Will she or won't she?
Parker has opportunity to declare for '07 WNBA draft
Posted: Wednesday March 21, 2007 10:06PM; Updated: Thursday March 22, 2007 10:54AM
Hereby a moratorium shall be observed on all draft talk involving Greg Oden and Kevin Durant for the remainder of March Madness. That's because I've stumbled across a far more intriguing draft story which, until today, has gone virtually unnoticed in the NCAA women's tournament.
It involves Candace Parker of No. 1 seed Tennessee. A 6-foot-4 scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker, Parker may be the Michael Jordan of women's basketball. Not only did she become the first woman to dunk in the NCAA tournament last year, but she is a potential crossover star with a fashion model's smile.
Contrary to what some believe, Parker can make herself eligible to enter the WNBA this year. I think she just might do it.
The big misunderstanding is based on the WNBA's rule that prohibits drafting players before their senior year of college. That's probably why it has been reported that Parker will be ineligible to enter the WNBA until 2008, the year her class graduates. But those reports are wrong.
Parker doesn't need to file a Spencer Haywood lawsuit to go pro this year. Page 56 of the WNBA collective bargaining agreement clearly states that Parker may apply for the 2007 draft if she proves that she's on course to graduate this calendar year and that she intends to graduate. At her current rate, Parker will meet graduation requirements by December 2007.
So we know that Parker can turn pro this year. Now here's the best part. Parker may wait to declare her eligibility hours before the April 4 draft.
That's because the WNBA draft is scheduled to take place the day after the April 3 NCAA women's championship game in Cleveland. Because of the awkward timing, the WNBA altered its rules last year to enable players to commit to the draft after they've played their final college game. It wasn't considered a big deal because, apart from the rare loophole, the WNBA is focused on drafting senior-aged players whose eligibility has already expired.
This new rule is so obscure that some GMs in the WNBA were unaware of it this week.
So consider this scenario. It's highly plausible that Parker could lead Tennessee to the NCAA championship on a Tuesday night, then wake up the next morning, look out the window and decide, yes indeed, she would like to be drafted by the WNBA today. She would make a phone call to the league --- while offering some kind of proof (if it hasn't been submitted already) that she will graduate by December -- and a few hours later the Phoenix Mercury would make her the No. 1 pick.
Imagine the will-she-or-won't-she conjecture that is bound to be generated around Parker over the next two weeks. It will be unprecedented in women's basketball.
The most amazing thing of all about the Candace Parker scenario is that so very little, as far as I can tell, has been written or said about it.
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