Former South Salem star Evina Westbrook drafted by WNBA’s Seattle Storm

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 10:31 PM PDT
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SALEM, Ore. (KPTV) - She was twice named the Oregon State Player of the Year at South Salem High School as her Saxons won back-to-back state titles. Now five years later, Evina Westbrook played in two Final Fours with U-Conn and was just drafted by the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

FOX 12′s Nick Krupke went one-on-one with the Salem superstar ahead of her first professional training camp.

Westbrook: “Honestly, when I saw my name pop-up, I broke down a little bit. I started crying, so I was like, man. Everything that I worked for, I have always dreamed of me going to a high D-1 college, I did that. I dreamed of me playing in the Final Four, I did that. I dreamed of me getting drafted. Dreamed of me playing for the Seattle Storm, and all of it is just like super surreal. Everything that I put my mind to and all of the dedication and hard work that I’ve put into the gym, countless hours and stuff, it’s really paying off. It was an unbelievable feeling.”

Krupke: “Amazing stuff to play for the national title last Monday, and then being drafted in the WNBA the next Monday, you had a 48-hour window to declare for the draft or return to school for your last year of NCAA eligibility, or go pro.”

Westbrook: “Man, I am still trying to take it all in as we speak. It’s quite unbelievable.”

Now 23-years old and soon to be a college graduate with a degree in communication and a post-playing career desire of basketball broadcasting, Westbrook just got her tank full of hoops 101 after five years in college.

The first two years with Tennessee, then two knee surgeries, and the last two season with Connecticut, where a pair of Final Fours with a national runner-up opportunity arrived with the Huskies after those first 18-years back at home being coached up by her dad, former Oregon State Beaver James Westbrook, and going sibling-on-sibling with her big brother, LJ Westbrook.

Westbrook: “Me and him, that is one of my best friends for sure. He’s always been hard on me because he knows I am harder on myself, but he is also that voice of getting me out of situations if I am in my head too much or just, he has always just been there as has my mom. They have always been there since the beginning and we are a close-knit family for sure. He has pushed me on the court, he plays basketball as well overseas and in Mexico so, he never used to let me win one-on-one, beating up on me, making me tough and kind of made me the player that I am so I really thank him.”

Krupke: “So, here we are back in Salem where you’re a legend forever. You see some of these kids, your dad is out here with his Run & Shoot Basketball program, basketball has been so engrained in your family from day one, what has growing up in the capitol city meant to you and what does it mean to you to give back and be a face for the whole area with your success?”

Westbrook: “Me feeling the love just over the past two weeks has been beyond amazing. People that I went to high school with, my teachers that I had back in preschool or fifth grade reaching out to me to say they are proud of me, that they are watching - Salem is proud of me, the city of Salem, the state of Oregon is proud of me, so just to hear that is really, it’s really a great feeling.”

The hometown hero is the star of the show back at her home court.

Westbrook is now on her road up I-5 to begin her first professional training camp alongside the legendary Sue Bird and fellow U-Conn grad, along with another Oregon-bred baller, Springfield’s Mercedes Russell. Russell was a teammate of Westbrook’s at Tennessee, and she’s already a two-time WNBA champion in her fifth season with the Storm.