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Aari McDonald signs with Hungarian team Uni Gyor for rookie European season

Dallas Wings v Atlanta Dream Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Women’s professional basketball isn’t for the weak. The top players in the world play year-round. Former Arizona Wildcat star Aari McDonald will be no different, as the WNBA rookie will head to Hungary to join Uni Gyor MELY-UT after she finishes playing for the Atlanta Dream.

McDonald is currently averaging 5.9 points in 13.6 minutes per game with Atlanta. She is hitting 33.3 percent of her 3-point shots and 94.1 percent of her free throws. She is also dishing out 1.6 assists and grabbing 1.2 rebounds per game.

Her rookie season in the WNBA has been full of instability in terms of team management and playing time. On the court, McDonald has played as many as 24 minutes and also has a DNP-Coach’s Decision from a game when the head coach said he forgot to put her in. Off the court, both the general manager and the head coach who drafted her were gone before the season started.

President and GM Chris Sienko was fired within days of the 2021 WNBA Draft. Shortly thereafter, head coach Nicki Collen opted to take the head coaching position at Baylor just before the season started. The team still has no general manager and no permanent head coach.

After a tumultuous first half of the season that included the indefinite suspension of star guard Chennedy Carter, interim head coach Mike Petersen stepped down on July 24. He has been replaced by interim head coach Darius Taylor, who will seek to lead the 6-13 team after the Olympic break.

McDonald should have a more stable situation in Gyor where she will join former University of Miami star Beatrice Mompremier. The 6-foot-4 forward led Uni Gyor last season with 17.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.

Unless the Dream make the playoffs, McDonald will play the final WNBA game of her rookie season against the Connecticut Sun on Sept. 19. The Hungarian league historically starts play the final week of September or the opening week of October.

Uni Gyor plays in Hungary’s Division A, where they went 19-3 in the 2020-21 regular season. That was good for second in the standings.

In the playoffs, they made it to the semifinals where Atomeromu took the series 2-0. They fell to eventual second-place finisher DVTK Miskolc in the quarterfinals of the Hungary Cup Women.

Outside domestic competition, Uni Gyor played in the 2020-21 EuroCup Women where they went 1-2. They will also play in that competition during the 2021-22 season.

Hungary is turning into a hot landing spot for former Arizona Wildcats. Former Arizona forward Dominique McBryde spent her first season in Hungary’s Division A with Cegledi last year. She will play in the Greek A1 Division for AS Niki Lefkadas during the 2021-22 season.

Hungary’s 12-team league is formally known as the Nemzeti Bajnokság I.A or NB I.A and translates as National Championship I.A.