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Megan Gustafson leaving the Aces for Spain—Is this a smart move for her career?

The numbers have officially moved up! Today, the WNBA announced that the Aces Megan Gustafson has been named to the Spain Women’s Basketball Team for the Paris Olympics. This has, in turn, raised the number of the Aces competing at the Olympics to 6, as A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Chelsea Gray, and Jackie Young will be representing Team USA while Tiffany Hayes will play 3×3 basketball for Azerbaijan.

“Becoming an Olympian is something I have dreamt about my whole life. And now being able to represent Spain in Paris is such an honor! (I’m) very grateful, excited, and ready to start this journey,” were Gustafson’s words after making it to the Spanish Olympic Team. This indeed will take Megan Gustafson towards a new journey in her career, so let’s take a look at the beginnings that brought her this far.

Megan Gustafson was a high school superstar

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With athletic genes flowing in her blood, Megan Gustafson was born to Eva and Clendon Gustafson in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1996. Her father played basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Superior while her mother had multifaceted interests as she played basketball and volleyball at St. Scholastica.

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Moreover, Gustafson has a sister, Emily, who also played basketball at Upper Iowa. Before arriving in Iowa, Megan attended the South Shore High School in Port Wing, Wisconsin. She was the high school wonder who raised the bar for up-and-coming high school athletes.

Ranked at # 80 in her class by ESPN HoopGurlz, Gustafson had a wide range of accolades registered under her name. She led her high school team to conference, sectional, and regional championships both as a sophomore and a senior. In between, she was able to secure that championship as a junior.

 

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Besides that, she set some impressive records, including a single-game state record of 64 points as a senior, scoring 50+ points in back-to-back games, and amassing 1000+ points in a single season. In her basketball career at South Shore, she tallied 3,229 points, 1724 rebounds, and 628 blocks.

Just like her mother, Gustafson too had a knack for exploring other sports as she was named to the all-conference selection in volleyball (four times), and competed in track and field – shot put, discus, triple jump, 300-meter hurdles, and 100-meter hurdles.

In four years of high school, Gustafson also played for the Viking Club at the AAU for a year, Team Wisconsin for a year, and Team Wisconsin Select Black for three years, with which she won the North Tartan Meltdown as the eighth-best team in the nation in 2014. Then came her time to make waves at Iowa, and she arrived with a bang.

Gustafson’s Iowa Hawkeyes era

She started 14 games and appeared in all and was the only Big 10 freshman to lead the Hawkeyes in field goal percentage (.554), blocks (58), and rebounds (225). As for her standings in the program, she ranked third in blocks, fourth in rebounds with those numbers, and seventh in points at 352.

Then came her sophomore season in 2016-17 when the league coaches and media named her to the All-Big Ten for her remarkable accomplishments. These included 18 double-doubles, setting the single-season rebounding record with 10 boards, and registering a career-high score of 33 points. She surpassed Sam Logic’s record of 35 double-doubles with 55 double-doubles; with it, she also broke the men’s record of 48 double-doubles set by Kevin Kunnert. Gaining in on career points, she ranked 6th on Iowa’s all-time career scoring chart.

Her Junior season brought a lot of recognition. From First Team to Second and Third Team, she received All-American honors from seven different outlets. Leading the nation in 9 statistical categories, Gustafson was one of the top 9 athletes across the United States. At the time, she was the only player to average 25+ points, and to shoot over 67% from the field. With that, she broke Cindy Haugejorde’s 283-field goals record with her 320 field goals made. She also eclipsed Cindy’s 672-point record from 1980 with her 823 points.

Megan Gustafson also broke her own record of 343 rebounds from her sophomore season with 411 rebounds as a Junior. Coming up to free throws made, she surpassed Kachine Alexander’s 148 mark from the 2010-11 season with her 183 free throws.

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Her time as a senior Hawkeye saw a huge amount of spotlight with her as the center of all things happening. She received several prestigious honors like the Honda Sports Award for Women’s Basketball, the Lisa Leslie Award, National Player of the Year in the Big 10 history, Big 10’s all-time leading rebounder, and the Big 10 Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

As for Iowa, she became the program’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder with 2804 points and 1460 rebounds in her career, along with 88 double-doubles and 1136 field goals made. On reaching 1000+ career points as a senior, she became the fourth NCAA women’s basketball student-athlete and first-ever post player to have reached the milestone.

Concluding her career with 16 Iowa records under her name, Megan Gustafson was then selected as the 17th overall pick by the Dallas Wings in the 2019 WNBA draft and now she is about to make her mark on the international stage.

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Stay tuned for more such updates, and to follow what Shaq’s ex-agent, Leonard Armato, has to say about the infamous Shaq-Kobe feud, Caitlin Clark’s Olympic snub, and more, watch this video: