To say Jackie Young has had a wild week is an understatement. On Sunday, the college junior played for the University of Notre Dame in the NCAA championship game against Baylor University. Then, literally hours after Notre Dame’s one-point loss to Baylor, she entered the 2019 WNBA draft. On Wednesday,
Young was chosen as the number one overall draft pick by the Las Vegas Aces.
To many, her massive success is not a surprise. Throughout her high school career the Indiana native was named a
McDonald's All-American, Indiana Miss Basketball, and the Naismith National High School Player of the Year. Her time as a Fighting Irish has been equally impressive; according to Sports Illustrated, she averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game her junior year. Young has helped Notre Dame in two consecutive NCAA championships and now she’s taking her talents to the pros.
Of course, Young won’t have much time to celebrate. The season begins on May 24, which means the Aces are putting her right to work. Since Young is probably be a name you’ll be hearing for a long time, here are 11 things you should definitely know about the WNBA first pick and newest addition to the Aces.
She’s Been A Star Since High School
In high school, Young scored the most
points amongst Indiana high schoolers — women or men — with 3,286 points, according to Notre Dame Athletics. Andy Lyons/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Young has already had quite the year. According to a statement from the WNBA, in
addition to being an All-ACC Second Team selection, she became the first Notre Dame player to record two triple-doubles in a season.
She Had 24 Hours To Make A Life-Changing Decision
The WNBA requires players to announce their decision either 10 days before the draft begins or 24 hours after the end of their season.
Hours after Notre Dame’s loss in the national championship, Young had to make the monumental choice to forgo her senior year and enter the draft.
Her Draft Makes History For Notre Dame
Young wasn’t only the Irish player to go pro. She was one of five Notre Dame players to be drafted, which is the first time five players have been drafted from one school since Tennessee in 2008.
“We’ve had a lot of accomplishments, but this one stands alone,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw
told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s probably something that will never happen again. … It’s incredible what they accomplished.”
She’ll Be In Good Company
According to a statement from the WNBA, the Aces have had the overall first pick for the past three years. Young’s teammates will include last year’s
number one overall pick A’ja Wilson and the 2017 top pick Kelsey Plum.
She Wasn’t Originally Predicted To Be Number 1
According to Sports Illustrated, University of Oregon player Sabrina Ionescu was originally projected to be number one. Like Young, she had 24 hours after her team’s semifinal loss to make her decision. Ionescu ultimately decided to return to Oregon for her senior year. Andy Lyons/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
When making such a major decision to enter the draft, Young’s family was the first thing on her mind. As she
told Sports Illustrated, “The biggest thing I think was just trying to help my family out. That was honestly the biggest thing. And making sure that I could do things the right way so that I would have a good future.”
Her Role Model Is Candace Parker
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
In an interview with
Notre Dame Athletics, Young said that her favorite professional athlete was Los Angeles Sparks player Candace Parker. Parker and Young already have something in common; Parker was the first overall draft pick in 2008.
Her Favorite Basketball Moment Was Meeting Michael Jordan
Young got to meet Michael Jordan at the Jordan Brand Classic. She got to chat with the legend and called it her “
favorite hoops memory,” according to Notre Dame Athletics.
Being The Top Pick Was A Childhood Dream
As Young told Sports Illustrated, “As a kid, it was always my dream to be the first pick. I can’t even put it into words. I can’t believe it’s real.”
Jackie Young left her mark on college basketball and already has her sights set on the future. According to Sports Illustrated, Young wrote her next goal on a basketball sticker at the WNBA draft ceremony. It read, “win an WNBA championship.” Considering the career she’s had so far, she’s well on her way.