Notre Dame Basketball: Jewell Loyd Declares For The WNBA Draft


Loyd Stuns With Announcement She’ll Forego Senior Season

In what could only be described as a stunning turn of events, Notre Dame junior standout

Jewell Loyd

has declared for the WNBA Draft–seemingly ending her Fighting Irish career.

The two-time ACC Player of the Year has decided to skip her senior season at Notre Dame to enter the draft. Players wishing to declare needed to make it known by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, but since she was playing in the national championship game, she had till Wednesday. Loyd released this statement through the university.

"“I am incredibly grateful for my experience at Notre Dame and the support I have received from Coach (Muffet) McGraw, our staff, my teammates and the entire ND community,” she said. “I have grown as a woman and as a basketball player and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such an inspiring community.”"

The WNBA has very different rules on declaring early, as a player must be 22 years of age in the calendar year of the draft. This week, Loyd becomes the second player to declare early, as Minnesota’s Amanda Zahui B. already had declared. She recently completed her sophomore season–but has already turned 22.

Prior to this year, only two players had bypassed their senior seasons to enter the WNBA Draft. Candace Parker of Tennessee in the 2008 Draft, and Former Rutgers guard Epiphanny Prince left in 2009 after her junior year but was not eligible for the draft because she had not yet turned 22. After playing one season in Europe, she became the No. 4 pick in the 2010 draft.

Loyd can remove her name from draft consideration up to five days prior to the draft. So there is a small glimmer of hope she could change her mind, since it was a tight deadline to declare. By doing so, she would leave the option open to return, while also having the possibility of the WNBA available.

The decision comes as quite a surprise on many levels to me. First, the WNBA is not a league known for its massive salaries. According to reports, the average salary is approximately $36,500 in 2014. According to, the average salary of a Notre Dame Alumni is $55,200. As of 2014, the max salary for a player in the WNBA was $101,000. Simply finishing school with a degree almost assuredly leaves her a better fallback option.

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Second, the Irish are going to be good next season. Sadly, the rallying cry for the past five years has been “Unfinished Business”. But they’ve been so close, and every one of these Irish players wants to take down Connecticut. Skylar Diggins, Natalie Achonwa and Kayla McBride were passionate about it–but in the end fell short. I made mention previously that while very talented, Loyd didn’t have the “heart of a fighter” that those before her had. This somewhat confirms my thoughts.

Coach Muffet McGraw also had a very brief comment on Loyd’s departure.

"“We appreciate all that Jewell has done for our program and the University of Notre Dame during her time here,” McGraw said in the statement. “We understand this was not an easy decision. We wish her nothing but happiness and success at the next level.”"

Both were very generic, shedding no light as to the reasoning behind the decision. I won’t speculate as to why, as that’s not my place. Only that it is as surprising a turn as you could expect to see in women’s basketball. My hope is with time, Loyd will decide to return to Notre Dame for her final season. But if not, she has left her mark on the program and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Next: Heartbreak for the Notre Dame Women Again