It’s been a long, bumpy collegiate basketball journey for Sedona Prince.
The 6’7” forward from Liberty Hill, Texas has yet to take the court in her two-year college career. The No. 8 ranked recruit coming out of high school signed with the Texas Longhorns but unfortunately missed her entire freshman year from a season-ending broken right leg injury while playing for the USA U18 national team in August 2018.
Prince then transferred to Oregon where she applied for immediate eligibility from the NCAA. She was denied and had to sit out another full season.
The year is now 2020 and head coach Kelly Graves and the No. 10 Oregon women’s basketball team is finally ready to show the rest of the nation what Prince can do.
Those long days of just practicing with the team and not being able to suit up on game days were agonizing. During those days, she developed a nice friendship with teammate Nyara Sabally, who also missed last season due to an ACL injury. The two forwards are both ready to make their collegiate debuts this season.
The wait is almost over.
The Ducks along with the rest of the women’s basketball world, have been practicing since October 14. While this season has been anything but normal - wearing masks during practice, social distancing, coaches having to use microphones at practice to project their voices - due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the determination and desire to play is at an all time high.
The Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally era in Eugene, Oregon was nothing but historical. The 2016-2020 seasons will go down as the best in program history, including a trip to the program’s first ever Final Four and a three-peat as Pac-12 conference champions.
This season is not about looking to fill the shoes of these three, but rather find a new identity for the next era to shine.
That starts with Prince.
“Sedona is the entire package I think. She’s capable around the rim and she’s going to be 6’7” the whole game,” said Graves during Pac-12 media day. “Finishes with either hand, she’s really strong, she’s got a nice touch at just 17, 18 feet. I love her at the high post and we’re playing a lot more through her than we did with Ruthy [Hebard].
“In the past, we’ve either run through Satou or Sabrina, now we’re going to do a lot through Sedona. Great passer and defensively I think she’s going to be a presence. I think she’s got a chance to be a real special player and a long time pro.”
The past four seasons in Eugene, Ionescu and Hebard put on a pick-and-roll clinic and made it nearly impossible to guard. That’s what led to Oregon having the nation’s best scoring offense averaging 86.0 points per game. Ionescu and Heard demanded so much attention that spread the floor for sharp-shooters Erin Boley, Taylor Chavez and Jaz Shelley (all of which averaged better than 40% from 3-PT range last season) open on the outside.
Now, this season will look a tad different offensively with Prince being able to hit outside jumpers along with posting up down low.
“Sedona is going to be great for us,” said senior Erin Boley. “I think all the way around, as far as our post play goes adding Nyara into that too, I think we’re going to be really strong in that area. I am really excited to be able to play with Sedona this year.”
Both Boley and Prince were named to the 2020-2021 preseason Pac-12 All-Conference First-Team on Tuesday. Prince hasn’t even played a college basketball game yet and is already predicted to be one of the best.
This collegiate debut has been a long time coming. Graves has said this offseason that Prince has the “chance to be one of the best players in the country. I think she has everything in place."
Prince and the Ducks will need that full package each game day given how challenging this Pac-12 conference is featuring five ranked teams in the AP Poll Top 25, four of which inside the Top 10.
Non-conference play begins on Wednesday, November 25.
Just one more week until she can finally take the floor and register her first minutes of college basketball.