The 2023 WNBA draft is here, but some big-name prospects are not.
While many of the brightest stars in college basketball having declared for the draft, others have opted to return for another year, taking advantage of the extra year of COVID-19 eligibility. Just Women’s Sports takes a look at some of those who are running it back.
Rickea Jackson became the first domino to fall in the list of players opting out of the 2023 draft, announcing her intention to return to the Vols before the NCAA Tournament even began.
Before her decision, she was projected as the No. 3 overall pick by Just Women’s Sports analyst Rachel Galligan, making her choice all the more surprising. But her return is big for Tennessee, as the first-team All-SEC selection led the team with 19.6 points per game while adding 6.2 rebounds per game.
RICKEA JACKSON IS THAT GIRL 📺 SEC Network +📲 https://t.co/dIz0RW8DqA#GoLadyVols pic.twitter.com/l2fpLbKFLf— Lady Vols Basketball (@LadyVol_Hoops) January 22, 2023
RICKEA JACKSON IS THAT GIRL 📺 SEC Network +📲 https://t.co/dIz0RW8DqA#GoLadyVols pic.twitter.com/l2fpLbKFLf
Kitley announced her decision to return in the middle of the national championship game, but it still counted as headline news for Virginia Tech fans.
A former five-star recruit and two-time ACC Player of the Year, Kitley led the Hokies in points, rebounds and blocks per game last season as Virginia Tech made its Final Four run. She’s also the all-time leading scorer in program history.
Georgia Amoore is another Virginia Tech senior who opted to run it back, meaning that three of the Hokies’ starting five players will take the court together next season.
Amoore had a standout regular season, averaging 16.1 points and 5.1 assists while leading the team to the ACC tournament title. She’s better against better opponents, making her decision to stay a good sign for the Hokies.
Kitley & Amoore = DOMINANCE 💪Both pieces of the dynamic Hokie duo dropped 20 points in the top 10 W!@HokiesWBB | @elizabethkitley | @georgia_amoore pic.twitter.com/1K0hC6FgXN— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) February 17, 2023
Kitley & Amoore = DOMINANCE 💪Both pieces of the dynamic Hokie duo dropped 20 points in the top 10 W!@HokiesWBB | @elizabethkitley | @georgia_amoore pic.twitter.com/1K0hC6FgXN
While Charisma Osborne opted into the 2023 WNBA draft, she later withdrew her name, instead electing to use her extra year of eligibility. As reported by the New York Times, she even was told by a WNBA coach that the decision to remain an extra year could be a smart move.
Osborne will provide a boost for UCLA, as she has averaged 15.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game throughout her first four years with the Bruins. She also helped the team to a Sweet 16 appearance this year, and will link up with freshman point guard Kiki Rice next year.
Sedona Prince is another player who withdrew her name from WNBA draft consideration. Prince missed their redshirt senior season with an elbow injury and had planned to exhaust their remaining NCAA eligibility to pursue a professional career.
But those plans have changed, as Prince withdrew their name from the draft. She also entered her name into the transfer portal and is headed to TCU with two years of eligibility remaining.
Despite reports that she might enter the WNBA draft, Virginia Tech shooting guard Ashley Owusu has opted to remain in the NCAA. But the former Maryland standout is once again in the transfer portal after spending the second half of the season on the Hokies’ bench.
There was never a question about whether or not Cameron Brink would return for her senior season at Stanford, despite the fact that she is eligible for the 2023 WNBA draft by a single day. As Brink told reporters last October, college is “fun.”
“Why not stay?” she asked. “I think I want to stay just because I want to just continue to be a kid. Finish my degree in four years, not rush myself.”