WNBA draft will be virtual event this season due to pandemic

  • WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of basketball's WNBA Finals. The WNBA announced on Thursday that its 2020 draft will go on as scheduled on April 17, but, like everything these days, there is a COVID-19 pandemic caveat. The WNBA draft will be held in a virtual setting.

    WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert speaks at a news conference before Game 1 of basketball's WNBA Finals. The WNBA announced on Thursday that its 2020 draft will go on as scheduled on April 17, but, like everything these days, there is a COVID-19 pandemic caveat. The WNBA draft will be held in a virtual setting. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/26/2020 6:16 PM

Virtual is better than nothing at this point.

The WNBA announced on Thursday that its 2020 draft will go on as scheduled on April 17, but, like everything these days, there is a COVID-19 pandemic caveat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The WNBA draft will be held in a virtual setting, instead of in a large open room with hundreds of people in the audience to cheer on and congratulate the draftees. This year's draft will be conducted in its usual manner, with picks announced by WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, but the participants will be reacting and hearing the news from afar, safe in their own areas out of respect for social distancing.

"Safeguarding the health and well-being of our prospects, players, employees, and everyone connected to our game as well as the general public is paramount," Engelbert said.

Engelbert will announce the draft picks as usual via an ESPN broadcast, but whether she makes those announcements from her office, another New York City location or even her house is still undecided.

The New York Liberty has the No. 1 pick and is expected to draft Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu, who was named the Associated Press women's college basketball player of the year earlier this week.

The Chicago Sky has the No. 8 pick in the first round and no second round picks.

"It's great that we will be able to have some normalcy in what is a very difficult time," Chicago Sky president Adam Fox said. "Like everyone else, we have been trying to make the best of the situation, but anything we can do to make things more normal is exciting for our players and all of those players who have dreamed of being part of the WNBA someday."

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