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Dickson deserved higher pick in WNBA Draft

With the 21st pick in the 2007 WNBA draft, the Sacramento Monarchs selected forward Jessica Dickson.


Dickson’s draft selection was as much a shock as the Bulls missing the NCAA Tournament this season. Dickson was considered a top-five pick to open the season, and had her going late in the first round.

But there was Dickson, sitting anxiously in Cleveland, watching the first round end without her name being called. Dickson, who set the all-time scoring record with 2,402 points, was forced to wait until the second round to hear her name.

The scene was eerily similar to the Big East Conference room less than a month ago as the Bulls waited for a second NCAA Tournament berth. The difference in the wait in Cleveland was that Dickson knew she was going to be drafted – the question was when and where.

“It was a different feeling because we knew she was going to get drafted,” coach Jose Fernandez said. “I knew she was going to go, if it wasn’t in the first round then it would be in the second round. Waiting on an NCAA bid was a little different.”Just another case of a quality player that is worthy of a first-round pick, but dropped because of lack of exposure. Since Dickson didn’t go to North Carolina or Tennessee, players like Ivory Latta and Lindsey Harding went in the first round instead.

Dickson averaged more points this season (19.6 ppg) than Latta and Harding, yet she wasn’t worthy of a first-round pick.Last year, Dickson led women’s college basketball in scoring for most of the season, running toe-to-toe with Seimone Augustus. Augustus, however, went No. 1 in the 2006 WNBA draft and Dickson goes in the second round.

How does this make sense?

Dickson led the Bulls in scoring all four years of her career, was an All-American honorable mention the past two years, but isn’t a first-round selection. She took a program that had never been to the postseason to three WNIT appearances and one NCAA Tournament.

Yet a junior college player, Ashley Shields, and a center from France, Sandrine Gurda, went before a talented Division I forward. It’s understandable if a player from overseas is drafted in the NBA Draft, but to me it’s a stretch to understand that a player from France is better than Dickson.

The Monarchs got the biggest steal of the 2007 draft with the selection of Dickson, a prolific scorer who can create shots. Dickson can put points on the board in bunches and is accurate from behind the three-point line.

Dickson will have a few adjustments to make as a rookie in the WNBA, but it will be much easier because of her experience in the Big East. Her sweet-stroking jumper will make her a force for the Monarchs and show the rest of the WNBA just what they passed up.