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‘She’s must see TV’: NBA and WNBA on Caitlin Clark’s blistering talent

March 19th, 2024

Caitlin Clark’s Iowa are a No 1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Photograph: Matthew Holst/Getty Images

There is no bigger name in college basketball than Caitlin Clark at the moment. The Iowa star is becoming a brand unto herself having recently broken both the NCAA women’s and men’s scoring marks, held previously by Lynette Woodard and Pete Maravich, respectively. She already boasts a net worth estimated to be in the millions.

Clark, who started playing in boys’ leagues when she was five, is the surefire top pick in the upcoming WNBA draft. Standing 6ft, she is a big guard for the women’s game, with her passing drawing comparisons to Magic Johnson and her shooting to Steph Curry.

With the women’s NCAA Tournament starting this week, we reached out to a handful of hoops luminaries for their takes on Clark’s talent and how it may translate to the next level.

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Nancy Lieberman (Former WNBA player, WNBA and NBA coach, Basketball Hall of Famer)

She’s won my award three times. Well, she will win it this year for the third time, in my opinion. And she is legitimately the GOAT, I don’t really care what anybody else [thinks]. Nobody in the history of the game has done what she’s done.

Related: Will there ever be another great men’s college basketball team?

I’m sure some people will say she has to win a championship and I agree a championship means something. [But] Michael Jordan didn’t win a championship for the first [seven] years he was in the league. What Caitlin has done economically for women – she’s the GOAT. When Michael came into the NBA, very few African American athletes had commercials or endorsements and he changed that. Then everything else, including contracts got bigger. Endorsements got bigger. More people had opportunities to do things.

In all the years of Nancy Lieberman, Lynette Woodard, Cheryl Miller, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, A’ja Wilson, Tamika Catchings, Brittney Griner – all these other amazing, amazing athletes – we never had the economic impact that Caitlin Clark has had, and we were pretty damn good.

There are people lined up – 14,000, 15,000, 18,000 people – to see her play. She’s just a great person and I’m super happy for her. She brought men and women, children, boys and girls, hometown fans, everybody – she’s brought them to the party. She’s a true trailblazer in that sense. It’s exciting because you want players to be better than you. That just means you’ve set the bar high and that’s exciting.

Muggsy Bogues (NBA star point guard, former WNBA coach)

Gosh! She’s out there playing like Steph Curry and shooting the ball from wherever on the court. That’s amazing and I’m so proud of her. What stands out is her confidence. It’s sky high and she believes in herself and she knows the game. You can see the passion she has for the game and that’s a joy to watch.

Her IQ level as a basketball player is off the charts. I compare her to Steph because of the joy she plays with, her shooting ability and the constant movement. It’s the confidence and the shots she makes.

Natalie Williams (four-time WNBA All-Star, current Las Vegas Aces GM)

She is must see TV. You simply cannot take your eyes off of her, given what she may do next. She affects so many aspects of the game. Her special sauce is not only her ability to hit a shot from anywhere, but also her incredible passing ability.

You have to guard Caitlin as soon as she comes across halfcourt. If you don’t, she will shoot her logo threes, but if you guard her too tightly, she is great at attacking the basket with surprising speed and agility. Her ability to get shots off in the [WNBA] will not be as easy. WNBA players are quicker and stronger than what she has seen in college, but she will still find a way to get some shots off.

Caitlin will be most effective by her ability to pass to her teammates. That will be hard for W teams to take away. As long as she has the ball in her hand, her future teammates should always have one eye on her because she will find them.

I look forward to having Caitlin in the WNBA alongside all the other incredible players in the world. Caitlin’s notoriety will continue to grow much deserved attention to the WNBA. I will not be surprised if every arena she plays in this summer is sold out.

Michael Cooper (former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, five-time NBA champion, two-time WNBA champion coach, 2000 WNBA Coach of the Year)

She’s the female version of Steph Curry. She has range, she has that tenacity, that will to score. And it’s going to be fun watching her. Just think – next year, she goes into the WNBA and you have probably the greatest women’s scorer ever.

She’s the best shooter God ever gave the WNBA. And I know the NBA is salivating about that given the new addition [to the NBA All-Star game]. If I were her coach, I’d tell her it’s going to be different [for her] in the pros compared to college. In the WNBA, they can identify you and get their defense to stop her.

I think the biggest thing is [whether] she’s a point guard or a shooting guard. And you don’t want to alienate the rest of her teammates letting her run wild. But it would be a fun project. She’s going to add a different dimension. [You want to] see how she fits in with her teammates and run a lot of pick and rolls for her – starting at half court!

Terry Mills (former NBA sharp-shooter, 1989 NCAA champion, current radio analyst for the University of Michigan men’s basketball team)

She’s an unbelievable talent. I think she’s just what women’s basketball needs in this era of social media. She’s a highlight machine. I heard that tickets are going for $500 to watch her play. As a shooter – man, just the way she runs. She just has unlimited potential.

The Michigan women were playing in Iowa when she broke the [women’s Division I scoring record]. The game was on Peacock and I went to turn it on and watch the game. But by the time I found it, within the first two or three minutes, she had eight points so fast that before I could get it turned on, she’d broken the record.

Everyone talks about her and it’s equivalent to how people tuned in to watch Jordan when Jordan was on. She just has that type of following. You’re tuning in when she’s playing. I know she’s doing very well with NIL and the social media piece. Against Michigan she had 49 points. She’s just an unbelievable talent.

I wish I had the opportunity to see her in person, but I tell you that it’s good enough to watch her on television. Every chance I get, I tune in just to see what she’s going to do next.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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