OLYMPIC bronze medallist Rachel Jarry will play with Minnesota Lynx in the upcoming Women’s National Basketball Association season in the United States.
Minnesota confirmed its roster yesterday (Australian time) with Jarry officially confirmed on the regular season list for her rookie season.
Jarry, who played with the then-titled Ballarat Lady Miners in 2010, is set to become the first player from Ballarat basketball ranks to play the sport in a professional American national league.
The 21-year-old has spent the past five seasons playing in Australia’s top women’s competition, the Women’s National Basketball League, making her debut with the Australian Institute of Sport in 2008-09 before moving to Bulleen Boomers where she was a championship player in 2011 and WNBL all-star player in 2012.
Jarry was drafted to Atlanta Dream as pick 18 in the 2011 WNBA draft and traded that day to Minnesota in a draft day deal.
Lynx then opted to save Jarry for later use, aware of her demanding schedule with the Australian Opals in an Olympic year.
In the WNBA, until a contract is signed, teams retain the first rights to their players indefinitely.
Lynx signed Jarry in February, calling her over to the States for pre-season competition and a bid to make the final cut with the WNBA’s reigning western conference champion.
Ballarat Basketball chief executive officer Peter Eddy said Jarry’s confirmation on the Lynx roster was exciting news at the Minerdome. “It’s a great achievement for Rachel – she’s doing really well,” Eddy said.
“Rachel still has a real interest and connection with the girls in the (Ballarat) Rush team, coming to games.
“She was one of those girls who was always at presentations and all the things around the club.”
Jarry was named Lady Miners’ most valuable player for the 2010 South East Australian Basketball League season.
She had initially been named on the newly-titled Rush roster for 2011 as a restricted player but was unable to take to the floor with a knee injury and was replaced mid-season by New Zealand Olympian Nat Taylor.
The 185-centimetre forward made her Olympic debut in London as the youngest player on the Australian roster and featuring in all eight games as the Opals claimed bronze.
Jarry is tipped to be part of the Opals campaign for the 2014 FIBA women’s world championships in Turkey, under new Opals head coach Brendan Joyce, a Ballarat Miners’ championship coach.
Minnesota Lynx will play their WNBA season opener against the Connecticut Sun on June 1.
Meanwhile, former Ballarat Miners development league player Stefan Osborne has been offered a four-year full basketball scholarship at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
Osborne boarded at St Patrick’s College in 2010-11 and has since been playing with Geelong-based Corio Bay Stingrays in the Big V league.