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Caitlin Clark declares for the 2024 WNBA Draft


After rewriting the collegiate record books in four seasons at Iowa, Caitlin Clark announced Thursday that she is entering the upcoming WNBA draft and forgoing the opportunity to return to the Hawk eyes for a fifth year.

at Clark decision, which comes just days before Iowa’s final regular-season home game Sunday against No. 2 state of ohiohas dominated college and professional games in recent weeks as she set NCAA Women’s Division I scoring records and major college women’s basketball records.

“This season is far from over and we still have many goals to achieve,” she said in a social media announcement Thursday. Still, Clark paved the way to becoming the No. 1 pick in April’s draft for the Indiana fever. His professional debut promises to be one of the most anticipated of the year. WNBA history.

From his first game with the Hawkeyes in 2020, Clark’s impact was evident. She scored 27 points in 26 minutes in her college debut, displaying the offensive brilliance that became commonplace throughout her career in Iowa City. She recorded the only 40-point triple-double in NCAA tournament history and is the only player in the NCAA era to record 3,000 points, 750 rebounds and 750 assists. She set program records for single-game scoring (49) and career points, having scored 3,650 points, while leading the Hawkeyes to two conference tournament championships and their first Final Four berth since 1993. His team lost to Louisiana State in the NCAA finals. last season.

“It is impossible to fully express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my time at Iowa: my teammates, who have made these last four years the best; my coaches, trainers and staff who always let me be myself,” Clark said. “Hawkeye fans filling Carver every night; and all those who came to support us across the country, especially young children.

“Most importantly, none of this would have been possible without my family and friends who stood by me throughout this ordeal. Thanks to all of you, my dreams have come true.

Beyond any statistics, Clark’s impact can be seen and felt in the frenzy that surrounds every game she plays. Of the Hawkeyes’ 32 regular-season games this season, 30 were either sold out or set arena attendance records for women’s basketball — with the exception of Iowa’s neutral-site games during a Thanksgiving tournament. Before Thursday’s announcement, the average price of admission to Iowa’s home finale against the Buckeyes was already more than $555, according to TickPick, making it the most expensive women’s basketball game in all the time. This value should only increase following the announcement of his decision. Clark’s presence also brought record television ratings, as she and Iowa participated in the most-watched women’s basketball game of all time on six different networks.

The 6-foot guard started her senior season saying she was going to “treat this year like it’s my last year.” She said she would make the decision whether to stay in Iowa City or turn professional based on her gut. Granted an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she vowed not to let the choice of staying or leaving weigh on her. She reinforced that on Thursday, while saying she was excited about what was to come. Clark currently leads the nation in points (32.2) and assists (8.7) per game, and is favored to win Player of the Year honors for the second straight season.

In mid-December, when the Fever learned they would hold the No. 1 pick for the second straight year, general manager Lin Dunn acknowledged that many potential recruits having the option to return to school left “a little question on who we I might be able to get it. But Dunn said she would urge any players who can get into the WNBA to get into the W. “I’m ready for them to get out, get into the pros, move on with their lives, leave someone else play. I encourage everyone to come forward,” Dunn said.

Dunn and those at the Fever are no doubt euphoric about putting Clark on their roster alongside the 2023 No. 1 pick. Aliyah Boston, who was named the league’s unanimous rookie of the year last summer. “I think how versatile she is,” Boston said Athleticism earlier this season on what makes Clark special. “Just his vision on the pitch. I think it’s super important, and I think she’s doing a great job with it in Iowa.

Indiana, which has won just 18 games combined over the past two seasons, is looking to make its first postseason appearance since 2016 and end the league’s longest active postseason drought. Immediately following Clark’s decision, the team’s social media accounts sent out a message reminding fans that season tickets were available, urging them to “come on board.” Fever guard Erica Wheeler said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that she was already fielding requests from friends and family, as well as some people she hadn’t heard from in a long time who wanted tickets. “I can’t help them.” she says.

Clark has already partnered with major brands like Gatorade, Nike and State Farm, and her national platform will take her from Iowa to Indiana. The WNBA should also benefit from its presence. In its 27th season last summer, the league reached more than 36 million total viewers across all national networks, an increase of 27% from 2022 and its highest record since 2008. The league’s most watched stars in 16 years, and the 2023 WNBA Finals, featuring the The Aces of Las Vegas And Freedom of New York, was the most watched in 20 years. Clark’s arrival, which will officially take place on Monday, April 15, when the draft takes place in Brooklyn, will likely only accelerate this trend and the interest in the sport.

“It’s great for women’s basketball. It’s going to be great for the WNBA when it comes in. His game is going to translate,” said Becky Hammon, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and coach of the two-time defending champion Aces. Athleticism in mid-January. “She’s special. It is generational.

Athleticism James Boyd contributed to this report.

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(Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)


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