October 4, 2023
Caitlin Clark weighs in on on her WNBA draft plans
Clark shares thought process over Iowa future
Will she stay or will she go? That is one of the burning questions in the women’s basketball realm, whether or not superstar Caitlin Clark decides to take her fifth year in 2024-25 at the University of Iowa or enter the WNBA draft at the end of the 2023-24 season.
The reigning National Player of the Year gave a little insight during a press conference on media day Wednesday in Iowa City – but not a lot.
“I think first and foremost, like going into my senior year, the thing I think about is time goes so fast, and being able to soak in every single second,” Clark told reporters. “I think that’s how I’m viewing this my senior year. I’m kind of treating it like my last. I don’t know what I’m going to do going forward, and I don’t want to have any regrets in that regard.”
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This season will be her final year playing alongside her good friends and four-year teammates Gabby Marshall and Kate Martin, who both decided to take their extra year of eligibility with the Hawkeyes.
“Yeah, I would say I definitely tried to persuade them [to come back],” Clark said. “Obviously they’re two of my best friends. Gabbie to me was a little bit more of a lock to come back. Kate, not so much. But Kate was probably just trying to be dramatic and wanted me to beg her so she felt better about herself – I’m kidding.”
She recognizes Martin as the leader of the team and the thought of suiting up in a Hawkeye uniform without her is a little daunting.
“Kate is awesome. I’m going to try to figure out a way to get her back for her seventh year if I come back because I don’t want to have to come back if she’s not here,” she said.
At 2,717 points, Clark is 810 points away from breaking the NCAA scoring record of 3,527 set by Kelsey Plum in 2017 at the University of Washington.
In 100 games played over three seasons, Clark has only scored under 800 points in a season once – 799 in her freshman year in 2020-21, which was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. She scored 863 her sophomore year and broke the Big Ten single season scoring record with 1,055 last year.
The national record is on her radar, but not something she plans to actively pursue.
“I knew I was probably going to have a chance to break it, but it’s not something I’m going to be, like, actively seeking out,” Clark said. “Obviously I’m sure our coaches will tell me if I’m at a game where I get close to that number, which would probably be one of our regular season games or in the conference tournament. But I think if I just continue to be the player I am and do the things I’ve always done, that will come.”
Clark says her situation with Plum’s is similar as both super shooters led their team to a Final Four and national recognition.
“She was somebody that I idolized, so it’s cool to be in that position. She’s somebody I even watch still in the WNBA as she plays for the Aces, has had a really successful career, and one of my favorite players,” she said.
Iowa Head Coach Lisa Bluder is well aware of the “Caitlin Clark effect” her point guard has on the program and women’s sports.
“We start this season with every single game sold out in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. We start this season in a week-and-a-half with about 50,000 people joining us in Kinnick for the Crossover, and as you all know, we start the season without 40% of our starting lineup. But we also start the season with the nation’s best player in Caitlin Clark,” she said.
Players eligible for the WNBA draft have 48 hours after their final collegiate game to renounce their college eligibility and declare for the draft. If the Hawkeyes again advance to the National Championship, which is April 7, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio, that would bump right up to the WNBA draft in which Clark is predicted to be one of the top picks, if not first overall.
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“I want her to come back. Everybody wants her to come back,” Bluder said. “But it’s her choice. If she chooses to go on, we have a really good recruiting class coming in. I feel very confident.”
With all of the variables to be considered, the decision will eventually come down to one thing – Clark’s gut instinct.
“I guess the biggest thing for myself is just I’m going to go based off of my gut at the end of the day…I think it was very similar to my college decision. It feels weird, I feel like I’m in like the recruiting process in a way again, but to a lower extent.
“But I feel like it’s not something that I think about every single day. It’s not something that I let weigh on me. I’m focused on helping this team be the best team they can be, and when I know that decision, all of you will know.”