Naismith Award Winner Megan Gustafson Joins Iowa United

 

By: Peyton Wesner | @pcwesner


2019 Naismith Award Winner Megan Gustafson to play for Iowa United

TBT history will be made this summer.

Two-time NCAA Division I women’s basketball scoring leader Megan Gustafson is the first active women’s professional player to join a TBT roster. The 2019 Naismith Award winner joins Iowa Unitedhoping to make its inaugural tournament appearance.

“She is going to bring a lot of toughness,” said Iowa United general manager Matt Crawford. “It says a lot about her that she didn’t hesitate and she was interested in doing this.

“She’s excited about the opportunity and we’re pretty happy to have her.”

Gustafson, who scored 2,804 career points, averaged 27.8 points and 13.4 rebounds during her senior season at the University of Iowa. The 6-foot-3 forward was drafted with the 17th overall pick in April’s WNBA Draft after leading the Hawkeyes to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament this spring. Gustafson not only averaged a double-double during the four-game tournament run, but over her final three collegiate campaigns. 

“We are ecstatic and honored to have this year’s College Player of the Year playing in TBT,” said TBT Founder and CEO Jon Mugar. “Megan is a tremendous inspiration, as she’s taking on the challenge of playing with and against the top male players in the world this summer.”

When Gustafson was waived by the Dallas Wings on May 22, Crawford looked to former Hawkeyes men's basketball player Nicholas Baer to make contact. Baer loved the idea of the 2019 Associated Press First Team All-American playing in the tournament and made the connection.

“I asked, ‘Would you mind reaching out and giving me her contact information?’” recalled Crawford. “Probably ten minutes later, Nicholas said, ‘Yeah, you can give her a call.’

“We started the process and Megan’s been great. She is a wonderful person and someone the entire state of Iowa can be proud of.”

With its latest addition, Iowa United showcases a very talented roster which also includes the fourth pick in the 2002 NBA Draft Marcus Fizer and 2,000-point scorer at Drake University Reed Timmer. According to Crawford, his team hopes to play in the Wichita Regional from July 25-28.

“We’re not looking at this as a one-year thing. It’s like any program, you’re going to have to build it,” explained Crawford. “The players we have — we couldn’t have asked for much better.” 

As for Gustafson, she says her focus is to train and compete at a high level this summer. Crawford believes TBT will give the Iowa great the opportunity to do so.

“I told her the first time we talked, ‘Everybody’s journey in basketball is different. There is no right way or wrong way,’” said Crawford. “Just having this avenue for her to go down is great.”