Spring 2021 Magazine

Projected No. 1 pick Charli Collier says it's 'God's plan and I'm ready' for WNBA

University of Texas star Charli Collier is on her way to the WNBA. On Sunday, Collier announced she would be forgoing her remaining eligibility and turning pro. She is one of the rare juniors eligible for the draft because she turns 22 this calendar year and will graduate early (with a degree in physical culture and sports).

In her statement, Collier gave thanks to God and acknowledged the role prayer played in her decision-making process.

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“After long consideration, thought and prayer, I’ve decided to fulfill my lifelong dream of declaring for the 2021 WNBA Draft,” she wrote. “I would like to thank God first and foremost for giving me this gift and guiding me every step of the way.”

Collier officially announced her decision in an interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe. In their conversation, the Mont Belvieu, Texas, native explained why she believes now is the right time to enter the draft.

“I just feel like it’s time for me to fulfill the next step of my life,” Collier told Rowe. “It’s God’s plan and I’m ready.”

A finalist for the Wooden Award as well as the Lisa Leslie Award, and the the projected No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, Collier is averaging 20.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game for the Longhorns. She ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring, second in rebounding and fourth in field goal percentage (51.8).

It does not look like Collier will need to move far away as the Dallas Wings hold the first pick. The possibility of staying close to home is exciting to Collier, whose dad passed away in 2016 after a six-month battle with lung and liver cancer. She originally committed to the University of Connecticut but ultimately chose to become a Longhorn instead.

“That’d be a blessing,” Collier said of being drafted by the Wings. “It would be better for my mom, travel-wise. But I’ll be grateful for any team that picks me up.”

Collier, who has Jeremiah 29:11 and “God’s plan” listed in her Twitter bio, often shares about her faith on social media.

 

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Though her next career step is now known, Collier’s time at Texas is not quite over yet. The Longhorns are the No. 5 seed in this week’s Big 12 Tournament, in which they’ll face Iowa State in the quarterfinals Friday morning. A win over the Cyclones would likely set up a semifinal meeting with top-seeded Baylor, which is ranked No. 6 in the nation.

Then Collier and her team will wait to hear their name called during the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday.  The tournament will take place at venues in and around San Antonio, Texas, from March 21 to April 4.

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