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Oregon Women's Basketball

Satou Sabally Discusses Dallas Selection

April 17, 2020
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It’s official, Oregon went 1-2 in the WNBA draft on Friday night. It was a historic night for the Ducks and the future of the program.

After deciding to forego her senior year, Satou Sabally was the No. 2 selection in the WNBA draft Friday night right after teammate Sabrina Ionescu. Sabally will start her professional career in Dallas with the Wings.

She spoke to media following the selection and you can read those comments below.

Via Oregon Communications


Q. What's the excitement of you and Sabrina [Ionescu] going 1 and 2? What does that mean to you, and have you discussed it throughout the season?

SATOU SABALLY: It means a lot. I think it means a lot to me, my family and the Oregon community that I was just able to go to Dallas now. It means so much to the German community. So I'm just really happy, and I can't wait to get to Dallas.

Q. Dallas had three of the top seven picks. Did you pay attention to that? And coming from a program, a storied program that had so much success, how excited are you for the picks that they had and what Dallas is bringing together and transitioning into the WNBA from a storied program to a potential powerhouse?

SATOU SABALLY: Yeah. I'm really super excited for everyone that got drafted. Congratulations to everyone. I also saw that Tyasha Harris got drafted to Dallas so she will be my future teammate. I have not been able to pay a lot of attention to the other draftees except Sabrina, and I'm just so happy for her. We're all cheering her on here in our location, so it means a lot to everyone.

Q. What was it like to share that moment with your sister there in Eugene [Oregon]?

SATOU SABALLY: It meant a lot. I mean, Nyara is so excited for me, and for her, she's never been in Dallas. I've been there a couple of times and she's heard really a lot of good things, so for her I think it's a lot of inspiration, and I hope one day maybe she's going to come to Dallas, too. She was just smiling all day long helping with everything, and she's really one of the best sisters in the world.

Q. It went according to plan, but you never know until it happens. What was that feeling like with all the buildup to see Sabrina go 1 and you to go 2 and for your dreams to come true the way you hoped and thought they might?

SATOU SABALLY: It's so cool. You know, it just shows that we have built a great culture at Oregon, have recruited great players, and they got the right kind of practice and development. We really had the best support system around us. And Sabrina, she's just a big influence in women's basketball and in basketball in general, and then me going second, I really hope to just contribute to everything that people want from me and people view as a female leader. I will do everything I can, but this whole draft class is just really amazing and just shows how strong and powerful women can be.

Q. Ruthy [Hebard] just got drafted by Chicago –

SATOU SABALLY: I just saw. Oh, my God.

Q. How special is it for you guys? Obviously the season was cut short, but to have three of you drafted in the first eight picks.

SATOU SABALLY: It's incredible. I mean, you know, Ruthy being able to go to Chicago is going to be great for her. Chicago is a great city. We're all so happy for her. We're just watching it on TV, and smiles all over our face. Yeah, really it just shows, again, what kind of environment we had at Oregon and that we really were that part that would have taken us to the National Championship.

Q. Similar question but phrased a little differently; with the second thoughts you were having, does being selected at No. 2 and being bound for Dallas, does this validate the decision to stay in the draft?

SATOU SABALLY: It does validate it, but I still think I need to prove myself. And I'm going to celebrate, I'm excited that I got drafted second, but I'm not going to settle on that, and I'm going to keep going hard and really try to prove myself. I am aware that maybe it was the right decision and going to Dallas is just amazing, but I'm going to celebrate and rest some but not for too long.

Q. You were just kind of mentioning that you felt like you still needed to work on some things. Once you get to Dallas, what kind of things are you going to continue to work on?

SATOU SABALLY: You know, I feel like I can work on every aspect of my game. I'm never satisfied with myself, and I never settle, but I will rebound hard, as hard as I can. I will drive harder to the basket because sometimes I still shy away from too much contact, which I have done a lot better on that the past year, but I still want to improve on that, get more finishes around the rim, more variations around the basket and from the arc. As I said, you can improve on everything. You can improve everything, and I'm also going to get that Dirk [Nowitzki] fadeaway shot since I will be in Dallas.

Q. I didn't know you had stayed in Eugene this whole time, so that must have been pretty cool to share that with Mark Campbell. I know you guys have known each other for a long time.

SATOU SABALLY: Yeah, he's been a mentor to me. He's really been a lot more than a coach, so it was awesome that he was able to be there.

Q. I know Sabrina has announced a shoe deal with Nike. I wonder if there's a shoe deal in the works for you and if there's anything in that regard that you want to share.

SATOU SABALLY: I'm still weighing my options on the shoe deals.

Q. And then with Dallas, do you feel pretty comfortable with the talent there? It looks like a really young, exciting roster.

SATOU SABALLY: Yeah. It really reminds me of Oregon and starting a program from new, setting a new culture, so I'm really just excited. I'm really excited to play with young players. I feel like we can really build something great, and Coach [Brian] Agler is really a great coach, has shown in history what success means, and also means to him, and I believe that with the coaching staff and our new players that we will achieve great things.

Q. It's such an uncertain time; what's next in the process in terms of acclimating yourself with your team and eventually with that community?

SATOU SABALLY: You know, I'm not going to think about that yet, what's next first. I'm going to celebrate with my family and friends. That's next for now. But until then, I'm going to stay in shape and work hard and I'm going to wait for Coach Agler to call to tell me what's next.

Q. As a European, I wonder how you think your German heritage impacts your game and your mentality?

SATOU SABALLY: My game and mentality has really been influenced by Germany and the European culture, just playing in nearly every country in Europe and in almost every city in Germany has taught me how to travel, how to have that professional life, and I feel like I'm bringing that into the WNBA already as a rookie.

Q. When we talked last week, you were in Dallas, and I know that at that point it was hard to hope for something that wasn't certain, but now that it's official you're in Dallas, what does it mean to you to be in that city in particular in addition to going No. 2 overall?

SATOU SABALLY: I'm really so excited. I haven't had the chance even to talk to Jalen yet, my boyfriend, but I guess I'm coming back now sooner than we thought. It means so much to me. You know, and just as I already said so many times, like the German culture in Dallas is just growing, and I'm just super excited.

Q. You've been open about your passion regarding race and equality issues. Now that you're officially in the WNBA, how do you want to use your platform to bring attention to these issues?

SATOU SABALLY: You know, first of all, I really think that I still need to grow and learn a lot about race issues and equality and such because I believe that the more you know the more you can advocate for. But the things that I do know and the things that I am interested in, I will continue to have conversations around it, and I will raise awareness on my social media platforms, make connections to people that are really interested in it and want to make a change, and I'm going to start working with them. People like LeBron, people like Serena Williams and even Kaepernick, they're all just a great inspiration to my life that I would love to work with and that I want to create change with. I'm just super excited to be able to combine basketball and my passion about equality.

Q. Satou, names that were the second pack in the past, Elena Delle Donne, Liz Cambage. Now it's up to you. How do you feel to be the same pick as these legends?

SATOU SABALLY: I mean, it feels great. Elena Delle Donne, MVP, she's an amazing player, and to be able to be compared to her really -- it feels like I was even the No. 1. She's just great, and Liz Cambage, I've been able to talk to her there, amazing role models, and I'm just so happy to be able to follow in their footsteps.

 
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