In the least surprising news ever, Arizona Wildcats star guard Aari McDonald told the Arizona Daily Star that she is going pro at the end of the season.
McDonald is currently projected to be the No. 8 pick in ESPN’s 2021 WNBA mock draft. She has said she was leaning toward entering the draft last year, but a leg injury and the NCAA Tournament being cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic swayed her to return to Arizona for her redshirt senior season.
McDonald is currently averaging 18.8 points, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game entering Arizona’s season finale at ASU. The Wildcats are No. 9 in the AP poll and projected to get a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“This is the last year you will see me in an Arizona jersey,” McDonald told the Star. “My time has been great here. I’ve grown as a person and as a player. I’ve got to accomplish the mission. Yeah, this is my last time here. It’s time to grow and get better each game, make my teammates better and just keep making history.”
McDonald is arguably the best player in school history, currently sitting fourth in career points despite only playing three seasons. She has also scored in double figures in 84 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation and her entire UA career.
McDonald has also made big strides as a distributor, posting career highs in assists per game (4.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5) this season.
Not only that, but McDonald is the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the year and currently leads the conference in steals. Her relentlessness is the main reason the Wildcats have been a dominant defensive team during her tenure.
The Wildcats will now wait and see what fellow seniors Sam Thomas and Trinity Baptiste decide about their futures. Head coach Adia Barnes believes one or two of them will return next season.
“I’ll be 1 for 3 or 2 for 3, I’m pretty confident in that,” Barnes said. “Knock on wood.”