Without access to basketball gyms and weight rooms, the pandemic has thrown professional basketball players around the country for a loop: how do they prepare for their job? 

Like many, third-year Surge guard Kelsey McClure has found that she must “get creative.” That means no fancy shooting machines or advanced cone drills with trainers. It has meant lots of running, jumpers in the backyard, and in-home ab workouts with the family. 

McClure, who graduated from Arkansas Tech summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA in 2017, has been a key member of the Surge for the past two seasons. In 2019, she averaged 7 points per game while shooting 50% from the field. When not suiting up for the Surge, she has traveled overseas, playing last season in France. 

When she’s not on the floor, McClure is often mentoring and training local kids. Last year, McClure served as the head girl’s coach at Ladue Middle School. The season before she joined, the team had finished in dead last. But by the end of McClure’s first season, they were in first place.

“One of my favorite things about Kelsey is how dynamic she is,” says Collier. “Her energy is contagious and you can feel her passion for not only the game, but giving back our youth.”

On June 10, we spoke with McClure over the phone to learn more about her workout regime and how she is filling her free time. 

Editor’s Note: At the time of the conversation on June 10, McClure was still at home in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She has since moved back to St. Louis. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

McClure, second from right, signs autographs after a 2019 Surge game.

Benjamin Simon: How have you stayed active during the pandemic?

Kelsey McClure: Aw man, I’ve been super active, getting into a lot of different things. I’ve been going on a lot of jogs. Getting creative. Taking some walks. Riding the bike. Working out with my parents –– family walks, family jogs. I have a dog, his name is Carter, he is a Shih-Poo, a Shih Tzu mixed with Poodle, so he and I take runs as well. I’ve also been outside on our basketball goal, at our house, just getting some shots up the most I can.

So you do have a basketball hoop?

Yeah I have a basketball hoop right outside my house. I also have a treadmill in my garage so we’re very active. We actually have a whole weight room in our garage as well, so I’m pretty much doing the same thing I would do in the gym. 

How’s your jumper looking?

Oh man, what? What? Don’t worry about it, you can see about it as soon as I step into town, and everything gets back right, we’re going to hop back in the gym and you’re going see what’s going on. (Laughs)

Good, that’s what I like to hear. Are you working on any new moves?

Anyone who knows me knows that my behind-the-back is my go-to. That’s my finesse right there. But I’ve also been working on counter moves as well, making sure that I can get that defender off of me if they’re in my way. So maybe a behind-the-back, but a cross-cross-between, so I can get some people out of the way to create a free jumper.

Has there been anything else you’ve focused on improving this offseason?

When I was overseas, I was interested in shooting more threes. I know that I’m a great shooter so that’s something that I wanted to showcase. Everyone knows that I’m a good driver, I can attack the lane and pass very well. But I really made it a point overseas to shoot the ball and that’s exactly what I did. I had a great percentage shooting threes and truly worked on that. Back in town, it doesn’t stop. I am working on different agility drills, trying to get my feet under me, shooting under pressure, and seeing someone come up in my peripheral. I am also working on pump fakes and jabs before I actually create a shot for myself.

Can you walk me through your average day or week in terms of your workout schedule?

Like I said, I have a dog, so I’ll walk my puppy in the mornings just to get loose. After I walk him in the morning, I’ll get a short little jog in after I put him up. After I get a jog in, I’ll train a couple kids. And once I finish my training, I have another job –– ForEx trading. I work with the foreign exchange market …. Later in the day, I’ll walk my dog again, go for another jog, maybe a couple miles. After that, I usually hop on the weights with my pops. Then I usually finish up in the house with some abs. So I am definitely staying active during the day, there’s no excuse, especially with this going on! 

Has your workout routine changed at all through the course of the pandemic? 

Yeah, you have to get a little creative. We just got access to MaxOne with Steve Allen, our assistant coach. He has put on there some different types of drills, whether it be on an outside goal or inside goal. I would say I’m obviously limited because I don’t have the shooting machine or a lot of the agility drills you would do in a gym per se. But it’s just improvising. I’ve been practicing my dribbling drills out in the driveway and trying to be useful with what I have.

I feel like a lot of people might not know about MaxOne. Tell us a bit about it.

