Former Oklahoma State standout Toni Young was taken seventh overall by the New York Liberty in the WNBA Draft Monday night.
For my story for Tuesday’s paper, I focused on the relationship between Young and her brother, Michael, who first pushed her to play basketball and was by her side when her name was called.
But we covered a lot of other topics in a phone interview shortly after she was selected. Here is the rest of our conversation:
Can you describe what your emotions are like right now?
“I’m pretty excited, getting the opportunity to continue playing and also going in the first round. It’s one of the greatest moments I’ve ever felt before.”
What about the moment when your name was called?
“My heart dropped. You know you’re gonna hear your name, but you don’t know when. I had chills for, seriously, five minutes. I couldn’t do anything but smile. It was just an unbelievable feeling.”
Did you have any feeling that the Liberty was interested in you? Did you start thinking when the No. 7 spot came up that that’s a place you could go?
“I had no idea. I kind of thought about it, just because they had the fifth and seventh pick and I thought I fit in good with their team. Once I heard my name, I was like ‘OK, this is realistic.’ Me and Kelsey Bone (the Liberty’s selection with the fifth overall pick), we’re going together.”
And playing in New York City is a pretty nice perk…
“Right. I’m coming from Oklahoma and moving to the big city.”
Have you ever been to New York before?
“Never. I only know what I’ve seen on the movies.”
What do you feel like you need to most improve to become a successful pro?
“I’m going to extend my game out to the 3-point line. That’s what I’ve been working on in the offseason. A lot of people don’t know I do shoot the 3, so I’m just going to keep working on that and handling the ball and playing the 3 and 4 so I bring more to the table.”
Training camp begins May 5. What’s your schedule going to be like from now until then?
“I really don’t have a schedule anymore. I finished my online class last week and I have a presentation Thursday, and that’s pretty much it. I planned ahead of time. So I will be in the gym every day until training camp.”
Can you sum up what this basketball journey has been like for you? There have been a lot of ups and downs, especially during your final two seasons at OSU.
“It’s been long and it’s been a struggle. It wasn’t easy. I had my bottoms and I had times where you wouldn’t even expect me to be where I am today. But I had people behind me that pushed me, so you can never give up on what you believe in.”
For more on Young, check out this Senior Day story about her relationship with late coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna.