Texas Longhorns center Charli Collier was taken No. 1 overall by the Dallas Wings in the 2021 WNBA Draft on Thursday.
Collier, a junior, declared for the WNBA Draft a month ago. But even before her declaration, the 6-foot-5 center popped up as the No. 1 overall selection in several WNBA mock drafts.
Collier finished the season averaging 19 points and 11.3 rebounds per game for a Longhorns team that played into the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
It’s an historic moment for the program, as the Longhorns have never had a No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA Draft. The program has had five players previously taken in the first round, but the closest any of them came to being selected No. 1 overall was Edwina Brown. She was selected No. 3 overall by the Detroit Shock in the 2000 WNBA Draft.
Collier brought home several awards this season. He was a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 recognition and also earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team after averaging 20.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in the regular season, the only Division I player to average 20 points and 12 rebounds at the time.
She also earned second-team All-America honors from the Associated Press and the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association. She became the program’s first AP All-American since 2018, and the program’s first USBWA All-American since 2005 (Tiffany Jackson).
She was also selected an Honorable Mention All-American by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Collier’s career ended with a loss to South Carolina in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, a game in which she had just four points and four rebounds.
Collier said in March that several factors went into the decision, but she referenced her father, who has passed away, as a ‘life force’ on her progression as a player and person.
“He used to always tell me I'll be number one,” Collier said. “I didn't know what that would be in. But just number one at everything, I took it like that, number one in school athletics or in anything. So I just carry that on every day that I have to be number one at whatever that may be. And I just want to continue to work hard and be the best I could be.”
The selection by the Wings would not only keep her close to her collegiate home, but also to her high school home. Collier is from Mont Belvieu, Texas, and went to high school at Barbers Hill.
Matthew Postins is an award-winning sports journalist who covers Longhorns in the Pros for Longhorn Country on FanNation.com and SINow. He also writes for CowboyMaven and DallasBasketball.com, covers the Big 12 for HeartlandCollegeSports.com and is the Editor of the College Football America Yearbook. Have a story idea about a former Longhorn now in the professional ranks? Contact Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.