Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

"I would say bet on yourself. At the end of the day, there’s going to be people that believe in you and that don’t, but you’re all that matters and you are the author of your own book in that sense."

Those are the words of Oregon Ducks point guard and future No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Sabrina Ionescu to NBC Sports Northwest in an exclusive interview with Dwight Jaynes.

The Oregon women’s basketball team had a huge advantage this season that no other team had in the Pac-12 Conference: making road games feel a lot like home with the amount of traveling Duck fans supporting their team.

Whether the Ducks were home or away, there was always a prominent sea of green and yellow in the stands. A majority of that sea wore either a green or white jersey with the number 20 on the front. Sabrina Ionescu’s jersey.

Following the game, Ionescu would stay on the court and take photos with those in the crowd who wanted a photo with the G.O.A.T.

Ionescu didn’t just change the game of basketball forever by rewriting the history books. No, she has been an inspiration and role model for the next generation of basketball stars, especially young girls. 

Golden State guard Steph Curry, who has been a fan of Ionescu’s since her high school days, took his daughters Riley and Ryan to Oregon’s away game at the Cal Golden Bears  in Berkeley, California, during conference play. If Riley and Ryan want to grow up and be basketball players, Curry wanted them to watch Sabrina and specifically “How to play the game the right way.”

 

[RELATED]: Inside Sabrina Ionescu’s relationship with “big brother” Steph Curry

Ionescu was once that little girl in the stands who dreamed of one day playing professionally.

What advice would she pass along to now those younger girls in the crowd watching her? 

There’s going to be times where maybe you don’t have a middle school team or a high school team, not enough girls playing, but always finding a way to do anything you can, that you can control to get better. And do what you love whether that’s basketball or whatever it is, you have to love it and have fun playing and getting better and really working through adversity.

Whatever comes your way, injury, whatever it is, doing everything you can do to conquer and grow during those times. 

In the video above, our very own Dwight Jaynes sat down (over Zoom) with Ionescu after a historical career in Eugene.

Ionescu’s dream of playing professionally will come true in less than one week, on Friday, April 17, when her name will be announced number one overall in the 2020 WNBA Draft.