The lads had Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Zion Williamson, and Anthony Davis. The ladies ought to have had Paige Bueckers then, and JuJu Watkins now. However, based on the principles, they will’t.
Because of the WNBA’s collective bargaining settlement, American gamers need to be 22 earlier than they will declare for the draft, have earned their diploma, or have been out of highschool for 4 years. Worldwide gamers solely need to be 20. The principles round this haven’t modified for the reason that league launched in 1997. So in contrast to the NBA, the W is lacking out on a possible draft that might have included Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese, Bueckers, and Watkins if that they had comparable guidelines to the NBA.
Final week, Watkins — USC’s homegrown 6-foot-2 freshman — dropped 51 on Stanford, at Stanford.
In her first season, Watkins has already scored at the least 30 factors seven occasions as she’s averaging 27.3 factors, 6.9 rebounds, and three.4 assists a sport whereas capturing 43 % from the sphere and 35.3 % from three. She was additionally lately the duvet athlete for SLAM Journal.
“I believe coming into [my] freshman season, I didn’t actually have too many expectations for myself,” she told the publication. “I believe simply getting my toes moist, I suppose as individuals would say. However now that I’m lastly in it, I’m setting extra objectives for myself and count on extra for myself. However truthfully, on the finish of the day, [it’s] simply having enjoyable.”
Earlier than accidents performed a serious half in her profession, Bueckers made a huge splash at UConn by being the primary freshman to win nationwide participant of the yr on the ladies’s aspect. Due to it, the questions on players declaring early in the women’s game became a conversation.
“Why would girls have a alternative? Half the battle is having the selection to do it you then go on and make the most effective resolution,” Diana Taurasi told the Arizona Republic at the time. “The subsequent step is to have that possibility. Will youngsters do it? In all probability not, however it is best to have that possibility. When you’re the most effective at your occupation, it is best to be capable to maintain getting higher.”
“The lads are coping with their very own points when it comes to draft eligibility. They’re attempting to eliminate the one-and-done,” added Sue Bird. “It’s a fluid factor. That would be the case for us. It did come up within the final CBA negotiations, it was simply not the precedence within the second. I believe gamers ought to have a alternative, all the time. What’s fascinating is the entire title and likeness factor because it pertains to school (and maybe staying in class longer).”
Regardless of the fast rise in attendance and viewership for girls’s school basketball and the WNBA, and with out falling into the rabbit gap concerning the amount of cash a participant could make in school in distinction to the professionals, there’s nonetheless a ready course of that gamers should undergo earlier than they will enter a extremely aggressive league that has solely 144 roster spots. Gamers like Paige Bueckers and JuJu Watkins will probably be prime draft picks after their senior yr in the identical means they might have been if they might have declared as freshmen.
However till then, the WNBA and followers have to attend till a few of school basketball’s greatest expertise can take the courtroom with the professionals. And for all of the followers who’re fascinated with studying extra about Watkins, USC faces Arizona on ESPN2 the day after the Tremendous Bowl. You would possibly wish to tune in, Watkins has scored 80 factors in her final two video games.