AMES – Back in October and November whispers of the NBA draft infiltrated the Iowa City and Ames’ campuses. Iowa’s Devyn Marble commanded the attention of scouts. At Iowa State, seniors Korey Lucious and Will Clyburn attracted the eyes of NBA organizations.
Come April the professional aspirations continue, but it’s in different locker rooms.
The WNBA hosts its draft Monday and that state of Iowa plans to clutter it with players.
Recent mock drafts show Iowa State’s Chelsea Poppens and Anna Prins as well as Iowa’s Jaime Printy being selected.
“I’m just happy getting drafted,” Poppens said. “I’m sure the mock drafts aren’t really accurate so I can’t really look at them anyway.”
Off base or not, Poppens is slated to come off the board by the middle of the second round. Some predict her going at the end of the first after stalwarts Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne. After Poppens comes off the board, Printy is likely to go next.
Teams could look to Prins next in the third and final round of the WNBA’s 12-team draft. The 6-7 center’s hoop dreams didn’t evolved until late in the year, when Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly hinted the WNBA’s interest.
“It was moving so fast and I really wasn’t expecting to want to play after,” Prins said. “I was thinking, well I want to get married. I want to finish school. I want to become a teacher, move into my life, start my career, but, when something, that you’ve been doing for so long, is finally over, I guess looking for every opportunity to extend it a little bit, I think that’s definitely why I want to continue it.”
Another in-state center, Iowa’s Morgan Johnson created some buzz on SB Nation. The website listed the 6-5 in the third tier of players in the draft, ahead of first rounder Kelsey Bone of Texas A&M.
If the WNBA doesn’t take notice, Johnson might take a chance at playing internationally. She will team up with Northern Iowa’s Jacqui Kalin for the NetScouts Basketball United States All-Star team. The duo, who holds their respective school records in games played, will play in from May 1-15 looking to draw international scouts’ eyes.
“I’m so excited. When I saw the roster and saw (Johnson’s) name on there, my eyes got so big,” Kalin said. “From a point guard stand point, just getting to play with a phenomenal post player and I know that she is a good person.”
In all, the state should see at least three of its players go in the WNBA draft, with as many as five playing professionally. For seniors, who plotted their next move for most of their lives, the next step is now out of their hands.
“I’m kind of just tired of sitting around waiting for the whole thing. It kind of feels like I’m jogging place,” Poppens said. “It’s exciting, Anna and I are looking forward to try out, get drafted. It’s just a fun experience.”