Ezi Magbegor is living the basketball dream after being selected in the Women’s National Basketball Association draft last week.
The 19-year-old from Craigieburn was taken at pick 12 by the reigning champion, the Seattle Storm, in Thursday’s draft.
She was the second Australian taken in the draft, behind Alanna Smith, taken at pick eight.
For Magbegor, being drafted is something that she had been working hard towards.
“It feels pretty exciting – it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while,” she said hours after being drafted.
“I’m just really happy that I’ve got that chance.”
Magbegor knew Seattle was possibly interested in drafting her, having spoken to the head coach Dan Hughes the day before the draft.
The Storm is one side that isn’t afraid to look to Australia when it comes to selecting players.
Arguably the Storm’s greatest ever player is Australian legend Lauren Jackson, who led the club to two WNBA titles while winning three league most valuable player awards.
Fellow Australians Tully Bevilaqua, Suzy Batkovic, Sandy Brondello, Abby Bishop, Alison Lacey and Belinda Snell have all played for the Storm.
When the Storm read out Magbegor’s name, she couldn’t be happier.
“I had spoken to their head coach prior, but nothing was finalised,” she said.
“They had expressed interest and I guess they still continued to want me. I’m really happy about their decision.”
Magbegor said she was likely to spend this year in Australia continuing to work on her game before heading to the US next she year.
Magbegor played for the Melbourne Boomers this season, averaging nearly nine points and 4.29 rebounds a game.
She is happy to be headed to Seattle.
“They have a pretty young team and a mix of veterans as well there – they’re a great group of girls,” she said..
“I’ve got so much potential to learn off a lot of them, to train and play with them every day.”
Being drafted has capped off a big 18 months for Magbegor in which she has gone from being a rising star with potential to being part of the Australian team.
She was part of the Australian Opals team that won gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games and then silver at the World Championships later that year.
She is part of the Opals squad again this season, leaving for an Opals camp on Friday.
“I’m just super grateful and super blessed for all the opportunities that have arisen for me,” she said. “I’m going to keep working hard and be the best player that I can be.
“I want to continue to grow as a player and continue to reach goals.
“I want to take my basketball wherever it can take me. “
There is no rest for Magbegor who is spending the WNBL off season playing for the Geelong Supercats in the National Basketball League 1.
She said it was a challenge that she was enjoying.
“I’m playing with girls that I have grown up with along with a few Opals,” she said.
“My coach, David Herbert, is a good coach, as well, and he knows what I need to work on and what to focus on.”