Oregon senior point guard Sabrina Ionescu stands alone as the only member of one of the most exclusive clubs in college basketball.
No other player in NCAA DI men's or women's basketball history has 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career — until now. Ionescu has created the 2,000-1,000-1,000 club, something that's only possible thanks to her rare blend of four-year greatness and extreme versatility.
She entered a matchup against No. 4 Stanford in late February 2020 needing just nine rebounds to reach the milestone and she reached it in the final two minutes of the third quarter with her Ducks leading by double digits.
In her record-setting game, Ionescu finished with a triple-double — 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
Where does Sabrina Ionescu rank among the all-time greats in college basketball and across eras?
I compared Ionescu to 12 college greats — from the men's and women's game, various positions and generations: USC's Lisa Leslie and Cheryl Miller, UConn's Diana Taurasi and Rebecca Lobo, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Tennessee's Candace Parker, LSU's Shaquille O'Neal and Pete Maravich, Davidson's Steph Curry, Wake Forest's Tim Duncan and Creighton's Doug McDermott. I picked those players based on these factors:
- They were great for a long period of time
- They excelled at one or more areas of the game in which Sabrina does too
- The what-if? factor. It's fun to see how she compares to other greats from widely different eras and who played different positions
Here are the total points, rebounds and assists each player compiled in his or her career — a simple way of accounting for total production using the three most common statistical categories. Sabrina's 1,000+ career assists pop out right away.
The other 12 players examined combined for 3,491 assists in their college career and she finished her college career with roughly a third of that total by herself. Just imagine how many points Sabrina is responsible for in her career if you combine the points she scored with the points scored off of her assists.
The following stats are updated through Ionescu's senior season.
|Elena delle donne||114||3,974||3,039||1,020||227||4,286|
"The eye test, you just see her on the floor," Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry told the Pac-12 Network, when asked what stands out about Ionescu. "You know, stats, they mean a lot but when you get to watch somebody and the passion that she brings. It's in her eyes and I just think the competitive nature that she has, you can't teach that. If she didn't have that, she wouldn't be who she was and I think that's the difference-maker."
Here's a tempo-free look at those numbers — evaluating those same players based on how many minutes, on average, it took each of them to record one point, one rebound and one assist, respectively, for their careers.
We only counted minutes played for each player, not total minutes in a game. The number of minutes played by some of the players examined is unavailable, so they aren't include in the tables below.
|Player||minutes per point|
|Elena delle donne||1.31|
Here are how many minutes each player spent on the floor per rebound grabbed in his/her career.
|player||minutes per rebound|
|elena delle donne||3.90|
This is how many minutes each player spent on the floor per assist he/she dished out in his/her career.
|player||minutes per assist|
|elena delle donne||17.51|
The following table shows the all-time DI leaders in official triple-doubles. Note that triple-doubles include only statistics from points, rebounds (since 1951), assists (since 1984), blocked shots (since 1986) or steals (since 1986).
You can argue that besides Sabrina creating the 2,000-1,000-1,000 club, her triple-doubles is the next-best stat that shows her excellence. No other college player has had her blend of scoring ability, shot-creation and rebounding prowess, or at least able to consistently excel in all three statistical categories on a nightly basis over the course of four years.
Sabrina has averaged more points per game in her career than Rebecca Lobo, Tim Duncan and Diana Taurasi did in their college careers. She's averaged more rebounds than Pistol Pete Maravich, Steph Curry and Taurasi, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many players who averaged more assists per game in their careers than her 7.68 assists per game.
That's what makes Sabrina, Sabrina.