April 6, 2017
Earlier today the WNBA announced the 2017 WNBA Draft Presented By State Farm attendees. The draft will be held in New York City on April 13th at Samsung 837. Beginning at 7pm, ESPN2 will provide live coverage and analysis with the last two rounds moving over to ESPNU. Coverage will also stream live on WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Ten of the top draft prospects were invited to this year’s draft in NYC which was revealed via twitter. In a change from recent WNBA drafts, where at least enough players to cover the first round were invited, the league seemed to only invite those who are shoo-in’s to be drafted in the first round. Even still, there are several notable players left off of the invite list. It will be odd to see at least two players unable to hear their names called in the green room and head on stage to take pictures with WNBA president Lisa Borders with their new team’s jersey. Either way, the change in venue is a refreshing change to good ole’ Mohegan Sun Arena.
The list of invited players and their families are filled with recent NCAA champions, All-Americans, a conference player of the year, and the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women’s history. South Carolina will have three players at this year’s WNBA draft. Four time All-SEC center and 2017 national champion Alaina Coates will be in attendance along with teammates Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray representing the Gamecocks. Northwestern standout Nia Coffey, who is the first player in program history to score 1,000 points and pull down 1,000 rebounds, will be on hand. The lone player from the state of Texas, which is home to two WNBA franchises, Alexis Jones from Baylor was invited. The Maryland Terrapins will have two players in NYC, Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. Jones was named the 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year and First-Team All-American while Walker-Kimbrough is the Big Ten all-time career leader in 3FG%. Stanford’s forward Erica McCall has been invited to the draft. McCall is the half-sister of WNBA all-star Dewanna Bonner. Oregon State’s four-time all PAC12 player, Sydney Wiese will be at Samsung 837. And finally, the player who most certainly will be the #1 draft pick to the San Antonio Stars, Washington’s Kelsey Plum will be the first player on stage in New York City. Plum is the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I women’s history. And for the first time for as long as I can remember the University of Connecticut will not have any players in the green room at the WNBA draft. For once, head coach Geno Auriemma gets a chance to take a break from the cameras.