Texas' Charli Collier to Enter 2021 WNBA Draft; Projected No. 1 Overall Pick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2021

Texas forward Charli Collier (35) during an NCAA women's basketball game against Tennessee on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Shawn Millsaps)
Shawn Millsaps/Associated Press

Texas star Charli Collier declared for the 2021 WNBA draft following Sunday's 69-60 win over TCU.

Collier called making the move to the WNBA a "lifelong dream" and added she's "[looking] forward to finishing this season strong—with full focus on helping our team accomplish its mission."

Charli Collier™ @CharliC_14

Thank you, Texas. 🤘🏽 https://t.co/puH4wQp4xG

Charli Collier™ @CharliC_14

Next Chapter🙏🏽 https://t.co/SxBtE3DPwl

Her announcement was expected because she's widely considered one of the best players in the 2021 draft class.

In January, Winsidr's Ben Dull ranked her second behind Finnish center Awak Kuier. ESPN.com's Mechelle Voepel projected Collier to go No. 1 overall to the Dallas Wings. 

The 6'5" center is averaging 20.9 points, 12.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. She's also shooting 51.8 percent from the floor and has connected on 33.6 percent of her three-point attempts over her career. According to Her Hoops Stats, she ranks fourth in Division I in win shares (8.5) and eighth in offensive win shares (6.2).

Some have viewed the WNBA offseason as a bit of an indictment on the incoming WNBA rookie class.

The New York Liberty won the draft lottery but sent the No. 1 selection to the Seattle Storm as part of the Natasha Howard sign-and-trade. Seattle then flipped the pick to the Dallas Wings to acquire Katie Lou Samuelson.

Seattle Storm @seattlestorm

🚨 TRADE ALERT 🚨 Storm acquires Katie Lou Samuelson, Mikiah “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan; Rights to Stephanie Talbot and two 2022 draft picks. 💪  More info ⬇️ https://t.co/Wx1v28tIiF https://t.co/CML6GOu0sq

It might be telling that not one but two teams traded out of the top spot, in the latter case to land a player with an excellent college career but an inconsistent first two seasons in the WNBA.

For the moment, the Wings have four first-round picks (No. 1, 2, 5 and 7), so there's a good chance Collier gets to stay in her home state. The team waived Astou Ndour last month, too, which could indicate a desire to add a center in the draft.

If that proves to be the case, then Dallas will have its frontcourt set for the foreseeable future after having selected Bella Alarie and Satou Sabally in the 2020 draft.