The COVID-19 pandemic has put all the major sports leagues on indefinite hiatus in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly virus, and with it, has also put a freeze on most league business and transactions. However, the WNBA went ahead with their 2020 Draft on Friday night, with commissioner Cathy Engelbert announcing the picks virtually, along with live feeds from the draftees’ homes.
To start the night, Engelbert selected Gianna Bryant, Peyton Chester, and Alyssa Altobelli as honorary draft picks as way to memorialize to the three young basketball players who, along with Kobe Bryant, were among the nine people who died in a helicopter crash in February near L.A.
Once the official draft got underway, the New York Liberty selected Sabrina Ionescu with the No. 1 overall pick. The Oregon standout had been the presumptive pick after finishing up her senior season with the Ducks. Soon after, it was officially announced that Ionescu had signed a sneaker deal with Oregon-based shoe giant Nike.
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) April 17, 2020
Ionescu had 26 triple-doubles during her time with the Ducks, and was the only player in NCAA history (men and women) to finish with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) April 17, 2020
Afterward, Ionescu got a hearty welcome message from Kevin Durant via Twitter, as each of them will ostensibly play their respective home games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season.