Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Christi Thomas a WNBA first-rounder

Tuesday April 20, 2004

Christi was selected with the 12th overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks. LA is one of the top teams in the league, but they failed to capture a three-peat title due in part to the lack of post depth. They addressed that need with Thomas who will back up or play alongside Lisa Leslie, one of the best players in the game who has become increasingly injury-prone. LSU’s Doneeka Hodges will join Christi in LA.

Following this week’s team banquet, Christi will immediately head out to training camp April 25th.

From the Sparks release:

“We are very excited to have a lady of her caliber, who comes from a great basketball program, like Georgia,” said Sparks Head Coach Michael Cooper. “If I had to, I’d compare her to a female version of Tim Duncan. She’s really an excellent addition to our front court. She will be a great compliment to Lisa Leslie and Delisha Milton.”

Thomas, a 6-3 forward/center, averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during her four-year career with the Bulldogs. She posted a career high 16 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in her junior season. As a senior, she was named AP All-America honorable mention, All-SEC First Team, coaches, All-SEC Second Team, media, and SEC All-Tournament Team.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Lisa Leslie and the exceptional veterans on the team,” Thomas smiled. “I’m confident that my ability to run the floor and help Lisa inside will be of value this season.”

In the meantime, Christi is still a student. She didn’t even attend the WNBA draft in person because, according to ESPN, she was catching up on schoolwork. The season is demanding on student-athletes, and here is a first-round draft pick having to put the books ahead of her moment in the sun.

This year’s great NCAA tournament introduced us to some incredible players, not the least of which was Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen. An outstanding player, an entire city and state rallied around her and the Gophers on their way to the Final Four. Alas, the draft didn’t work out and she’ll be in Connecticut. Here’s a good analysis of the situation from the Minnesota perspective. Now while she wants to be in Minnesota, and they want her there, she can’t expect to last in the pros moping about the outcome of the draft. She’s heading into a situation where the fans will support such an outstanding player and needs to make the most of the opportunity. Michael Jordan wasn’t from Chicago, but there are now few people more identified with that town. Meanwhile, the same applies to the fans back in Minneapolis – they can’t let this outcome diminish their support of the teams and people they lived and died with over the past few months.

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