The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
Print Issues

Women’s Hoops: WNBA picks talent today

By Natalie Dicou

Ute point guard Leilani Mitchell hopes that her life will change Wednesday. That’s when all 14 WNBA teams gather in Tampa, Fla., to take turns choosing the best young talent in the country. Each team is looking to fill its positional needs and perhaps use the draft to find a diamond in the rough.

Mitchell is crossing her fingers in hopes that one of the teams needs a point guard — and doesn’t mind the fact that, at 5-foot-5, she’s a tad undersized.

“She’s going to have a chance,” Ute women’s basketball coach Elaine Elliott said. “I don’t know whether she’s going to be a draftee or an invited free agent, but she will have that opportunity, and we’ll find that out on Wednesday.”

Mitchell participated in the pre-draft camp in Tampa over the weekend. The Kennewick, Wash., native was one of about 40 elite players who got a chance to show their stuff to WNBA coaches and scouts in the two-day camp.

“It was kind of hard,” Mitchell said. “It was kind of everyone’s chance to prove themselves, and so there wasn’t much sharing of the ball.”

However, playing the point-guard spot has its benefits. Mitchell said she got more touches than other players who rely solely on having the ball passed to them.

When Mitchell first took the court in front of the watchful eyes of her future employers, she was a little nervous, but then — like a typical gamer — forgot people were watching and just tried to have fun. She might have impressed some people.

“I’ve heard from a couple sources that said she was the best point guard in camp,” Elliott said.

Many of the top prospects did not attend the camp because they were playing in the Final Four, so the camp served as a showcase for many under-the-radar players.

Even after the camp, Mitchell still has no idea where and if she’ll be drafted.

“It’s all kind of just up in the air like it was before I went there,” she said.

Projected first-round picks were asked to remain in Tampa for the live draft broadcast on ESPN2. Unlike former Utes Shona Thorburn and Kim Smith, who were picked 7th and 13th respectively, Mitchell was not asked to stay for the draft.

However, Elliott said she believes that Mitchell’s chances of being drafted in the second round are good.

“Not having an invitation doesn’t mean anything as far as being drafted,” Elliott said. “It’s indicative that you’re not going to go in the top seven or that it would be a surprise to be a first-rounder.”

Elliott said she believes that the one thing standing in Mitchell’s way is her small stature.

“The main thing, because of her size, is whether a team is going to take a chance on picking her as a primary starting point guard or if they’re going to look at her as a solid backup point guard,” Elliott said. “I think that’s going to be the difference in where she gets drafted.”

The draft will begin Wednesday at 11 a.m. MST and can be seen on ESPN2.

[email protected]

Tyler Cobb

Even after not being asked to stay for the draft, coach Elaine Elliott said that point-guard Leilani Mitchell has a good chance of being drafted in the second round on Wednesday.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy at https://dailyutahchronicle.com/comment-faqs/.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *