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Sparks select Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson in WNBA draft

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Sparks select Cameron Brink and Rickea Jackson in WNBA draft

For the primary time in franchise historical past, the Sparks had two of the highest 4 picks within the WNBA draft, and the staff selected Stanford middle Cameron Brink at No. 2, then College of Tennessee ahead Rickea Jackson at No. 4 on Monday night on the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Brink was chosen Pac-12 participant of the 12 months after main the nation in blocked photographs (3.74 per recreation) whereas averaging 17.4 factors and 11.9 rebounds. The 6-foot-4 senior additionally received the Lisa Leslie Award because the nation’s finest middle and was the Naismith Ladies’s Defensive Participant of the 12 months. As a freshman, Brink helped the Cardinal win the NCAA title.

“This can be a nerve-racking surroundings, however I’m so pleased with all of us who’re right here in the present day,” mentioned Brink, whose mom, Michelle, and NBA celebrity Steph Curry’s mom, Sonya, (Brink’s godmother) had been roommates at Virginia Tech. “It takes a village and I’ll hold leaning on all of the folks in my life,” mentioned Cameron Brink. “My ardour is reignited being right here.”

Jackson, who averaged an SEC-leading 20.2 factors whereas grabbing 8.2 rebounds a recreation, was an all-conference first staff honoree and scored 33 factors in her final recreation for the Volunteers. The 6-foot-2 submit participant completed her faculty profession with 2,261 factors (17.8 per recreation) and 773 rebounds (6.1 per recreation) and began 106 of 127 contests in three at Mississippi State and two at Tennessee.

“I’m versatile and wish to proceed to be a greater participant,” Jackson mentioned. “My household is the explanation I’m right here… I do every thing for them and hold God No. 1. I’m excited to convey my character right here, construct new relationships and I’m able to win. Candace Parker performed for Tennessee and performed a few years right here in L.A., in order that’s fairly cool.”

Caitlin Clark, who turned the NCAA’s all-time scoring chief in March whereas main Iowa to the nationwide championship recreation, was chosen No. 1 by the Indiana Fever, as anticipated. Indiana additionally had the highest decide final 12 months and selected Aliyah Boston from nationwide title winner South Carolina.

The Chicago Sky had the third decide and selected South Carolina middle Kamilla Cardoso, a 6-foot-7 senior who averaged 16.6 factors and 10.2 rebounds per recreation whereas capturing 63.8 % from the sphere throughout the Gamecocks’ run via the NCAA event.

The Sparks didn’t have a second-round decide, however with the fourth decide within the third spherical (twenty eighth general), they nabbed USC graduate scholar McKenzie Forbes, a 6-foot guard-forward who grew up within the Sacramento space and performed one season at California and two extra at Harvard earlier than transferring to USC, the place she helped the Ladies of Troy attain their first Elite Eight since 1994.

Interviewed after the draft, new Sparks common supervisor Raegan Pebley may hardly include her pleasure: “We got here in ready and we’re thrilled with the path we’re going. We wish our protection to gas the offense, we wish to assault the rim and defend the rim and Cameron and Rickea will each try this. As for McKenzie, I’ve watched her since she was at Harvard and knew we could need assistance from above to get her however we’re thrilled to maintain her near dwelling.”

The Sparks wish to finish their franchise-record three-season playoff drought and Pebley is assured the group has planted seeds that can bear fruit.

“After we contacted them [before the draft], all three had been fired up and talked about successful and being in LA and with the items we’ll have round them it units them up for fulfillment.”

Embacing her first govt position within the WNBA after a protracted faculty teaching profession, Pebley was busy within the free company interval, including ex-UCLA standout Monique Billings at ahead and bringing extra depth at guard with Kia Nurse and Aari McDonald to enhance Layshia Clarendon, Lexie Brown and Zia Cooke.

Regardless of not having a longtime star because of former No. 1 decide Nneka Ogwumike turning into a member of the Seattle Storm in free company, the Sparks will likely be younger and proficient and coach Curt Miller is trying ahead to what he believes will likely be a aggressive camp.

“I like to show and I can’t wait to get these gamers on the ground,” Miller mentioned. “We had been low [in the league] in rebounding and rim safety final 12 months and Cameron will assist us rather a lot in these areas along with her capability to dam photographs. We’ve lots of depth within the submit.”

Among the many checklist of athletes and executives who attended the Sparks’ watch occasion at Degree Lodge in downtown Los Angeles had been former USC girls’s basketball nice Cheryl Miller and Lakers Corridor of Famer and five-time NBA champion Magic Johnson, who can also be part of the Sparks’ possession group.

“I’m so excited for the Sparks,” Cheryl Miller mentioned. “Cameron is a banger who’s actual cellular and Rickea is only a beast. This can be a actual stepping stone for them. There was no head scratching. These are nice picks!”

Sparks guard Rae Burrell expressed optimism on the draft outcomes.

“I’m tremendous excited to play with a fellow Woman Vol,” she mentioned of Jackson. “We’re headed in an awesome path, we’ve added size and extra protection. We’re fairly younger, however we’ll use that to our benefit and play freely. Our staff will likely be enjoyable to look at.”

Added McDonald: “Being a lottery decide means nothing, actually. You simply do your factor. Everybody in my household was so joyful after I received traded to L.A. We’re going to be operating like loopy and I’m excited to speak to the ladies and hope they ask lots of questions. My rookie 12 months I needed to navigate myself, so I look ahead to giving them recommendation and serving to them any manner that I can.”

UCLA guard Charisma Osborne, who averaged 14.9 factors, 5.6 rebounds and three.1 assists, was taken by the Phoenix Mercury with the twenty fifth decide general, the primary decide of the third spherical. The one different native participant taken within the third spherical was USC ahead Kaitlyn Davis, who went to the Liberty with the thirty fifth decide general. Davis averaged 10.5 factors, 7.1 rebounds and a couple of.4 assists. She shot 48.5% from the ground.

With the fifth decide, the Dallas Wings chosen Ohio State guard Jacy Sheldon. Three forwards had been then taken: the Washington Mystics selected Connecticut’s Aaliyah Edwards, the Chicago Sky took Louisiana State’s Angel Reese and the Minnesota Lynx chosen Utah’s Alissa Pili.

International gamers had been chosen with three of the final 4 picks within the first spherical. Guard Carla Leite of France went No. 9 to the Dallas Wings, Guard Leila Lacan of France went No. 10 to the Connecticut Solar and forward-center Nyadiew Puoch of Australia went No. 12 to the Atlanta Dream. Mississippi guard Marquesha Davis was chosen by the New York Liberty at No. 11.

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