The WNBA Draft is today! For Monica Wright, her family as well as a host of others, today is a special day. In a little less than an hour, everything Monica has known as a player changes. There will be pay checks, endorsements, appearances, media, pictures, travel. Exciting times! Congratulations to all, enjoy the moment and the day – it’s special. Follow the DRAFT HERE. See our 2010 WNBA MOCK DRAFT HERE.
On the rare occasions when she allowed herself to look beyond the goal directly before her, Monica Wright imagined what it might feel like to walk onto the court for the first time as a professional basketball player.
She’s never been one to assume anything. The University of Virginia’s all-time scoring leader has spent her entire career pursuing one small milestone after another.
Looking too far ahead isn’t her thing. Wright prepares for the moment and then moves on. It’s a personal rule that has worked out well because everywhere she goes, success ultimately follows.
But even Wright has day dreams.
And her happily-ever-after visions have usually involved playing in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Even as a high school sophomore, when she was just beginning to discover her potential as one of the nation’s elite women’s basketball players, it was assumed by everyone around her that Wright would play in the WNBA.
Her talent was that obvious.
Almost everything Wright has accomplished over the past decade—two high school state championships at Forest Park and first-team Associated Press All-America honors at Virginia—has led her to this afternoon’s draft in Secaucus, N.J., where the best player in Prince William County history is expected to be among the top five selections. She won’t get past the second pick.
“I can see myself around the perimeter playing maybe one through three. That’s where I have been playing throughout my whole career,” Wright said. “But I feel the most comfortable at shooting guard.
“As I have heard and learned, this draft is going to be guard heavy so it’s going to be exciting to see where everybody goes.”
Pre-draft buzz has Wright reaching the podium within 10 minutes, most likely as the No. 2 or No. 3 overall pick—shortly after the Connecticut Sun select UConn center Tina Charles with the first pick.
Here is a quick look at where Wright could be headed:
1st and 7th overall pick
After finishing sixth in the Eastern Conference last season at 16-18, the Sun had a busy offseason. They acquired 2009 first-round pick Renee Montgomery from Minnesota in exchange for the first overall pick. On Wednesday, they traded guard/forward Amber Holt and center Chante Black to the Tulsa Shock to get the No. 7 pick.
Connecticut, which desperately needs a center, is expected to select Charles. The last two No. 1 selections—Angel McCoughtry and Candice Parker—went on to win rookie of the year honors.
The Sun would certainly choose Wright at No. 7, but she probably won’t last that long.
2nd and 3rd overall pick
The Lynx seem to be a perfect fit for Wright, who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring and was named the NCAA defensive player of the year.
First-year coach Cheryl Reeves wants defense to be a priority after Minnesota gave up the second-most points in the league a year ago. And that is Wright’s forte. ACC and National Defensive Player of the year, check.
The thing about Wright is that she also creates match-up problems with her speed and versatility. She’s started at point guard, shooting guard and small forward at one point or another in her career. The Lynx appear to be set in the backcourt after acquiring Lindsey Whalen from the Sun to play alongside Candice Wiggins.
4th overall pick
The Sky nearly made the playoffs for the first time since joining the league in 2005 and Wright is just the kind of athlete who could finally lead them there.
If the Lynx don’t select Wright with one of their two picks, then the Sky almost assuredly will despite five guards on the active roster, including point guard Kristi Toliver, from Maryland, and Jia Perkins.
The Sky bolstered their front court by getting center Courtney Paris from Sacramento in the dispersal draft and Shameka Christon is a trade with the Liberty.
What they need now is an impact scorer. With one pick in the first two rounds, Chicago will have to draft wisely.
San Antonio Silver Star
5th overall pick
The Stars are the first 2009 playoff team to make a pick in this year’s draft. After nearly upsetting eventually champion Phoenix in the Western Conference semifinals, there aren’t many weaknesses.
They addressed a need for rebounding by trading for center Michelle Snow, signing Tasha Humphrey and getting forward Laura Harper in the dispersal draft.
All-Star Becky Hammon and shooting guard Roneeka Hodges are the likely backcourt starters, but Wright has a way of blending in almost anywhere.
6th overall pick
It’s probably wishful thinking. As wonderful as it would be for Wright to play—and star—in her hometown, there is very little chance of her landing in D.C.
The Mystics are one of the league’s up-and-coming teams after a string of successful drafts and the recent signing of all-star guard Katie Smith, who should play along with Alana Beard and Lindsey Harding in a three-guard backcourt.
After reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, the Mystics could still use another versatile small forward. Maybe they’ll be lucky enough to find Wright still on the draft board at No. 6. It’s not likely though.