The 2017 WNBA Draft took place in New York City on April 13. And it was a magical night for a few lucky women.
Kelsey Plum was selected first overall by the San Antonio Stars. Plum is a record-setting superstar from the University of Washington.
“Man, I was so excited—number one!” Plum said. “It’s been so amazing, and I’m grateful to play in the WNBA.”
Plum’s excitement was echoed by fourth-overall pick Allisha Gray, who will play for the Dallas Wings. Gray is a shooting guard from the University of South Carolina who helped lead her team to the 2017 national championship. She said draft night was “unbelievable.”
The WNBA season begins on May 13. At the draft, league president Lisa Borders suggested it was only the start of what will be an unbelievable year. WNBA fans should expect “lots of excitement,” Borders said.
“I think [all the draft picks] will” make a lasting impact on the WNBA, Borders added. “All of them are really talented. They have different skillsets. Depending on what a team needs, they could be the glue that pulls it all together.”
To become that glue, every player must prepare to play in the pros, said Alaina Coates. The South Carolina center was the evening’s second pick and will play for the Chicago Sky.
“I’m definitely going to have to start with my mental [training],” Coates said. “It’s completely different from college. I just know that whenever I hit my walls I’m just going to have to get over that wall and keep pushing myself.”
The WNBA’s newest players know their teams will look to them to help win a championship. But they also understand they have a second role to play, too.
Young fans of the WNBA will be watching Coates and the other new draftees this season. The women want to, hopefully, inspire kids with their drive and dedication—and the game itself.
“You can play this game anywhere—indoors or outdoors, boys or girls, men or women. So it is a very inclusive sport,” Borders said. “You have five players who pass the ball regularly, so it’s really a metaphor for life. You have to have a team support you in life.”
Check out TFK’s 2017 WNBA draft video below.