New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA draft has a new offseason gig with her alma mater in Eugene, Oregon. She joins the Ducks as the director of athletic culture.
The position will be part-time for Ionescu, as she helps with student-athlete development and the cultivation of Kelly Graves’ five pillars: passion, integrity, unity, thankfulness, and servanthood.
“Sabrina exemplifies what it means to be an Oregon Duck and she represents everything our program is about,” Graves said about Ionescu, who set an NCAA record with 26 triple-doubles in her time at Oregon. “Even in just a part-time capacity, she will have the ability to make an immediate impact on our student-atheletes and our program as a whole. She truly is a basketball icon that will be able to connect and develop our players off the court.”
With Ionescu as the leader, the Ducks went to the women’s Final Four in 2019, and won 2020 Pac-12 tournament and were favored to make a return trip before the NCAA tournament before Covid shut down the season. She is the only player in NCAA history with at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists in her collegiate career. The generational player then missed most of her WNBA Rookie Season after suffering a severe ankle injury in her third game. She has bounced back nicely with an average of 11.7 points and 6.1 assists in 2021. She was then named an All-Star and a Second-Team All-WNBA selection this past season with averages of 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists.
“As a kid growing up in the game, my family helped me develop my passion for basketball and all the values it rewards,” Ionescu said. “When I arrived at Oregon, I joined a new family that embraces those same values and helped me grow even more as a player and as a person. Part of my heart remains in Eugene, and I look forward to cultivating the same atmosphere for future Ducks in the Oregon women’s basketball program.”
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