Brittney Griner, the 6’8” center from Baylor University who is a four-time All-American and repeat National Player of the Year, is taking her talents to the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
Griner, the number one pick in the2013 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, which aired in primetime on ESPN2, has been one of the most talked about women’s basketball players since videos of herdunking in high school turned Griner into a YouTube sensation. Joining Griner in the WNBA are the other two members of the “three to see” – Elena Delle Donne (#2 pick, Chicago Sky) who is 5th in NCAA history in career scoring and Skylar Diggins (#3 pick, Tulsa Shock) a four-time All-American and two-time Big East Player of the Year.
Not since 1997 and the era of Sheryl Swoopes, Rebecca Lobo, and Lisa Leslie has there been this much buzz surrounding a draft class, and much has changed in the last 16 seasons. Other than the iconic orange and oatmeal game ball, which is now the focal point of the WNBA’s new brand identity, the league is hardly recognizable. The players are faster, bigger, and stronger, and in Griner the WNBA now has one of the most dominate players that women’s basketball has ever seen.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, there was speculation that Griner would accept an offer from NBA owner, Mark Cuban, and tryout for the Dallas Mavericks. To date, Ann Meyers Drysdale is the only woman to tryout for and sign a contract with an NBA franchise. Coincidentally, Meyers Drysdale is the Mercury’s current vice president and former president and general manager.
Nonetheless, Griner took the heightened attention in stride and reiterated via social media that the WNBA has and will always be her number one priority. The WNBA also kept its focus on Griner entering the league, and WNBA President, Laurel J. Richie, is now excitedly waiting to see the impact that the NCAA’s all-time blocks leader (for women and men) will have on the game.
“I definitely want to bring it every time I step on the court,” Griner said to Forbes.com. “Anything and everything I can do to help the league and bring more excitement and followers to the game, I will go out there and do it.”
Whether you agree or disagree with Cuban’s comments, 18 career dunks, which accounts for 54.5% of the 33 by collegiate women and 3,283 career points speaks for itself. Through Griner’s talent and athleticism she transformed collegiate basketball, and in the seasons to come she is destined to do the same in the WNBA.
The 2013 WNBA season tips off on May 27 on ESPN2 with a double header featuring Washington vs. Tulsa and Chicago vs. Phoenix. For more 2013 WNBA Draft coverage click here.
Good Night Sports Fans,