WNBA to hold a 'virtual' draft as scheduled utilizing video conferencing

The WNBA announced that, despite the COVID-19 crisis, it would proceed with the planned April 17 draft. The competition will create a “virtual” setup with video conferences without the presence of players, guests and media.

During the event, which airs on ESPN 2 from 5:00 PM, the league will honor Gianna Bryant, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, three of nine victims of the helicopter accident on January 26 that also killed Kobe Bryant.

The WNBA also announced plans to honor Kobe Bryant during the concept and next season, calling him a “passionate defender of the competition.”

The league will open training camps April 26 and start the season May 15. Both dates are fluid due to the pandemic.

The WNBA concept continues as planned, although changed. Speaking to the Bryants memorial at Staples Center on February 24, Sabrina Ionescu of Oregon is expected to be the best selection. New York has the number 1 choice. The Sparks traded their first round selection in 2020 for Chiney Ogwumike last April.

“The WNBA concept is a time to celebrate the exceptional athletes whose hard work and dreams are being realized with their selections in the concept,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “Protecting the health and wellbeing of our potential customers, players, employees and everyone involved with our game and the general public is paramount.

“With that in mind, we will work closely with our broadcast partner, ESPN, to create a memorable yet virtual event that appropriately honors these experienced athletes.”

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