words // Brandon Richard
If you were to compare this year's WNBA Draft Class to an all-time great NBA Draft Class, you'd probably draw parallels with the 2003 group consisting of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. Lofty comparison indeed, but Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins each have franchise changing potential.
The trio, who went one, two and three in last month's draft are also the newest members of Nike Basketball, officially announced by the brand today.
Griner, a dominant 6’8” scorer and defender, is a two-time Naismith Award Winner as college basketball’s player of the year (2012, 2013); three-time First Team All America (’11, ’12, ’13); and three-time Big 12 Player of the Year (‘11, ’12, ’13). She holds the all-time NCAA and Big 12 records with 748 blocks, making her the first player in college basketball history with 2,000 points and 500 blocks. Griner also dunked 18 times while at Baylor.
Delle Donne, a versatile 6’5” guard/forward, is the 2013 Honda Player of the Year, a two-time First Team All America (’12, ’13) and ranks fifth in all-time NCAA scoring. She is also the two-time Academic All-American of the Year (’12, ’13). Additionally, Delle Donne won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the World University Games.
Diggins, a 5’9” point guard and fiery on-court leader, earned First Team All-America honors in 2012 and 2013 as well as the Big East Player of the Year, and took home the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation’s best point guard in those seasons. She was named NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player during the tournament three times (’10, ’11, ’12).
Additionally, Nike signed All-Big Ten guard Tayler hill and All-SEC center Kelsey Bone.
More on these signings as the season approaches. In the meantime, let us know which of the 'Big 3' signees you think will make the biggest splash in the upcoming WNBA season.