Veronica Burton is ‘ready for the pros’ and eager to pursue her basketball career in the WNBA

“It’s definitely a huge honor to be invited and to experience this live,” said Burton, a 5-foot-9 point guard. “There’s a lot of excitement around it and I think it’s great for the league and the sport of women’s basketball.”

The Atlanta Dream have the first pick in the draft, which begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN. Likely top picks for the league’s first in-person draft since 2019 include NaLyssa Smith of Baylor, Rhyne Howard of Kentucky and Shakira Austin of Ole Miss.

At Northwestern, Burton was a three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and the 2021-22 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Year. She averaged 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 4 steals en route to third-team AP All-America honors, a first honor for a player from the Northwest.

She hired an agent and spoke to representatives from about half of the WNBA teams. She will likely be the fourth player from the North West selected in the WNBA Draft. A fictional Bleacher Report draft placed Burton 12th overall as the Connecticut Sun’s pick. ESPN’s fake draft projects Burton to the Washington Mystics 14th overall, the second pick of the second round.

“For her to be considered one of the best players in the draft says a lot,” said Northwestern coach Joe McKeown, who recently spoke with many of Burton’s Final Four WNBA coaches and executives and calls Burton the most underrated and the best. guard in college basketball. “She’s such a mature leader. She doesn’t make mistakes and doesn’t get rattled.

ESPN women’s basketball analyst LaChina Robinson said Burton is “ready for the pros” on the defensive end.

“She’s a game-changer [defensively]”WNBA coaches and general managers see her as a really solid point guard option.”

Veronica Burton played basketball at Newton South High and comes from a family well accustomed to success in sports.Jim Davis

Burton knows how she can have the best impact on her new team.

“I’m a big fan of doing things that I can control, so really being the hardest worker and being someone you can always rely on is what I think I’ll bring to the team that’s going to help me. got drafted,” she said.

The Burton family is full of athletes. Veronica’s late grandfather, Ron, was the New England Patriots’ first pick. His mother, Ginni, was an All-American swimmer at Northwestern. His father, Steve (quarterback), and three uncles played football for the Wildcats. Burton’s three older siblings all played collegiately; Kendall and Kayla played basketball at Villanova and Lehigh, respectively, and Austin played football at UCLA and is now at Purdue.

JoAnn Burton has seen it all develop. She noticed her granddaughter’s unparalleled drive at a young age, such as when she won the MVP title of an elementary school basketball league where she was the only girl playing.

“Veronica has always been determined to be on top,” said JoAnn Burton. “She always chose her own walk and walked it with determination.”

Burton’s high school and AAU programs feature her often. Newton South coach Joe Rogers draws attention to the fact that Burton is actively looking for opportunities to improve.

Newton South’s starting point guard, junior Maddy Genser, admires Burton. In a game this year, Burton praised Genser for his ball handling and speed.

“It was the best compliment I could have received,” Genser said. “A lot of us see her as a celebrity. When I saw her at the gym, I was at a loss for words.

Burton’s AAU program, the Bay State Jaguars, cites her as a player to emulate. Burton was not ranked in the ESPN HoopGurlz Top 100 Rookies for her high school class. She didn’t have many Power 5 offers. Nonetheless, she has become one of the top players in the country and is set to make it into the WNBA’s select 144-man squad.

With all NCAA athletes granted an additional year of eligibility, Burton decided to move on with the support of Northwestern’s coaching staff to embark on his professional career. She honored her academic commitment. Now it’s on to the WNBA.

“I’m really ready for whatever comes,” Burton said. “Every time my name is called, I’ll be excited for it.”

The WNBA Draft at a Glance

When: Monday, 7 p.m.

Television: ESPN

Format: Three rounds, 12 picks each round.

Top 5 Picks: 1. Atlanta Dream; 2. Indiana fever; 3. Mystical Washingtons; 4. Fever; 5. Liberty of New York.

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