April 7, 2021
Incoming WNBA class to include tourney hero Aari McDonald
Six additional players declare for WNBA draft
Welcome to The Next: A basketball newsroom brought to you by The IX. 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage, written, edited, and photographed by our young, diverse staff, dedicated to breaking news, analysis, historical deep dives, and projections about the game we love.
Subscribe to make sure this vital work, creating a pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph the great game, continues and grows. Paid subscriptions include some exclusive content, but the reason for subscriptions is a simple one: making sure our writers and editors creating 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage get paid to do it.
The WNBA announced today that six additional NCAA players have filed for inclusion as candidates in the league’s 25th annual draft on April 15th. These players have officially surrendered any remaining collegiate eligibility and will be considered on the draft night alongside over fifty other WNBA prospects who announced their decisions to “opt-in” to the league earlier this week. The league also announced that Lashonda Monk of East Carolina, whose name appeared on the original list, has removed her name from draft consideration.
The list that the league released today includes players who competed in Monday night’s thrilling NCAA championship game, which ended with perennial powerhouse Stanford narrowly defeating upstart Arizona 54-53 in an all Pac-12 final. Stanford’s senior point guard Kiana Williams, who captured the title in her hometown of San Antonio, announced on Tuesday via her Twitter that she’d be entering the draft.
After her tournament heroics led No. 3 seed Arizona to the final, Pac-12 Player of the Year and AP Second Team All-American Aari McDonald also declared her intention to opt-in to the WNBA draft. McDonald is an outstanding defender, averaging 2.6 steals a game. She also put up 22 points against Stanford, 26 points vs. UConn, 33 points vs. Indiana, and 31 points vs. Texas A&M during her team’s inspired NCAA tournament run. McDonald is widely expected to be a top ten draft pick, and her performance during the tournament has likely improved her overall draft stock. Following McDonald into the draft is Arizona grad transfer Trinity Baptiste, who started all 27 games for the Wildcats on their run to the national championship game, averaging 8.6 points and 6.1 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game.
Other names on the list released today include three players who didn’t participate in the Final Four, but whose formal declaration paperwork was delayed and has now been approved. Prominent draft-eligible Connecticut junior Evina Westbrook, who was a projected first-round draft pick, is remaining in college for the 2021-22 season citing “unfinished business” in a recent Instagram post.
In total, there is a pool of 57 prospects being considered for 36 total selections. The WNBA Draft is scheduled for April 15 (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET).
Written by Tee Baker
Tee is a women's basketball reporter and historian. As an author at The Next, Tee covers the BIG EAST conference and contributes articles and media featuring the WBL, the first professional women's basketball league in the United States.
Leave a Comment