DALLAS - Maybe it says something about the focus and humility of new DFW basketball standout Satou Sabally that on WNBA Draft night, when the Dallas Wings made her the No. 2 overall pick, she discussed only in passing that her boyfriend "Jalen'' already lives in Dallas.
It took us a minute to figure out that the former University of Oregon hoops star is in a relationship with a guy named "Jalen'' who is also a former University of Oregon sports star.
That'd be "Jalen'' Jelks, defensive end of the Dallas Cowboys.
The other day, when Dallas Mavericks icon Dirk Nowitzki led a group making Mother's Day meal donations to families in South Dallas, Sabally was there, too. That connection made a great deal of sense, and here's why:
“I hope I can put Dallas on the map and get some wins like he did,” Sabally said on Draft Night, referencing Nowitzki, the now-retired star from Germany - which is also Satou's homeland. “He really inspired German basketball tremendously and I hope to be the same influence for German and European basketball players in America.''
Dirk has made here feel at home with his offering of mentorship. But Sabally - one of three Ducks (along Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard) chosen in the first round of the WNBA Draft - is especially fortunate to have landed in the city where Jelks also plays.
The 6-4 Sabally, 22, averaged 16.2 points and career-bests of 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season. Her 1,508 points rank seventh in Oregon history.
“She has the potential and opportunity to be a generational-type player,” said Wings GM Greg Bibb of Sabally, who like Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has the nickname “The Unicorn.” “In another draft she would have been the No. 1 pick.”
Jelks, 23, recorded 6.5 sacks as a junior and 3.5 sacks as a senior before Dallas selected him in Round 7 of the 2019 NFL Draft. He's 6-5 and 256 and hoping to make the team this season after spending 2019 on IR.
He's trying to make a name for himself, just as she is. But it's clear who Sabally's favorite all-time Cowboys player already is. On Twitter, the Dallas Cowboys account is asking fans to name the first player who comes to mind when they see the team's famous star.
"My baby,'' responded Sabally of Jelks.