WNBA Draft 2012: Brittney Griner Will Regret Not Declaring

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2012

DENVER, CO - APRIL 01:  Brittney Griner #42 of the Baylor Bears gets set to attempt a free throw in the second half against the Stanford Cardinal during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Brittney Griner was the face of women's college basketball this past season, and had she declared for the 2012 WNBA draft, the 6'8" center would have easily become the biggest star of the league. 

Some will say that college basketball gets better exposure than the WNBA, and that staying all four years to get a college degree is the smartest decision an athlete can make. 

To that, I say college will always be there for one to finish a degree if he or she so chooses. Plus, Griner would take the WNBA by storm, helping to make headlines and gain the sport more popularity along the way. 

The main reason she'd be able to do all of that, aside from her incredibly gifted ability to dominate on the court, is the fact that the Los Angeles Sparks have the No. 1 overall pick. 

For most, when they think of the WNBA, they think of the big-name stars that have helped the league become what we know it as today. One of those elite players is Lisa Leslie, one of the greatest women's basketball players ever. 

She played for the Sparks from 1997 to 2009 and was a pioneer for the sport. 

The Sparks would waste no time drafting Griner if she had declared. The Baylor Bears' standout player would team up with Candace Parker, another great women's college basketball star, and together, they would own the WNBA. 

I do commend Griner for wanting to finish out college and stick to her commitment to her school. However, Baylor isn't going to go anywhere, so Griner could have gotten her degree at some point later in her life. 

What's more, Griner has accomplished amazing feats in the college basketball realm, so moving up to the WNBA for new challenges would be wise. After all, how much fun can she be having in the college game when it's clear that she's a thousand times better than her competitors? 

Griner had a perfect record a year ago plus a national championship, as well as national player of the year honors. She's done it all in college, and going to the next level needed to happen now. 

There's no doubt that she's going to be a megastar in the WNBA. Her popularity would have been even bigger by getting the chance to play for Los Angeles. 

It's highly unlikely the Sparks will have the top pick again next year, and Griner also runs the risk of getting injured in college next year. 

Jumping ship to the WNBA would have allowed Griner to reach enormous star status, as well help the league grow. 

Griner is definitely going to be an unstoppable force when she enters the league, but had she declared this year, Griner would have been able to do so much more for the WNBA by having the ultimate amount of spotlight on her, simply because she'd be in Los Angeles. 

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