Welcome to the Pros, SkylarMay 13, 2013 | Anthony Oliva, WNBA.com
As a point guard, a social media celebrity and now a professional, Skylar Diggins never seems fazed.
The No. 3 pick in this year’s WNBA Draft -- one of ESPN’s “3 to See” -- is settling into her new role as a member of the Tulsa Shock, not even a month after taking the stage at ESPN's campus. The immensely popular Notre Dame product has already even moved into her new apartment.
And it was there, of all places, where she found herself outside of her seemingly vast comfort zone.
“I’ve got an apartment. It’s pretty nice too,” Diggins explained. “I even used my kitchen. I don’t usually cook, but I decided to cook a little bit. I did the taco route. It’s pretty simple. You don’t have to do too much.
Usually it’s just Ramen, toast and cereal and sandwiches, but I stepped outside my comfort zone.”
An anecdote like that reveals a different side of the extensively reported-on Diggins. While the 22-year-old may appear unflappable in front of the legions of her fans that can watch her just about anywhere – there was the appearances on ESPN, the @NBAonTNT Twitter Takeover during a Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets Playoff game and, of course, the brush with hip-hop royalty when she recently signed with Jay Z's agency Roc Nation – it's easy to forget that South Bend native with over 385,000 Twitter followers is still a week away from her college graduation.
“Getting everything done in the midst of the WNBA and getting set up out here in Tulsa, I still had to finish college,” Diggins said with a laugh. “So I actually just finished up this week with a final exam for my last business class, so getting that done was kind of crazy.”
Crazy might not be a strong enough word to describe Skylar’s last couple months.
Diggins, who played her last game at Notre Dame, a loss to rival UConn in the Final Four, on April 7, has not only received an enormous amount of media attention in the sports world since then -- she's attended NBA games and Kobe Bryant tweeted at her, calling her #ladymamba -- but her appeal has crossed over into pop culture, a fact that is validated by celebrities such as Rihanna reaching out to her via -- you guessed it -- Twitter.
“I had my fair share of celebrity shoutouts that have reached out to me,” Diggins said. “That’s always cool just knowing they like the game of basketball, like watching, appreciate my craft. That’s always pretty flattering.”
With this type of fanfare comes responsibility, and Diggins is ready to take that on.
“It makes you want to work harder,” Diggins said of the attention she’s receiving. “When you see people that are so excited to see what you can bring to the table, not only just on the court, but off the court.”
On the court, Diggins saw her first action as a member of the Shock when Tulsa lost to the Atlanta Dream on May 9 in the season’s first preseason game. Diggins finished with nine points, three assists and two steals in 22 minutes, but the biggest headline was the bloody lip she received when getting leveled by a screen from Atlanta's Aneika Henry. Diggins, who received five stitches and shared her wound via Instagram, says it was the first time she ever had to receive stitches for a basketball injury.
“I don’t know if it was a ‘welcome to the pros’ thing or what,” Diggins joked.
Her transition to a professional life off the court has been just as abrupt.
“You’re an adult now and I’m not in South Bend where my whole family is to lean on for meals and stuff like that,” she admitted. “I can’t just go to my grandma’s house anymore, can’t count on my mom for meals as much as I would if I was in South Bend.”
No, the budding and ever-visible superstar is not in South Bend anymore.
But, as long as tacos don’t get more complicated, we know she won’t go hungry.
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