Dallas Wings take Charli Collier, Awak Kuier with top two picks in 2021 WNBA draft

Collier selected No. 1 overall in 2021 WNBA Draft
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Collier selected No. 1 overall in 2021 WNBA Draft

The Women’s Basketball standout becomes the second Big 12 player taken No. 1 overall in WNBA Draft history.

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Women’s Basketball standout Charli Collier was selected by the Dallas Wings with the first overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft on Thursday.

Collier’s selection makes her just the second player in Big 12 history to go No. 1 overall (Brittney Griner, Baylor – 2013) and the 13th Longhorn picked in the WNBA Draft. She is also the third junior entrant to go No. 1 overall in the WNBA Draft, joining Jewell Lloyd (2015, Seattle) and Jackie Young (2019, Las Vegas).

 

Collier, a Mont Belvieu, Texas native, wrapped up one of the most dynamic seasons in school history last month as she helped the Longhorns make a run to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2016. During her final collegiate season, Collier averaged 19.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, making her just the second Longhorn to average a double-double in multiple seasons (Retha Swindell; 1976-77 & 1977-78). She recorded 19 double-doubles, the second-most of any Division I player, and ranked in the top-15 nationally in field goals made (211), final points (590), free throws made (153), minutes played (1010:31), offensive rebounds per game (4.4) and rebounds (35). Collier also scored at least 20 points on 17 occasions, the second-most of any Big 12 player. Included in some of her standout performances were a 44-point outing (No. 4 in school history; most by UT player since 1994) against North Texas on Nov. 29, and a 20-20 game (23 pts, 20 rebs) vs. TCU on Jan. 20 – the first 20-20 game by a Longhorn since 2012.

In the Texas record book, Collier’s 19.0 points per game rank her ninth in school history while her 11.3 rebounds per game is the third-best on UT record. Her 153 made free throws rank third, and are the most by a Longhorn in a season since Edwina Brown made 172 during the 1999-2000 season. Collier averaged 6.9 defensive and 4.4 offensive rebounds per game as a junior. Her 4.4 offensive rebounds per game is tied with Nneka Enemkpali for the best average over a season by a Longhorn, while her 6.9 defensive boards are tied for second – trailing only the school-record mark of 7.0 defensive rebounds per game she set during the 2019-20 campaign.

Collier’s individual accolades during the 2020-21 season were numerous. She was a finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award (nation’s top center), selected to the Wooden Award National Ballot and chosen as a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the year, in addition to All-America honors from the Associated Press and United States Basketball Writers Association. Collier was also a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection and picked for the league’s All-Defensive Team. She was named the Big 12 Player of the Week twice this past season (Nov. 30; Jan. 25) and the Jersey Mike’s Naismith National Player of the Week once (Jan. 26).

Before Collier’s selection as the No. 1 overall pick Thursday night, Edwina Brown held the distinction as being the fastest Longhorn off the board in the WNBA Draft. Brown was chosen third overall by the Detroit Shock in 2000.

The WNBA’s 25th regular season is slated to tip-off on Friday, May 14, with all 12 teams in action that weekend. Collier and the Wings will be in Friday’s nightcap, visiting the Los Angeles Sparks in a matchup that is scheduled for a 9:30 p.m. CT tip.

@charlicollier

Charli Collier

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Charli Collier
Dallas Wings
Position Center / Power forward
League WNBA
Personal information
Born September 22, 1999 (age 21)
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Career information
High school Barbers Hill
(Mont Belvieu, Texas)
College Texas (2018–2021)
WNBA draft 2021 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Dallas Wings
Playing career 2021–present
Career history
2021–present Dallas Wings

Charli Collier (born September 22, 1999) is an American basketball player for the Dallas Wings of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).[1] She was a First-Team All-Big 12 Conference selection in 2020[2] and is considered to be one of the top players in women’s college basketball.[3][4][5]

She earned a bronze medal while playing for the United States in the 2016 FIBA Under-17 World Championship for Women.[6]

