Brittney Griner was taken first in the WNBA’s draft on Monday, starting a new chapter for one of the most heralded college women’s basketball players of all time.
The Baylor University star will now be playing for the Phoenix Mercury, which took the two-time AP Player of the Year with the first pick of the draft.
“It’s a dream come true, I’m like a little kid in Disney World the first time meeting all the characters,” Griner said. “Sitting at the table they said 15 seconds and my heart started beating so fast. I was grabbing the tablecloth underneath.”
Griner added that she’s ready for the professional game, and playing with teammates like Diana Taurasi.
“I’m ready to get there and ready to learn from (Taurasi),” Griner said. “I got to play with her a little bit at USA Basketball. I’m ready to feed off her and give all I can to the Phoenix Mercury.”
Griner was absolutely dominant at the college level, her 6-foot-8 frame giving her the ability to score nearly at will. She ended her career with 3,283 points, second most in NCAA history, and recorded the most blocks of any player, male or female, with 748.
Brittney Griner was so good in fact that she even garnered attention from NBA teams. This season Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he would consider taking Griner in the NBA draft.
Though it was mostly for publicity — Griner would not be able to compete in the NBA at her position — it was still groundbreaking for her even to be mentioned in an NBA context.
Brittney Griner and the other WNBA players drafted almost had to wait for another day. After the Boston Marathon explosions, the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins both canceled games scheduled for Monday evening. WNBA president Laurel Richie said the league considered moving the draft, which was being held in Connecticut, but ultimately decided to go through with it.
After Brittney Griner was taken first in the WNBA draft, Delaware standout Elena Delle Donne was taken second and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins picked third.