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Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jon Rahm, Brock Purdy nominees for ESPYs

© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

There are three athletes with Valley ties who are nominees for ESPYs tonight: the Phoenix Mercury’s Skylar Diggins-Smith for best WNBA player, ASU graduate Jon Rahm for best golfer and Perry High school graduate Brock Purdy for best breakthrough athlete.

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The ESPYs take place tonight at 5 p.m. MST, but won’t be televised until 8:00 in Arizona on ABC.

Skylar Diggins-Smith – Best WNBA Player

The Mercury star has missed every game this season on maternity leave, but the award is based on last season. In 30 games in 2022, Diggins-Smith averaged 19.7 points, 5.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks on 43/30/84 splits and was named to the All-WNBA First Team.

The 32-year-old has put together a very impressive list of accolades in the nine years she’s played. She is a six-time WNBA All-Star, three-time All-WNBA first team, two-time All-WNBA second team, a USA Olympic Gold Medalist in 2020, the 2014 Most Improved Player and a member of the WNBA All-Rookie team in 2014.

She will be up against Candace Parker, (Chicago Sky, current Las Vegas Aces), Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm, current New York Liberty) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces) for the award.

Last year, she was a nominee for the same award and was a part of a powerful speech about Britney Griner at the ESPYs.

Jon Rahm – Best Golfer

The world-ranked No. 2 golfer has easily been making his case to be the best golfer to come out of ASU behind Phil Mickelson. Rahm’s unorthodox swing has taken the golf world by storm.

He most recently won the Master’s in April, his second major tournament after the U.S. Open in 2021. In 2022, he won the Mexico Open at Vidanta. Including the Master’s, Rahm has four PGA wins this year: Sentry Tournament of Champions, The American Express and The Genesis Invitational.

He’s had 17 top-10 finishes in the last two years (2022 and 2023) and has had 72 total in his eight-year career. He has won 11 PGA tournaments in his career.

He will be competing against Wyndham Clark, Nelly Korda and Scottie Scheffler for the ESPY.

Brock Purdy – Best Breakthrough Athlete

2022’s “Mr. Irrelevant” took the football world by storm last year. After taking over the starting job for the San Francisco 49ers late into the season, the Perry High School graduate won the first eight games he played significant minutes in and led the 49ers all the way to the NFC Championship game before getting injured.

Purdy attended Iowa State and had a successful career for the Cyclones, but was not selected until the very last pick of the draft. He was the third-string quarterback for the 49ers heading into the year. However, injuries thrust him into the starting role, and he quickly became a fan favorite because of all the games he won.

The rookie sensation finished last season (regular and post) with 1,943 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He helped propel the 49ers to a 13-4 record after they started 3-4.

He will be competing against Caitlin Clark (Iowa Women’s Basketball), Angel Reese (LSU Women’s Basketball) and Julio Rodríguez (Seattle Mariners) for the award.

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Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on Twitter via @Brendan_Mau 

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