Most WNBA players are major program superstars. If they are a top-3 pick, then there’s a good chance they will play for over a decade.
For Mystics guard, Kim Mestdagh, that wasn’t the case.
She played at Colorado State of the Mountain West Conference. It’s certainly one of the stronger leagues, but it’s also not the Pac-12 or Big-12. And their most notable players are Becky Hammon, now an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and Jason Smith, who played a few seasons with the Wizards from 2016-18. Hammon and Smith had to overcome a lot of obstacles to play in the WNBA and NBA, respectively for long periods of time. And now, Mestdagh joins Hammon and Smith as one of the Rams’ alumni who made it to basketball’s biggest stage.
In an interview with Mike Brohard of CSURams.com, Mestdagh said the following on her arrival to the WNBA.
“I honestly never thought the WNBA was a realistic thing for me, so in a way, I never could lose hope. If it happened, great. If it never did, also great. But I have to say, if I knew back then how it felt to make it to this stage, it probably would have been a dream for me.”
Mestdagh is now 29-years old and in the prime of her career, yet she is technically a WNBA rookie. We have certainly seen her shine with the Belgian national team as one of Emma Meesseman’s key sidekicks as the Cats eventually won the bronze medal in EuroBasket Women 2017 and were fourth play in the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Mestdagh’s shooting and overall size should help Washington take full advantage of their opponents when she’s on ther floor.
Also, Mestdagh’s time at Colorado State gives her an “American edge” that Meesseman is often accused of not having. Mestdagh has generally been more willing to take shots and ask questions later, something which Meesseman still isn’t comfortable with. Though her addition to the Mystics’ roster is great by itself, perhaps Mestdagh’s presence and familiarity with American-style basketball as a college player can help Meesseman flip that switch when those situations arise.
After all, Elena Delle Donne is an injury-prone superstar and she plays the same position. I personally think Meesseman is at Delle Donne’s level if not even better so having that extra “Belgian influence with some American DNA” can only be viewed as a good thing.