By Raymond Rolak | CNBNews Exclusive
FREELAND, Mich. -- Tori Jankoska couldn’t hold back the tears of joy when, with the ninth overall pick, she was drafted by the Chicago Sky. She watched the draft festivities with about 40 family and friends in the basement of her parents, Randy and Lisa Jankoska. The Michigan State guard wanted to stay in the confines of support and share the experience. Her whole playing career has been that way. She shares and dishes off to her teammates. She offers support. She is the complete team player.
Michigan State head coach Suzy Merchant watched the draft in Freeland along with the Jankoska family. As a senior, in 33 games this season, Jankoska averaged 22.6 points a game. Jankoska is an excellent free-throw shooter, averaging 91 %. She had a season high of 42 points against Ohio State.
The unanimous All-Big Ten, First Team selection said, “I am really excited, and Chicago is a great city. They have a new coach and are re-building their program. I am just really excited to go and try to earn a spot there. This is really thrilling, and I am so glad to be able to share it with those people who mean the most to me.”
Chicago had two first round picks. South Carolina’s Alaina Coates was chosen second overall by the Sky. They will join three other players from Big Ten schools on the Sky roster in Kahleah Copper, Betnijah Laney and Cappie Pondexter, all from Rutgers.
Jankoska was one of four players from the Big Ten Conference to be drafted in the first round along with Northwestern’s Nia Coffey, who was drafted by San Antonio (fifth overall pick), Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who was chosen by Washington (sixth overall pick) and Maryland’s Brionna Jones, who was drafted by Connecticut (eight overall pick). Ohio State’s Shayla Cooper went to Connecticut with the first pick of the second round.
With the first pick in the 2017 draft, San Antonio took Washington’s Kelsey Plum.
The 5’8” playmaker has made an impact as a consistent scorer since she debuted as a freshman. She worked her way into the starting lineup and contributed to a Big Ten championship. Jankoska said humbly, “I am blessed to have this opportunity.”
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