Aussies in the WNBA – Ezi Magbegor

THE Australian basketball system has been producing talent of extreme high quality over the last few years, with plenty of Aussie graduates either choosing to stay and compete in the nation’s high quality domestic competitions such as the WNBL, or some opt to head overseas for potentially greener pastures.

The development of female basketball in Australia has seen many locals head into the biggest league of them all in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the United States, with a large number having a level of success during their tenure. This number is only going to increase as success stories continue to emerge, and one of these stories is Ezi Magbegor.

Magbegor was born in Wellington, New Zealand, where she lived until she was six years old, which is when her family decided to cross the Tasman Sea and move to Australia. During her youth, Magbegor was recognized as an extremely gifted basketball player, developing her game throughout her time at high school.

At age 15, she was awarded a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra, as she had proven herself as a talented basketball prospect. She was able to hone her craft under coach Paul Gorris, who is highly respected in the Australian Basketball world.

Like many talented young female basketballers in Australia, Magbegor began her professional career playing for the Center of Excellence (CoE) in the South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL). She took this opportunity with both hands and was able to shine, announcing herself as one of the nation’s most promising young centers.

This tenure resulted in Magbegor signing with the Canberra Capitals for the 2017-18 season, fully emerging as the next generation of basketball in Australia. She moved south for the following season signing a three-year deal with the Melbourne Boomers.

This decision drew the eye of many, as she knocked back offers from several colleges to develop her game in the WNBL. In her first few seasons, it was clear Magbegor was a class above, especially for her age, with a dominant presence on the glass leading the headlines. She was also awarded the Betty Watson Rookie of the Year trophy, given to the best performing youngster in the WNBL.

In 2019, Magbegor reached the pinnacle of her career to date, as she was drafted with the 12th pick in the WNBA Draft, demonstrating the potential she had shown in recent years. With the WNBA and the WNBL taking place during opposite times of the year, Magbegor was still able to maintain her spot on the the Boomers, while also suiting up for the Storm.

During her debut year, Magbegor played 22 games, all of which saw her come off the bench and impact the game. She delivered averages of 6.5 points (while shooting 57% from the field) and 2.5 rebounds per game. The limited minutes meant she could not deliver massive averages, but she made the most of her opportunities when given the chance to hit the court. In more positive news for the season, the Storm ended up winning the WNBA title in the ‘wubble’, making Magbegor a WNBA champion.

Her second saw slightly increased opportunity, with the Aussie playing 30 games, which included three starting appearances for the Storm. During these matches, she showed that she has the capability to become a starting center in the league, and was able to produce a career-high 21 points in one contest.

At just 22 years of age, Magbegor has plenty more development to come, and looks to be on the right track, despite the expectation that comes with being dubbed ‘the next Lauren Jackson‘. With the WNBL season just around the corner, and the WNBA season following shortly after, keep an eye on Magbegor and the impact she is likely to have on the court.


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