It is not often in any major sports draft that you will see a player go in the Top 5 who wasn't on anybody's radar. Later in a seven-round NFL Draft, of course players could go 13 to 25 spots ahead of where they were expected to go. But draft experts usually have the top end of the draft pretty accurate based on whose skills they think will translate best to the next level.
Kysre Gondrezick’s selection at No. 4 in the 2021 WNBA Draft when she was projected to go No. 17 by Swish Appeal and No. 29 by ESPN is thus a historic moment in sports, not just women’s basketball.
If Gondrezick had been selected at No. 17 or No. 29 she would have been battling just to make a WNBA roster. Now she is a lock to make Indiana’s team and will be making $70,040 as a rookie, the same amount as No. 1 pick Charli Collier of the Dallas Wings. Had she been picked in the second round and made a team, she would have been paid $61,543 and if she had gone in the third round she would have been paid the player minimum of $58,710.
In one moment, Gondrezick went from nervous about even making the league to seeing her WNBA dreams clinched.
Her reaction when she got drafted. @KysreRae #WNBADraft pic.twitter.com/XjouEhWrYs— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) April 16, 2021
Gondrezick is from Benton Harbor, Mich., a town that she once represented with 72 points in a high school playoff game. That total and her 40.5 points per game that season both set Michigan state records. She went on to play at the University of Michigan and averaged 14.9 points per game as a freshman.
After transferring to West Virginia, Gondrezick’s three phenomenal years (albeit one was shortened to five games) with the Mountaineers made her a household NCAAW name, so she was far from an obscurity come draft night. After her redshirt junior year, her father, former NBA player Grant Gondrezick, told her that he believed she could be a Top 5 WNBA Draft pick.
Gondrezick was one of the most talked about players in the Big 12 as a redshirt senior. She averaged 19.5 points and 4.5 assists per game and led her team with 24 points in a 92-58 dismantling of a favored Texas team just days after her father passed away. That win returned the Mountaineers to receiving votes for the first time in four weeks and two weeks later they began a ranked stretch that lasted the rest of the season. West Virginia earned a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament and went to the second round.
Despite Gondrezick’s stellar senior year, she was not in the first-round conversation after the season. However, it is understandable why the Indiana Fever, the team that drafted her, were attracted to her scoring abilities.
In the end, Gondrezick proved her father right by going in the Top 5. She joins a Fever team that features Julie Allemand at the point and Kelsey Mitchell at shooting guard. Allemand was a surprise rookie sensation last year and Mitchell is one of the most gifted scorers in the game. Gondrezick has a chance to contribute right away as a point guard/shooting guard off the bench and learn from those two players.
She is excited to join the Fever to say the least, saying on draft night that she is ready to run through a wall for the team that believed in her so much that it took her as a lottery pick.
"I'm about to run through a wall."— Indiana Fever ⛹️♀️ (@IndianaFever) April 16, 2021
SAME, @KysreRae, SAME. #FeverDraft pic.twitter.com/qqQoOXLIw0
"To see my name up there was humbling because it was never in the conversation."@KysreRae talks about what it meant to be drafted No. 4 overall in the #WNBADraft #MondayMotivation— Indiana Fever ⛹️♀️ (@IndianaFever) April 19, 2021