Charli Collier will be in familiar surroundings when she begins her WNBA career next month.
The University of Texas star and Mont Belvieu, Texas, native was taken by the Dallas Wings with the first overall pick in Thursday night’s WNBA draft.
When Collier’s dream came true, she pointed up to the sky in gratitude. She explained on the ESPN broadcast why she reacted that way.
“My God,” Collier told ESPN’s Holly Rowe. “My God is so good. Every day, I wake up with this passion and I love basketball. My heart is racing right now because I’ve worked hard for this moment. There’s a lot of people that have a lot of things to say about me, but you can never question my work ethic.”
— espnW (@espnW) April 15, 2021
During her conversation with Rowe, Collier also talked about the impact of her dad, who passed away in 2016.
— ESPN (@espn) April 15, 2021
As the consensus top prospect, Collier knew she was likely staying close to home.
“That’d be a blessing,” she said last month about the possibility 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.”
— Charli Collier™ (@charlicollier) April 16, 2021
Collier averaged 19.0 points and 11.3 rebounds this season, leading the Longhorns to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2016 and earning second-team All-American honors. She had 16 points and 11 rebounds in their upset of No 2. seed Maryland in the Sweet 16.
She often references her faith on social media, and gave glory to God after that win:
I’d go to war with my girls any day❤️
All Glory to God🙏🏽. https://t.co/CjbV18iNQE
— Charli Collier™ (@charlicollier) March 29, 2021
Collier joins a young Wings team led by Arike Ogunbowale, and it also added Finland’s Awak Kuier and Arkansas’ Chelsea Dungee with their other two picks in the top five. Dallas went 8-14 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“Whoever gets [Collier will find] if you tell her to do something, she’ll absolutely do it and won’t blink an eye,” Texas head coach Vic Schaefer told ESPN prior to the draft. “No matter what it is, she’s gonna do it at 100 percent.”
On March 7, Collier announced she would forgo her remaining collegiate eligibility and enter the 2021 draft. She turns 22 this calendar year, making her one of the rare players able to enter the draft after their junior season.
“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 later sat down with Rowe to officially announce her decision and explain why now was the right time for her to begin her professional career.
“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.”
Next Chapter🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/SxBtE3DPwl
— Charli Collier™ (@charlicollier) March 7, 2021
Collier and the Wings begin their season when they visit the Los Angeles Sparks on May 14. Their first home game is against the defending champion Seattle Storm on May 22.
— Projected No. 1 pick Charli Collier says it’s ‘God’s plan and I’m ready’ for WNBA
— Charli Collier, Celeste Taylor lead Texas into women’s Elite 8, give glory to God
— No. 1 seed Mississippi St. leans on women’s head coach Vic Schaefer as he leans on the Lord
— Guided by Christ, Anna Wilson helps Stanford women to national championship
— Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale thanking God as women’s basketball postseason begins