We’re counting down the 25 best former Texas athletes still competing in their sport. Each day we’ll reveal a new athlete.
No. 20 Imani McGee-Stafford, basketball
McGee-Stafford arrived at Texas as one of the top recruits in the nation looking to help Texas coach Karen Aston establish a new era on the 40 Acres. She left Austin as one of the most decorated Longhorn women’s basketball players in decades. McGee-Stafford was the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and was Big 12 Freshman of the Year in in 2013, when she was also on the conference All-Defensive team. The former McDonald’s All-American from Los Angeles started all 36 games for the Longhorns during her senior season, when she led the Longhorns to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003.
Pro career: McGee-Stafford followed in her brother’s footsteps, JaVale McGree, and became a professional basketball player when the Chicago Sky selected her 10th overall in the first round of the 2016 WNBA Draft. She was named to the WNBA All-Rookie team in 2016. She was traded in 2017 to the Atlanta Dream. When she’s not playing in the WNBA, McGee-Stafford, like most WNBA players, plays overseas. In 2016-2017 she played in the Israeli Female Basketball Premier League and this past year signed a contract with the Beijing Great Wall of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association.
Why she’s here: Only 23, McGee-Stafford could have a long and successful career ahead of her both in the WNBA and overseas. McGee-Stafford, along with Ariel Atkins (who was drafted earlier this month in the WNBA) will become standard barriers for Longhorns programs at the next level. But McGee-Stafford could also become a powerful voice off the court, where she has already published a book about her life, Notes in the Key of Heartbreak, as well as a nonprofit that combines sports and mental health called Hoops and Hope Foundation.
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