ATLANTA (August 22)-Atlanta Dream guard Matee Ajavon has been in the WNBA for as long as the Dream has been a franchise, but you would never guess it just by looking at her. She still has as much energy and enthusiasm as a rookie. However, if you have ever heard her in a team huddle or seen her command the Dream offense, it is not hard to figure out the 5-8 Rutgers product is both a veteran and a leader.
Associate Head Coach Karleen Thompson, who was head coach of the Houston Comets when they drafted Ajavon with the fifth overall pick in 2008, talks of Matee’s added value in this way, “Players listen to her; she’s just a good leader in that way. She is also good for camaraderie in the locker room and on the court, so we really look to her for that.”
Matee will tell you her beauty has helped her stay in the league for as long as she has, but she also knows the importance of hard work. Coach Thompson added that Matee “is always going to work hard. Since the day she was drafted, that’s all I’ve known her to do. Her work ethic is outstanding.”
Matee inspires more than just her teammates, though. This fall, she is launching the Ajavon Elite Basketball Academy for Girls to help high school coaches prepare student-athletes for success on and off the court. The Academy will partner with local schools to host a bi-weekly clinic where girls will improve their basketball skills and learn valuable lessons about leadership and confidence.
Matee says her decision not to play overseas spurred the Academy and gives her a chance to give back to the Atlanta community. She added, “I thought it would be pretty cool for them to have a professional athlete helping them get better.”
On the court, Matee is taking on the veteran role of fewer minutes but still managing to average 2.7 ppg while leading the team in energy off the bench. She may be number 10 on the court, but she’s number 1 in Dream fans’ hearts.