Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri / The Associated Press
In the 2021 WNBA Draft the Atlanta Dream took Arizona guard Aari McDonald with the No. 3 overall pick. Atlanta looks to pair McDonald with Chennedy Carter in the backcourt to help ease her workload and help with some of the primary ball handling duties.
Aari McDonald racked up an impressive resume while at the University of Arizona, during her time there she averaged 24.2 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field, 6.5 rebounds per game and 4.6 assists per game. McDonald also holds multiple scoring records for the Wildcats. In 2021 she was named PAC-12 Player of the Year and she was also the 2020 and 2021 PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
McDonald led the Wildcats to the Women’s NCAA Championship game this past season. She averaged 24.8 points per game during the tournament. Her spectacular showing in the Elite Eight and Final Four skyrocketed her draft stock. McDonald and the Wildcats put on a spectacular showing in the Final Four upsetting the UConn Huskies behind 26 points from their star guard.
Last season the Dream finished 7-15. In the offseason they lost the WNBA 2020 Most Imporved Player and reigning All-Defensive First Team selection Betnijah Laney in free agency. Atlanta is looking for McDonald to play heavy minutes in her first season to fill the void left in their roster.
McDonald and Carter are poised to become a dynamic 1-2 punch for the Dream. Both guards have gifted scoring ability and are able to take control of a game late down the stretch. McDonald looks to continue her toughness on the defensive end of the ball as well when she enters into the league. In the Wildcats Final Four matchup against the Huskies, Aari was able to hold the Paige Bueckers, the AP Player of the Year, to 18 points.
McDonald will be a spark to a franchise looking to recover from last season’s woes. She is destined to be a matchup nightmare for guards across the league on both ends of the court. Look for Aari to be in the Rookie of the Year race this upcoming season. The Dream kick their season off May 14 against the Connecticut Sun at the Gateway Center Arena.