Dallas Wings select Iowa's Megan Gustafson No. 17 overall in WNBA draft

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

After a collegiate career full of accolades and smiles, Megan Gustafson is officially on the professional basketball scene. It’s a dream that’s been building for a while.

The Iowa standout was chosen No. 17 overall to the Dallas Wings in Wednesday’s WNBA draft, becoming the program’s 13th all-time selection. Gustafson is the first Hawkeye picked in the WNBA draft since Samantha Logic in 2015.

“It was so exciting,” Gustafson said. “To be there with my mom, dad and coach Bluder at the table and my sister and other coaches in the audience when my name was called was amazing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

“Dallas is getting a player who is going to work hard for them every single day, someone who loves the game of basketball and someone who never gives up.”

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Following a whirlwind past few days that included being named the AP player of the year, taking the Naismith Award, Lisa Leslie Award and more, Gustafson was on hand in New York to soak in her big moment. She was one of only 12 prospects invited to the draft, and for good reason.

Megan Gustafson poses for photos before the WNBA basketball draft Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in New York.

Gustafson’s stock continued soaring throughout an emphatic season, which saw her duplicate her junior year success and then some. The consensus all-American tore up the school record books en route to the most dominant Iowa basketball career ever.

Although there are some questions concerning Gustafson’s 6-foot-3 size, her work ethic, dedication and demeanor made for an intriguing profile. The superstar that needed no maintenance became known for her humble approach as much as her basketball prowess.

Leistikow:Her incredible career over, Megan Gustafson's Iowa legacy goes beyond numbers

"I don't want people to get that confused with confidence — because she's confident — but she doesn't have an ego," Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said recently. "She doesn't have to prove it to anybody. She knows how good she is, and she doesn't have to say it. She believes it."

The stats are gaudy as well. Gustafson led the nation in scoring and field-goal percentage while regularly fighting through double- and even triple-teams. That experience will prove vital at the next level.

There’s little time to relax, as WNBA training camp begins May 5 ahead of the May 24 season opener. Now with a professional home, Gustafson will look to keep this momentum rolling.

"I think people are worried that Megan won’t be able to take her game away from the hoop. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’s going to be able to do that," Bluder said. “Everything that I have ever given Megan to work on, she has tackled and thrived at taking on a challenge. I know she is going to do that at the next level.”

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.