Former Iowa Hawkeye Caitlin Clark Drafted First Overall by the Indiana Fever

Former Iowa Hawkeye Caitlin Clark Drafted First Overall by the Indiana Fever

Last Updated on: 19th April 2024, 12:28 pm

What was seen as a foregone conclusion to many in the days leading up to the draft became official on Monday night, as Caitlin Clark was selected with the first overall pick in the 2024 WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever. The odds were so heavily skewed in Clark’s favor that most sportsbooks were not even accepting new bets on Monday afternoon in the hours before the draft.

Clark announced on February 29th that she would forgo her final season of college eligibility to enter the WNBA draft. Her new team, the Indiana Fever, was picking first overall for the second year in a row after winning the right to the top pick during the WNBA Draft Lottery on December 10th. They entered the evening with the most chances to win the number-one pick after finishing with the worst cumulative record from the 2022 and 2023 seasons combined.

Clark is joining a Fever team that hasn’t made the playoffs in seven seasons. However, they feature no shortage of talent, with former top picks such as Aliyah Boston, NaLyssa Smith, and Kelsey Mitchell filling out the roster around Clark. Although they only won 13 games during the 2023 season, they improved on their win total from 2022 by eight wins and are expected to take another major leap forward in Clark’s rookie season.

Clark finished her decorated college career as the NCAA Division I all-time leading scorer, surpassing previous record-holder Pete Maravich on March 3rd in a game against Ohio State. She won two National Player of the Year awards throughout her four-year playing stint at the University of Iowa, during which she took the Hawkeyes to back-to-back championship games. She is well-known for her superior playmaking skills and ability to pull up and make shots far beyond the three-point line.

Not surprisingly, Clark’s rise to superstardom has coincided with a growing interest in women’s sports. On April 1st, Iowa’s Elite Eight matchup against the LSU Tigers, their opponent in last season’s championship game, set a record for the most-watched college basketball game in ESPN history with 12.3 million viewers. This game only held the record for four days, as Iowa’s Final Four showdown with UConn drew nearly two million more viewers for a total of 14.2 million. Both games drew better ratings than any basketball game on ESPN since 2012.

Clark’s impact on the WNBA is expected to go far beyond her own team. According to a recent survey, 10% of people said they would watch more WNBA basketball after witnessing Clark’s performance in the NCAA tournament, and another 12% expressed greater interest in women’s sports in general due to Clark’s contributions.

Clark is also about to be the featured star of a new series on ABC. “Full Court Press,” an upcoming four-part docuseries produced by Omaha Productions and Words & Pictures, is a much-discussed docuseries that followed Clark this season. The program will feature a format similar to Omaha’s widely successful “Quarterback” series, which debuted on Netflix in July 2023. Viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Clark, along with South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso and UCLA’s Kiki Rice, throughout the 2023-2024 season, as they strive for success amidst new and unprecedented attention to women’s college basketball.“Full Court Press” will air on May 11th and 12th on ABC.

Caitlin Clark had actually worked with Omaha Productions earlier in 2023 when she appeared as a guest on the ManningCast last November as the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Kansas City Chiefs. With that appearance, Clark became the first college athlete to appear on the ManningCast, but she was given the nod because of her stunning success on the court and her love for the Chiefs off of it.

Omaha Productions was founded in 2020 by Peyton Manning and Jamie Horowitz. Since its creation, the company has grown to employ over 40 full-time employees and has become one of the most successful production companies in the past decade. In addition to Full Court Press and Quarterback, Omaha Productions is also responsible for the ManningCast on ESPN2, an Emmy-award-winning alternate Monday Night Football telecast that has been especially popular among a younger viewing audience. Horowitz serves in an executive role helping create original programming that is consistent with Manning’s point of view on the world. Both Manning and Horowitz zoomed with Clark to pitch her on the idea of Full Court Press and Horowitz attended several Iowa games this season.

Clark’s future is bright both on and off the court and perhaps the best moments are still to come.

Her WNBA future, which began officially on Monday night as her status as the top pick was finally confirmed, is incredibly bright.

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