WNBA CASHES IN ON RECRUITMENT; ABL BACK TO DRAWING BOARD?
One year ago, the ABL "cleaned up in signing the top
college seniors. This time, the mop was in the hands of the
rival WNBA," according to Mel Greenberg of the PHILADELPHIA
INQUIRER. The WNBA got commitments from 44 of this year's
"roughly" 60 top seniors, and "the ABL only a handful."
Woolf Associates VP Andrew Brandt, at yesterday's WNBA
Draft: "A lot of players turned down significantly better
financial offers by the ABL after seeing the WNBA on TV last
summer." The WNBA held its Draft yesterday, one day after
announcing the signings of All-American's Nykesha Sales from
UConn, Kristin Folkl of Stanford and Ticha Penicheiro of ODU
(PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/30). Yesterday's top three picks
of the WNBA's first round will earn a base salary of
$50,000, picks 4-7 earn $44,000, picks 8-10 earn $37,500.
Second-round picks earn $25,000, third round, $22,000 and
fourth round earn $19,000 (Valerie Lister, USA TODAY, 4/30).
CAN THE ABL BOUNCE BACK? ABL CEO Gary Cavalli said he
offered Sales, Folkl and Penicheiro between $150,000 and
$175,000, and added that the WNBA might have outbid the ABL:
"I think they came up from last year. They sweetened their
deals." The WNBA did not reveal contract terms (Portland
OREGONIAN, 4/29). In Hartford, COURANT Associate Editor
Jeff Rivers, under the header, "Sales' WNBA Choice Is Right
One For Her," writes that the "seemingly inevitable march of
the WNBA to the forefront of women's professional basketball
is yet another sad example of a people trained to gorge on
the sizzle rather than savor the steak in our society." But
Rivers doesn't "blame" her for her decision (HARTFORD
COURANT, 4/30). Also in Hartford, Riley & Berlet write that
the ABL "couldn't deny that losing most" of the college
seniors to the WNBA "looks bad." Riley & Berlet: "And while
perceptions may be worse than reality, at least one ABL
executive would like to see the process for recruiting top
players improved." Quest GM/Coach Brian Agler said that
coaches "need to be more involved" in the recruiting season
(HARTFORD COURANT, 4/30). In L.A., Earl Gustkey writes that
"the war in women's hoops has turned and the ABL's future is
clouded. If this trend continues, the players the ABL now
has will keep it a strong league through, perhaps, 2000.
Then the slide will begin" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29).