Welcome to Chicago, Elena Delle Donne goes No. 2 in draft
Published: Monday, April 15, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 15, 2013 22:04
Elena Delle Donne’s future has been decided. With the second pick of the WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky selected the All-American from Delaware.
During a post-pick interview on ESPN2, Delle Donne was asked about her close family ties and what she thinks about moving to Chicago.
“I can’t even describe how this feels,” Delle Donne said. “There was a time where I didn’t think I was going to pick up a basketball again, but now I’m the No. 2 pick.”
As expected, Baylor’s Brittney Griner was selected first by Phoenix. Although No. 1 seemed to be a lock, there was much debate over the second pick. ESPN analysts Andrew Lovell and Mechelle Voepel correctly picked Delle Donne to Chicago, while Kate Fagan and Michelle Smith guessed Notre Dane’s Skylar Diggins would be before the Delawarean.
Tulsa Shock head coach Gary Kloppenburg said how special a player Delle Donne was on Thursday in a WNBA Draft teleconference. He may have thought he had a chance at drafting the shooting forward from Delaware.
“Well first off, Elena Delle Donne is one of those once in a lifetime kind of players,” Kloppenburg, said. “I think, highly skilled at 6-foot-5 and she can play every position. We haven’t seen a player like her come into our league.”
During the teleconference, other head coaches discussed the physical play of the WNBA. Bill Laimbeer, of the New York Liberty and Mike Thibault, of the Washington Mystics both said draft prospects will need to adjust to the tough game that involves grown women.
When asked of the upcoming challenges, Delle Donne said she would rely on her adaptability.
“I’m very comfortable even playing a post position and banging inside a little bit,” she said. “I think my versatility will help with that some. Obviously I can go outside and play the guard spot, but I can also go inside and play that four spot and even face up on some of the bigger girls.”
Physicality was not the only concern Delle Donne faced during the conference. Her well-documented transfer home from the University of Connecticut due to of homesickness came up again.
But Delle Donne was prepared.
“When I decided to back to college basketball and play at Delaware, I was an 18-year-old girl, and now I’ve been able to grow since the time and live away from home,” Delle Donne said. “… Now I am a 23-year-old woman, I’m ready to you know take that next step in basketball.”
The WNBA coaches said draft stock does not change too much during the NCAA Tournament. Thibualt said coaches usually pay attention to see how players react in pressure situation and make sure their play matches their body of work.
“I don’t think you can necessarily cross a player off or add a player because of the tournament,” Mike Thibault said. “I think what you try to do is see if there tournament validates what you’ve seen.”
Delle Donne certainly proved she was the full package in three rounds, as she averaged 33 points per game, above her season average of 26 points per game.
After the tournament, Delle Donne said she took some time to kind of cool down and rest a little bit, and last week started back up with lifting.
“Once I figure out where I am going with everything, I’ll go back to Delaware, train there for probably another week and a half,” she said on Thursday. “Do basketball skill workouts along with lifting and then May 1, I plan to move out to whatever city I get drafted too.”
Well, now Delle Donne is off to The Windy City, and she might just find a few lingering Delaware fans follow her there.