Jeff Davis’ Walker, Auburn’s Thompson picked in WNBA Draft
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Jasmine Walker was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks with the seventh overall pick in the 2021 Women’s National Basketball Association Draft on Thursday night.
Walker is the seventh Crimson Tide player to be drafted in the WNBA’s 25-year history and the first since 2005. She is also the second from Alabama to go in the first round, joining Tausha Mills, who went No. 2 overall to Washington in 2000.
It was a year for the record books for Walker, setting the program’s single-game scoring mark with 41 points and working her way into every three-point top-10 list. She also earned several accolades along the way, including WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors and SEC All-First Team recognition and was a finalist for the Katrina McClain Award and was one of 30 on the Naismith Midseason Team.
Walker averaged a near double-double in 2020-21 with 19.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game and was the only player in the SEC to rank in the top five in points and rebounds during the season. Walker can play both inside and out, and was one of the best three-point shooters in the country this season, ranking in the top 20 in nearly all categories.
AUBURN, Ala. – Unique Thompson became the ninth WNBA Draft pick in Auburn history Thursday night when she was selected by the Indiana Fever with the 19th overall selection.
“I’m excited, I’m happy,” Thompson said of her selection by the Fever. “The nerves aren’t there anymore. I’m just ready to go. I’m ready to get to work. (Representing Auburn in the WNBA) means so much to me. Auburn is where I started to build my legacy, this is where my hard work began, so it means everything to me.”
Thompson is the first Auburn player to be selected by Indiana and the first Tiger drafted since DeWanna Bonner and Whitney Boddie were selected in 2009.
“I wasn’t even paying attention at first,” Thompson said of when her name was announced on the ESPN broadcast. “And then I heard everybody start screaming, and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I kind of expected it (being selected by Indiana), I had a long conversation with them on Zoom the other day and I just got off the phone with Teaira (McCowan), Victoria (Vivians) and a few of my other new teammates. I’m looking forward to getting there and getting started.”
Thompson led the Tigers in 2020-21 with 17.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game, averaging a double-double for the third straight season. Her 12.8 rebounds per game led the SEC, and her 5.4 offensive rebounds per game led the nation. She was one of two players nationwide to have two games this season with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. For her efforts this season, she was named to the All-SEC Second Team and a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American.
Thompson finished her career Auburn’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,156, and she is Auburn’s 12th-leading scorer with 1,540 points. She is also Auburn’s all-time leader in double-doubles with 58, including 16 during the 2020-21 season. She averaged 14.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game over her four-year career.
Along with Bonner and Boddie from 2009, other WNBA Draft selections from Auburn include Ruthie Bolton, Chantel Tremitiere, Tara Williams, Carolyn Jones, Monique Morehouse and Marita Payne.
Indiana drafted two other SEC players in Aaliyah Wilson (Texas A&M) and Maya Caldwell (Georgia). The Fever have three other former SEC standouts on their roster in Mississippi State’s Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians, along with South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell. The Fever went 6-16 overall last season in their first year under head coach Marianne Stanley and finished 11th in the WNBA standings.