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What’s next for Caitlin Clark as the WNBA Draft approaches?



What's next for Caitlin Clark as the WNBA Draft approaches?

Caitlin Clark’s college career ended Sunday with a loss to South Carolina in the national championship. But the Iowa star’s popularity isn’t going away.

“I know the next thing will happen soon,” she said.

Eight days to be precise.

That’s when Clark will be in New York for the WNBA Draft, where she is projected to be the No. 1 pick of the Indiana Fever. After gaining national fame during her collegiate career, there are already signs that she will make an impact in the professional league.

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What you need to know about the WNBA draft

The concept will take place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York at 7:30 PM (ET) on April 15. ESPN will broadcast the draft and it will also be streamed on Fubo.
Here is the order of the first round of the draft:

1. Indiana fever
2. Los Angeles sparks
3. Chicago Sky (via Phoenix)
4. Los Angeles Sparks (via Seattle)
5. Dallas Wings (via Chicago)
6. Washington Mystics
7. Minnesota lynx
8. Chicago Sky (via Atlanta)
9. Dallas wings
10. Connecticut Sun
11. Freedom of New York
12. Atlanta Dream (via Las Vegas)

What impact will Clark make in the WNBA?

Let’s start with the court. Clark will obviously have to work harder for her shot. (Don’t think these veterans won’t do their best to take her down.) But her seemingly limitless range and astonishing accuracy will still make her difficult to guard. Where she can make an immediate impact is in her death.

She is already one of the all-time leading college passers, finishing her career with a Division I record 1,144 assists. Clark’s Iowa teammates weren’t always adept at converting her passes. Now imagine what Aliyah Boston, the 2023 Rookie of the Year, will do with Clark’s incoming sharp passes.

In terms of marketing and star power, the WNBA could be better prepared. The Fever is seeing spikes in ticket sales and the Las Vegas Aces have already announced they will move to a larger arena to accommodate more fans when they come to town. Last season, the Fever had the second-lowest attendance in the league, behind only Atlanta, which plays in a much larger arena and averages 85 percent capacity. The Fever will likely be one of the most popular fan destinations.

Like her experience in Iowa, Fever Road Games should also see record numbers. The Hawkeyes have sold out all but two games this season, whether at home, on the road or in the postseason. Her fans aren’t going anywhere.

Will she lose money by going to the WNBA?

This story has been shot down several times, but it still persists by some who do not take into account her power of support. Clark has the most high-profile endorsement deals of any college basketball player. (You’ve seen the State Farm ads, right?) They’re not going away, and they expect a lucrative sneaker deal to come her way.

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The Caitlin Clark business is booming. Here’s how her WNBA sponsorship lines up

As the presumptive No. 1 selection, she would be guaranteed $76,535 in her first season. (She did not earn a salary at Iowa.) She can also earn up to $250,000 from a league marketing deal and up to $100,000 from a team marketing contract if she chooses not to play abroad next WNBA offseason. If she does go abroad, she can expect a lucrative contract from a team in Europe or China.

But with her marketing muscle, she’ll likely land even more endorsement deals.

Should Clark turn pro?

No. Like other seniors, Clark was granted an extra season of eligibility by the NCAA due to the pandemic disruption. She announced on February 29 that she would not return to Iowa City, raising the stakes to come out with a bang in the tournament.

Who else will be in the draft?

To search The Athletics post-tournament mock draft coming in a few days. But other potential stars are expected to hear their names called.

South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso, Stanford’s Cameron Brink and Tennessee’s Rickea Jackson are expected to be early selections. LSU’s Angel Reese is expected to be picked around No. 8.

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WNBA Mock Draft: Where Will Angel Reese Land? Who will be chosen after Caitlin Clark?

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(Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)