Her historical season will etch her name in the history books forever.
How basketball has impacted Maul’s life
Maul’s embraced what the game of basketball has brought to her. She’s embraced the media attention and constant praise and even haters at times. Maul has emphasized how blessed she is to be gifted with the amount of opportunity going forward. She’s a highly recruited athlete and has gone to numerous amounts of visits. So many visits to the point she has to emphasize the “not committed” hashtag.
Contrary to media reports, I have not made any cuts to my recruitment list. I am still very open to being recruited by all schools and am nowhere near ready to start cutting my list down. Thank you to the schools that have recruited me thus far.— Gisella Maul💎 (@GMoneyMaul) July 28, 2021
One would think, Maul, is surprised by how great she’s proven to be not only to herself but to the world, However, she speaks to her hard work and dedication. She truly believes that the amount of work she’s put in behind closed doors seeing it come to fruition is what’s destined to happen. Many may see this as luck, but she discusses in detail how she stayed up making dream boards in idle school and slowly but surely crossing each goal off one by one.
“I don’t see my success as luck,” Maul discusses in detail. “If only people saw what went on behind the scenes to help me perform at that high level. If only people were able to witness me writing on my dream board these goals in middle school, they would look at my success much differently.”
Maul’s thoughts on life after basketball
Although Maul is extremely young, she still has big aspirations that expand beyond the game of basketball. She emphasizes why education is extremely important and capitalizes on building her brand while she has a platform to do so. One of her biggest fears is being lost in the world after she’s done with playing spots for good.
“I find creating a life after basketball super important,” Maul said. “My parents stress education on me and I am thankful for it because life after basketball is the ultimate goal. I fear not being able to provide and live comfortably after the game of basketball.”
In conclusion, Maul offers humility and hunger to the youth or anyone inspiring to follow suit. She remembers being in their shoes and not understanding what it takes to be great. She wishes to make a difference whether it be helping spread her voice to the youth or leading by example.