Coming up Aces: WNBA No. 1 pick Jackie Young opens up

Saeed Rahbaran for ESPN Magazine

One year after snagging eventual ROY A'ja Wilson with the first overall pick, the Las Vegas Aces added another building block at the top of the WNBA draft in former Notre Dame guard Jackie Young, who hopes she's so good she has a street named after her (again).

ESPN: How did it feel to go No. 1?

JACKIE YOUNG: I was supposed to get a hint the night before, but I didn't really get it. So I was stressed out the whole day and didn't know what to expect. When I heard my name get called, it was a relief. I was in shock. It's definitely an honor.

In your career, you've always been a prolific scorer. But with so much young scoring talent already on the Aces roster, how are you going to approach being an impactful player?

I felt like I did that at Notre Dame. I didn't really focus on my scoring there. I did whatever I could to help the team win -- guarding the best defender, getting rebounds and assists. I'm willing to put others before myself and do what I can to help my team win -- the small things that sometimes go unnoticed. You grew up in a small Indiana town and played in the same state in college.

How nervous are you to go live somewhere else for the first time?

I went to Las Vegas once, my senior year of high school. We went sightseeing and to a couple of shows, and I remember we went to Hoover Dam and we stayed at Treasure Island. I'm excited to go out there and experience something new and different.

What is something not many people know about you?

I have a street named after me in my hometown. It was after I got the Naismith Award and broke the scoring record in Indiana. We won the state title too. It's Jackie Young Way, and it's the street leading to the high school.


An LA pro hoops team with legit title hopes? Yep, as crazy as that sounds, our expert Mechelle Voepel sees more than just a WNBA postseason berth in the Sparks' future. Here are her picks for the 2019 season.

MVP Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks

ROY Napheesa Collier, Minnesota Lynx

WNBA Finals Los Angeles Sparks vs. Washington Mystics

WNBA champs Los Angeles Sparks