April 23, 2024

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Women’s basketball: Odyssey could bring Austin home to Mystics in WNBA draft | College

She left the familiarity of her indigenous region to strengthen her all-all over recreation. Now, the development Shakira Austin produced at the College of Mississippi may nicely convey her back dwelling.

The WNBA holds its annual draft on Monday, and Austin, a 6-foot-5 Fredericksburg indigenous, is broadly regarded as the No. 3 prospect. The group that happens to maintain the 3rd choose comes about to be the Washington Mystics, who traded away the to start with all round collection to the Atlanta Aspiration last 7 days.

If the Mystics do pick out Austin, she’ll get to enjoy 50 miles from her home—and not much from where by she finished her superior college career (at Montrose Christian Academy) and used her very first two university seasons (at the University of Maryland).

Austin initially starred at James Monroe Large University and helped Colonial Forge get the 2016 Class 6 condition championship right before transferring to Montrose. There and at Maryland, she spent most of her time with her back again to the basket, as classic centers do.

But she preferred to exhibit off her other skills, so Austin transferred to Ole Miss after the 2019–20 season. And it paid out off.

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“Kira has developed tremendously,” Ole Miss out on mentor Yolett McPhee–McCuin said in a latest telephone job interview. “She’s likely one particular of the finest talent gamers coming out of this year’s draft. What makes her particular is that she’s 6–5 and she’s acquired all that.

“She’s competitive, she’s electric powered, she can guard several positions, and her best basketball is forward of her.”

That’s indicating a little something, for the reason that Austin gained All-The united states honorable point out from just about each corporation that bestows these types of honors this previous time.

She led the Rebels (23–9) to their first NCAA match visual appeal since 2007, averaging team-superior totals of 15.2 factors, 9. rebounds and 2. blocked photographs per sport. She was named 1st-team all-Southeastern Athletic Conference for the 2nd straight period and became just one of only seven lively Division I woman players with 1,500 job points and 1,000 rebounds (including her studies from Maryland).

With the Terps, Austin was finest recognised for her defensive prowess she established a school one-season history with 89 blocked photographs as a freshman in 2018–19. But she wished to create her offensive techniques, and she identified that option with the Rebels, who experienced gone winless in SEC play in 2019–20.

“Going to a faculty like Ole Skip that had zero conference wins and really turning that system all around, I feel like the classes I uncovered there will have more than to any workforce,” Austin claimed in a movie interview with the WNBA’s web-site. “I’ve learned to seriously uplift people and definitely provide out the greatest in myself, and I assume that will translate [well] to the league.”

When she saw Austin’s title in the NCAA transfer portal, “I very first considered was ‘I cannot get her,’ “ McPhee–McCuin said. “But I did, and I’m happy about that.

“If you check out us, she can carry the ball up the ground. At Maryland, she largely performed with her back to the basket. She didn’t have the liberty she has in this article. … She introduced spice and a successful mentality to the program. Just seeing her improve has been exciting.”

The WNBA’s formal web-site cites 6 distinct mock drafts. Just about every lists Kentucky guard Rhyne Howard as the likely leading selection, now to Atlanta, with Baylor ahead NaLyssa Smith projected to go next, to Indiana.

All six charge Austin at No. 3.

Austin will be in New York for the draft, which will be televised by ESPN at 7 p.m. She will grow to be only the next Fredericksburg-location player drafted by the WNBA. The 1st was present Stafford Substantial University coach Chay Shegog, who was preferred 21st in general by the Connecticut Solar in 2012 and performed principally in Europe.

If the Mystics do pick Austin, she will be becoming a member of a veteran workforce that struggled with accidents to previous MVP Elena Della Donne and standout guard Alysha Clark. Both of those are predicted to return for the 2022 season, which begins May well 6.

The Mystics may perhaps not need to have quick big contributions from whomever they pick. That could give Austin time to alter to the physical and psychological obstacle of expert basketball devoid of the strain of substantial expectations.

“I feel she can go any where from 1 as a result of 5,” McPhee–McCuin claimed. “I consider she’ll go 1, 2 or 3. It just is dependent on what individuals require. If they have to have another person that can come in right away and give offense, she can do that. If they need to have someone who can build and learn, she can do that, far too. She can do a minimal bit of every little thing.”

Steve DeShazo: 374-5443

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