Sabrina Ionescu will spend offseason with Oregon WBB program

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 06: Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the Oregon Ducks reacts after a teammate hit a 3-pointer against the Utah Utes during the Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball tournament quarterfinals at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on March 6, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Ducks defeated the Utes 79-59. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sabrina Ionescu is returning to Oregon, where she’ll spend the WNBA offseason as the Ducks’ director of athletic culture.

Women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves announced the position on Friday. It will be part-time and Ionescu will help with student-athlete development. Additionally, she will help to develop Graves’ five pillars amongst athletes: passion, integrity, unity, thankfulness and servanthood.

“There is no better person I could think of for this position than Sabrina,” Graves said. “Sabrina exemplifies what it means to be an Oregon Duck and she represents everything our program is about. Even in just a part-time capacity, she will have the ability to make an immediate impact on our student-athletes and our program as a whole. She truly is a basketball icon that will be able to connect and develop our players off the court.”

Ionescu left Oregon in 2020, becoming the first No. 1 overall pick in program history. She’s spent the past three seasons with the New York Liberty and was named a WNBA All-Star for the first time in 2022.

She was also a second-team All-WNBA selection, averaging 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists.

During her time with the Ducks, Ionescu won the Wade and Wooden Trophy twice. She also became the all-time NCAA leader – female or male – in triple-doubles with 26. The guard is the only player in NCAA history to record at least 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career assists.

She led the Ducks to the Final Four in 2019 and helped them win the 2020 Pac-12 tournament.

“As a kid growing up in the game, my family helped me develop my passion for basketball and all the values it rewards,” Ionescu said. “When I arrived at Oregon, I joined a new family that embraced those same values and helped me grow even more as a player and as a person. Part of my heart remains in Eugene, and I look forward to cultivating the same family atmosphere for future Ducks in the Oregon women’s basketball program.”