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UConn center Tina Charles Selected #1 By the Connecticut Sun

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As reported by Swish Appeal and widely assumed since the Connecticut Sun acquired the first pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft from the Minnesota Lynx, University of Connecticut center Tina Charles was selected first in the draft two days after finishing her collegiate career with a second consecutive national championship and a 78-0 winning streak.

For the running analysis of the draft from our open thread, please click here: Swish Appeal WNBA Draft Open Thread: Live from Secaucus with Commentary

For a position-by-position capsule of major prospects, please click here: Swish Appeal Final Top 40 2010 WNBA Draft Prospects By Position

Charles was indisputably the top center in college basketball for the 2009-10 season and is statistically one of the best collegiate centers to the enter the WNBA in the last decade. Sun coach Mike Thibault told Swish Appeal in February that he expects Charles to improve their interior scoring as well as the overall athleticism on the team.

Connecticut Sun Free Agency Breakdown: How Well Does Kara Lawson Fit? - Swish Appeal
As for their needs on the interior, while it is obviously unclear exactly what Charles will contribute in her rookie season, it is clear that she will likely be some sort of contributing presence in the post, whether that be a stronger rebounding presence or scoring. With Charles, as well as the addition of DeMya Walker, the health of their veterans, and the development of their young players, Thibault is optimistic about their interior game this season.

"Now with Asjha and DeMya Walker and probably drafting Tina Charles, you're looking at players who are capable of getting big numbers every night," said Thibault. "I just think it's a total offensive makeover as far as definitely being able to sustain when one person goes out and having somebody else to take their place."

With the addition of Charles, an upcoming #7 pick acquired in a trade with the Tulsa Shock yesterday, and a number of other off-season acquisitions including UConn alumnus Renee Montgomery, Thibault is certainly moving closer to his vision of possibly going from lottery to contender.

Connecticut Sun Free Agency Breakdown: How Well Does Kara Lawson Fit? - Swish Appeal
"I think we've put in position to compete for it again," said Thibault, when asked how far away the Sun are from a championship. "We're bigger, more athletic, quicker, hopefully we've addressed some outside shooting issues. I think we certainly can contend for a championship right away...we need a little bit of luck but I think we can put ourselves in that position again."

“Tina is unbelievable and she brings so much to the table," said Tulsa Shock coach Nolan Richardson. "If she is on the bench, then that must mean their team is tremendous.”

For more on Charles, please click here or here.

Related Links: Prospect: Tina Charles
Big East Player of the Year (2010)...NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player (2009)…Trenton All-Regional Team (2009)…All-Big East First Team (2008, 2009, 2010)…Big East All-Tournament Team (2008, 2009)…WBCA/State Farm District I All-America (2009)… State Farm/WBCA All-America Finalist (2008)…Associated Press All-America Third Team (2008)…USBWA National Freshman of the Year (2007)…Big East Freshman of the Year (2007)…All-Big East Second Team (2007)…All-Big East Freshman Team (2007)…Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention (2007)…Kodak All-District Team (2007).