Jade Melbourne heads to Seattle Storm
After an outstanding season with the UC Capitals, Jade Melbourne will next head to the WNBA after signing a three-year rookie contract with the Seattle Storm.
Jade was initially drafted last year by Seattle as the 33rd pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft but chose to remain in Australia to further develop her game.
“I decided not to go immediately, I just think I wasn’t ready, but after this season I feel like my game has come a long way,” Jade said.
“I’ve had conversations with Seattle and they’re keen for me to come over so I made the decision last Friday, signed the contract and I couldn’t be happier and I can’t wait to get over there.”
The delay was a move which seems to have paid off as she has since earned six appearances with the Australian Opals, and is currently averaging 13 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game in the WNBL with the Caps.
“This season I’ve just tried to grab the opportunity with both hands under the guidance of Vealy, she’s awesome and I give her so much credit because I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without her,” Jade said.
She won’t be the only Capital on the Seattle roster, with former players Ezi Magbegor and Kia Nurse both signing on for the upcoming season.
“It works out that it’s not really unfamiliar territory, I actually know a lot of familiar faces. I can’t wait to get amongst it and actually play with those girls,” Jade said.
Seattle is also where former Caps champion Lauren Jackson forged her WNBA career, winning two championships during her time at the club. The basketball great was one of many to reach out to Jade after the news of her signing.
“She texted me this morning and congratulated me. There is a really rich history of Aussies that have gone to Seattle, hopefully I can kind of follow in their footsteps,” Jade said.
While the messages have been flowing in from far and wide, Jade’s biggest supporters have been from right beside her in her teammates from the Caps.
“I told the team the news yesterday and they were pumped, everyone got around me and is super excited for me. That’s the kind of culture we’ve built at the Caps; everyone gets excited for one another’s success. It was pretty cool for them to get around me and made me feel a little bit extra special on the day.”
Words by Grace Buckmaster