For someone who has always been considered an underdog, Kelsey Plum continues to prove people wrong by carving her own path.
The first overall pick in the 2017 WNBA draft wrapped up her NCAA career with a host of records, including the Pac-12 all-time leading scorer for either sex, the NCAA men’s and women’s record for points in a single season, the NCAA women’s all-time scoring record, and was only 270 points shy of the all-time NCAA scoring record for both men’s and women’s basketball. One thing is clear: don’t tell Kelsey that she’s not tall enough or not strong enough. She’ll prove you wrong.
“I’ve always been a little bit of an underdog… kind of gone under the radar. Maybe it’s my size, or how athletic I am.” Kelsey adds, “At the end of the day, I’m going to go after it.” The guard, listed at 5’8”, has always wanted to play in the WNBA, and was even laughed at in eighth grade for suggesting it, but on April 13, 2017, she was drafted ahead of everyone and joined the San Antonio Stars.
It all started with a highly competitive family, and joining her dad in pick-up games in seventh grade. “I’d get killed,” Kelsey says, “but I learned how to get my shot off and just stay fearless.” The dark horse mentality never seemed to go away. “I was invited to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game and got stopped because they thought I was the manager and they wouldn’t let me go in the arena.”
All of this fueled a fire and helped drive Kelsey, both on and off the court. She is quick to point out that one of her proudest achievements is “leaving UW better than I found it. Not necessarily [through] basketball, but trying to make an impact on the community, and provide a little inspiration.” Kelsey was also driven to become a relentless preparation machine, focusing on practice, weights, nutrition, and hydration.
Now Kelsey is now looking ahead to her future. “All those records are great, but it’s over. I’m starting fresh. I’m a rookie, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m a scrub and I haven’t done anything. I want to be the best player I can be. I want to be the best player in the world… but baby steps. One day at a time.”