Why UConn star Paige Bueckers is not eligible for 2021 WNBA Draft


There are many proficient gamers obtainable as a part of the 2021 WNBA Draft class, with prime prospects akin to Charli Collier, Awak Kuier, Arella Guirantes, Rennia Davis and Aari McDonald anticipated to return off the board early within the first spherical.

One title you will not be listening to throughout Thursday evening’s broadcast, although? Paige Bueckers.

MORE: Methods to watch the 2021 WNBA Draft

The UConn guard averaged 20.0 factors, 5.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds per recreation final season whereas taking pictures 52.4 % from the sector and 46.4 % from 3-point vary. She turned the primary freshman to ever win the AP Participant of the Yr award and led the Huskies to the Ultimate 4 of the 2021 NCAA Match.

Bueckers would undoubtedly be the largest star on this yr’s group of prospects, however she isn’t eligible for the 2021 WNBA Draft due to the algorithm put in place by the league’s most up-to-date collective bargaining settlement.

Why is not Paige Bueckers eligible for the 2021 WNBA Draft?

Not like the NBA, there isn’t any one-and-done coverage for the WNBA. The present collective bargaining settlement states {that a} participant is eligible if she might be at the very least 22 years outdated throughout the calendar yr through which the draft is held and has both no remaining school eligibility or will surrender her remaining school eligibility.

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu, for instance, may have declared for the 2019 WNBA Draft as a result of she was turning 22 that yr. As an alternative, she determined to return to Oregon for her senior season.

A participant can be eligible if she might be graduating from a four-year school or college inside three months of the draft. A global participant is eligible if she might be at the very least 20 years outdated throughout the calendar yr through which the draft is held.

Bueckers is simply 19 years outdated and was born in October 2001, so she will not be eligible till 2023.

Will the WNBA change its draft eligibility guidelines?

The WNBA and Girls’s Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation reached an settlement on a collective bargaining settlement in January 2020. The brand new CBA, which runs by means of 2027, marked a big enchancment for participant compensation and advantages, however WNBPA vp Sue Fowl admitted that the draft was not a significant a part of negotiations.

“The reality is, generally in CBA talks when there’s a lot that must be addressed or mounted, you do not get to all the things,” Fowl stated (through ESPN’s Kevin Pelton). “And sadly, that was one factor. If anybody’s been concerned in a negotiation, they know you have to have a precedence listing.”

Nevertheless, WNBA gamers usually appear supportive of giving prospects the flexibility to depart early in the event that they really feel snug renouncing their school eligibility. This matter will seemingly be a part of future discussions between the WNBA and WNBPA.

“I suppose the following step is to have that possibility,” Mercury star Diana Taurasi stated. “Will youngsters do it? Most likely not. However it’s best to have that possibility. It’s a profession path you take and in case you’re the very best at your occupation, it’s best to be capable of hold getting higher. Not saying that they will not in school, however it’s only a totally different degree once you get to the professionals.”

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