Collier is one of five finalists for the 2021 Lisa Leslie Award, which recognizes the top center in women’s college basketball.[7] She is a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy[8] and is one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award.[9]

ESPN projected Collier to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft.[10] She was drafted by the Dallas Wings as the first overall pick of the 2021 WNBA Draft

 

Texas Women’s Basketball in the WNBA Draft
1999 – Edna Campbell (1st Round, 10th overall – Phoenix Mercury)
2000 – Edwina Brown (1st Round, 3rd overall – Detroit Shock)
2004 – Stacy Stephens (3rd round, 37th overall – Houston Comets)
2005 – Jamie Carey (3rd round, 31st overall – Phoenix Mercury)
2005 – Heather Schreiber (3rd round, 39th overall – Los Angeles Sparks)
2007 – Tiffany Jackson (1st round, 5th overall – New York Liberty)
2010 – Brittainey Raven (3rd round, 33rd overall – Atlanta Dream)
2015 – Nneka Enemkpali (3rd round, 26th overall – Seattle Storm)
2016 – Imani McGee-Stafford (1st round, 10th overall – Chicago Sky)
2018 – Ariel Atkins (1st round, 7th overall – Washington Mystics)
2020 – Joyner Holmes (2nd round, 19th overall – Seattle Storm)
2020 – Sug Sutton (3rd round, 36th overall – Washington Mystics)
2021 – Charli Collier (1st round, 1st overall – Dallas Wings)

Awak Kuier

@KuierAwak
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Awak Kuier
Awak Kuier.jpg
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Dallas Wings
Position Forward
League WNBA
Personal information
Born 19 August 2001 (age 19)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Finnish
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Career information
WNBA draft 2021 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Dallas Wings
Career history
2020–present Passalacqua Ragusa
Career highlights and awards
Medals
Basketball
Representing
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Finland
FIBA Under-18 European Division B Championship
Gold medal – first place
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2019 North Macedonia Team

Awak Kuier (born 19 August 2001) is a Finnish women’s basketball player with Virtus Eirene Raguse and the Finnish national team. She was a second pick in 2021 WNBA draft, drafted by Dallas Wings 2021 WNBA draft.

She was born in Cairo, Egypt and is of South Sudanese origin. She moved to Finland as a refugee with her family when she was two years old.

Kuier, 19, plays professionally for Ragusa in Italy, where she has averaged 8.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season and won a playoff game Thursday before getting drafted. She doesn’t turn 20 until August.

Kuier was born in Cairo after her parents fled war-torn South Sudan. When she was 2 years old, her family immigrated to Finland. She becomes the first Finnish player drafted in WNBA history and the seventh international player who did not play U.S. college basketball to have been selected in the top five of the draft.

Dallas went 8-14 and missed the playoffs at ninth place in last year’s condensed season in Bradenton, Florida. Like the rest of the WNBA teams, the Wings will be back in their home market this season, playing at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.

Awak Kuier

College/Country: Finland
Position: Center
Height: 6-4
Birthdate: Aug. 19, 2001
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt

NOTES: A 6-4 center widely regarded as most talented and promising Finnish player of all time. Product of NBA Academy program and member of Finland’s National Team program. Has dual citizenship in Finland and Egypt … BASKETBALL BACKGROUND: In 2017 at age 15, dunked at an NBA Basketball Without Borders camp in New Orleans during NBA All-Star. In Aug. 2018 dunked in the BWB Europe All-Star Game. At age 17 had 2 dunks in a 2-minute span of a game. First played high school ball in Kotka section of southern Finland, then for Helsinki Basketball Academy’s HBA Marsky. First pro experience came in summer 2020 with Virtus Eirene Ragusa of Sicily in the Italian Serie A. … PERS: The 5th of 6 children, was born in 2001 in Cairo, Egypt, where her South Sudanese parents had fled during the Sudanese civil war and famine. Moved at age 2 with her family to Finland.