Yeah so MaxOne is a virtual basketball training program. They have it for coaches, athletes and teams. You’re able to access your team calendar and receive messages specifically from your coaches telling you what training to do. It’s also a way to hold people accountable during this pandemic, being able to mark everything down in the actual app. There are different drills that we have to do. For example, we’ll do between the legs for a minute, crossovers for a minute, and then mark how many you can get down in a minute…Like I said, luckily for me, I do have a goal outside my house so everything that I would do in the gym, I’m just doing it outside.

What are you going to do without a basketball hoop when you move back to St. Louis?

I’m definitely going to have to improvise the best I can. I really enjoy Forest Park. They have the stairs that I like running. I’ve walked around the fountains a lot at Forest Park, ran up the hills by the art museum. That’s super dope to me. I’m really big on scenery and being outside in nature. I love the morning times when the sun is coming up. And I’m waiting for the opportunity to get back on the court with the Surge. 

Shifting gears a bit, have you found any new hobbies during the quarantine?

Yes, so referring back to what I’m currently doing right now, I’m actually super big into the foreign exchange market. A great way to earn some extra bread from your phone. I am learning an Ivy League skill that many people don’t know about. So I’ve been taking my time to dial into it, truly learn about it, and I’ve seen so many great things out of it. 

And you weren’t trading ForEx before?

Nope, I just started this. I kind of got into it while I was overseas but during this quarantine, it is a great time to dive into it and really see some extra profit from your phone aside from the jobs and camps that we’re already working…This has just been an additional source of income.

McClure poses for a photo prior to the 2019 season.

I’m going to give you a few rapid fire questions now. What’s the best TV you’ve watched?

I didn’t watch a TV show. I did watch a movie called “The Wrong Missy.” That was a really funny movie. I enjoyed that. That’s probably the only movie I’ve watched during this quarantine.

A favorite workout song right now?

Oh, shoot. That’s a good question right there Ben. You got me right there. I actually have an entire playlist called “In the Lab, Get ya Bag.” That playlist is really what’s getting me going right now. I guess if I had to pick one, I would go with “We Paid” by Lil Baby and 42Dugg. That can get me hype really quick.

Did you watch the Jordan documentary?

I tapped into it with my parents. We watched it quite a bit. Scottie Pippen actually went to my first school, the University of Central Arkansas. It was super dope to see his transition, to see how he went from a towel boy (at Central Arkansas) to who he was in the NBA. There were always banners hanging in my gym and he would come to games here and there…So that was definitely a dope documentary to sit and watch with the entire family for sure.

What’s the longest run you’ve gone on?

We actually have another park here in Oklahoma. From my sister’s house to the actual park is about six miles. Again my family is big [into exercising] and it’s been helpful, a good extra push during this time. We did a family jog to the park. And when we got to the park we went ahead and walked up the rocks to the very top where the fountain was flowing. Super dope. 

What’s your favorite and least favorite workout days?

I don’t ever have a bad workout day. I enjoy working out. I enjoy the mornings more than anything, I can say that. I would rather go in the mornings than in the evenings. I’ve actually been focused on trying to get two-a-days in. I go early in the morning and then again in evening when the sun goes down so that way I can get another workout in and go hard.

What are your workout goals for the rest of the quarantine?

McClure talking with kids at the Bobby McCormack Shooting Camp, where she is serving as a camp coach during the 2020 summer.

I’m just going to continue smacking out my running goals, just continue to get up and jog everyday. I’ve had to improvise with my wisdom teeth being pulled out. They suggest that you don’t get too active so I’ve been using weighted balls, doing some lunges, working on my abs, and walking on the treadmill. Anything I can do to stay active.

What are you most looking for about getting back to St. Louis?

Aw man, I’m super excited to get back to the team and lock in with a few people who are still in town. See a few familiar faces. Super excited for the opportunity if it comes to get back in the gym. Just be around the vibe. I love St. Louis. It is definitely a sports city. I always feel the energy every time I step into the city.

Anything else you want to add? Anything you want Surge fans to know?

Just know that the Surge basketball players and organization — we love our fans. We’re continuing to stay active in this quarantine. We’re ready to pick up the basketball any time we can.