Notre Dame’s Jewell Loyd Taken With First Pick in WNBA Draft


Irish junior guard taken first in draft

After the disappointment and bewilderment in her choice to leave Notre Dame a year early, we congratulate Jewell Loyd on being the first pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm. Loyd recently said that although she’s left early, she intends to get her degree from Notre Dame, but her dream has been to play professional basketball in the WNBA. We can’t fault her for following her dreams.

Loyd recently revealed that she’s dyslexic. The frustration of growing up with the learning disability led to her drive to succeed on the basketball court. She hated that the word disability was associated with it. It always left her wondering what her future would hold for her. Now she has a better idea as the top pick of the Storm.

The 5-foot-10 junior averaged 19.8 points and 3.o assists per game, helping the Irish to their fourth straight Final Four. Only overshadowed by Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart, there wasn’t much question that she could be the number one overall selection.

Alisha Valavanis, the first-year general manager, and team president believes Loyd is perfect foundation to building a championship team. Loyd is the Storm’s first overall pick since Sue Bird went No. 1 in 2002.

Loyd’s decision to leave left everyone in the Notre Dame family stunned, as just weeks before she said she would be returning for her senior year. There wasn’t much news in that, as rarely do women’s basketball players leave school early. Then, immediately following the loss in the NCAA title game, she dropped the bomb on coach Muffet McGraw that she would be declaring for the draft.

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For the women, a player can only leave school early if they turn 22 in the calendar year of the draft. That applied for Loyd, as well as Minnesota’s Amanda Zahui B. (taken second by Tulsa).

Prior to Loyd announcing that she intended to return to earn her degree at a later time, McGraw gave her opinion of women in general leaving school early for the draft.

"“I think it’s really a bad decision for women to leave early,” McGraw said referring to the women’s game in general. “They are not making the money the men make. They are going to make less than $50,000 in the league. And to get your degree from a school like Notre Dame, it’s just mind-boggling that anyone would choose to leave early.”"

The self-written article about her battle with dyslexia is as close as she’s come to explaining her reason for leaving school early. Basketball comes easy, school does not. She has left her legacy on Notre Dame, and will be missed. But her departure opens the door for one of the incoming freshman to find a place in the rotation.

We wish Jewell the best in her new adventure in the WNBA.

Next: Irish Women Reloading for Next Year