Kenyan basketball forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa has been drafted to the Los Angeles Sparks squad for the 2022 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Olivia, daughter of renowned former Kenya Morans player Sebastian Ododa, was picked 19th overall in the second round of the WNBA draft on Monday by the L.A. Sparks.
The 20-year-old forward was praised by Sparks’ General Manager and Head Coach Derek Fisher after her selection.
“Olivia Nelson-Ododa was a contributor on both ends of the floor for a UConn program that went to four consecutive Final Fours in her tenure,” Fisher said.
“We’re excited to see how her size, length, rebounding, and passing ability can translate at the next level.”
Olivia is already following in the footsteps of his father Sebastian Ododa represented Kenya during the 1987 All African Games in Nairobi.
The 6-foot-5 forward/centre averaged 9.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists for UConn this past season.
She led the Huskies with a 59.5 percentage shooting clip from the field and was a 2022 All-Big East First Team selection. She also averaged 1.7 blocks per game in 2021-22.
Olivia, who will turn 22 on August 17, was named the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21 and will look to establish herself in the WNBA with her prowess on that end of the floor.
She has played basketball for Winder-Barrow High School in Georgia, where she was named Athens Banner-Herald Co-Player of the Year after averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
She was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game during her high school senior year and was also named Miss Georgia Basketball
During the FIBA U17 World championship in 2016, she won bronze with the USA and later scooped gold in 2018 at the FIBA Americas Under-18 championship.