CHICAGO — Most people don't get to spend time with their idol.
But former Whitney Young basketball standout Isabelle Spingola had that opportunity when she taped a video with Chicago Sky and Team USA star Elena Delle Donne. The six-minute piece, created by The Players' Tribune, aired in late July and featured Spingola receiving practice tips from Delle Donne, who's about to start playing in the Rio Olympics.
"I'm a huge fan of hers, and she's super nice and down to earth and good to talk to," said Spingola, who's lived a block from Wrigley Field most of her life, but is now a freshman hoopster at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
Spingola was nominated to be a part of the mentorship series, which pairs high school stars with elite professional players. While Spingola and her Whitney Young teammates were practicing, Delle Donne surprised her. The pair then watched game video of Spingola as Delle Donne recommended practice tips. They spent the rest of the session working on Spingola's footwork and shooting techniques.
"The producers had a great concept and I know Izzy loved being able to meet and work with her idol, Delle Donne," Whitney Young coach Corry Irvin said. "It was a lot of fun to participate in and a life-changing opportunity for Izzy."
Spingola, a 6-foot guard, averaged 16.4 points per game and pulled down 155 rebounds last season for Whitney Young. Spingola was a four-year varsity player for the Dolphins and helped Whitney Young win the Class 4A state championship in 2014. She also competed for the prestigious Mac Irvin Fire AAU program.
Spingola is taking theology and English summer school classes with finals on Friday, in addition to workouts with her new Marquette teammates. She'll return to Chicago next week before starting her first full college semester.
Spingola said she was proud to represent the city in the video with Delle Donne.
"And she's really giving back and making a good name for Chicago for the WNBA," Spingola said. "To do this with Elena, I felt really honored."
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