A little more than a year ago, Toni Young was still coming off a broken arm and, thus, coming off the bench for Oklahoma State.
Now, she's in position to be selected in the first round of Monday night's WNBA Draft.
Young is one of 12 players invited to attend the ceremony held at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. And the past few days, Young's Twitter feed has been filled with photos of her and other prospects, casual banter with WNBA veteran Swin Cash and an announcement that she has signed with Ticha Penicheiro, the former WNBA All-Star who is now an agent.
“WNBA 2013 we in the building!” Young tweeted Saturday night. “Living and loving life to the fullest! #Blessed”
Young capped an extremely productive Cowgirl career with a standout senior season, averaging 16 points and 10.1 rebounds per game and becoming a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection. She also became just the second player in OSU history to record 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 100 blocks in a career.
Though Young is undersized as a 6-2 forward, her explosive athleticism — she can dunk and made the Olympic trials in the high jump last year — makes her an intriguing pro prospect. To be successful at the next level, however, Young will likely need to continue to expand her perimeter game, an area she worked on during her final season at OSU.
“She helps control a game with her ability to rebound and she is an efficient scorer,” Tulsa Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said in an interview with the team's website this week. “She is a first-round prospect in the WNBA draft because of her athleticism and rebounding ability.”
There won't be much suspense at the top of the WNBA Draft, as the “Three to See” — Baylor's Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins — are all but guaranteed to come off the board with the first three picks.
After that, who knows?
Teams that specifically mentioned Young as a potential target in WNBA.com's draft preview include the Seattle at No. 6, Connecticut at No. 11 and defending champion Indiana at No. 9.
Even after getting drafted, officially making a WNBA team out of training camp will still be a task for Young, as the roster size limit is 11 players.
But Monday night should provide Young with the first step in her professional basketball journey.
“My senior year is when I really knew I wanted to play pro,” Young told WNBA.com this week. “But this year is when I realized I had a shot.”