The hype surrounding the 2013 WNBA Draft class – which includes three game-changing prospects in Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, all currently playing for their respective colleges – is at an all-time high as all three have the potential to immediately make a substantial impact on a franchise. Each week, WNBA.com will update you with what each of these players is doing for their respective schools as it's never to early for WNBA fans to start following some of the future stars of this league.
'Tis the season for giving. And, come April, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne could be giving three WNBA franchises a gift that you can't find under any tree -- the gift of a budding superstar. Each player is uniquely talented and that is why this draft class has generated so much interest within the basketball world.
It is also -- if you've happened to see a commercial in the past month -- the season for receiving. Where everyone's thoughts have been focused on what these three players can give to a WNBA franchise, what about what these players want? They are still in college after all, so what is on their Christmas list this year? Well, ask and you shall receive. Here is a look at what these players likely want for the holidays -- as it relates to basketball, of course.
12/22 at Monmouth, 3PM ET: Listen
12/29 vs. Villanova (Blue Sky Classic), 5/7PM: Live Video
12/30 Blue Sky Classic Consolation/Finals, 5/7PM: Live Video
On Elena's Christmas List:
For Elena Delle Donne, the top item on her list has got to be to stay on the floor and remain healthy. She has missed six of Delaware's eight games this year and saw action for the first time since Nov. 20 when Delaware lost to No. 9 Maryland on Thursday night. She missed those games because she was battling symptoms from Lyme's Disease, a disease she contracted in 2008. Her return did not go as she would have scripted -- not every Christmas story can have a happy ending -- but just by being on the court, she can give Delaware and its fan base some hope that this year might yet reach their lofty expectations.
Before Delle Donne ever put on a Blue Hens jersey, Delaware was known as much for its basketball as it was its Italian cuisine, but Delle Donne changed all that by leading the Cinderella Blue Hens to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. As a result, expectations were even higher this year for Delaware, but those dreams took a hit when the do-it-all Delle Donne was sidelined indefinitely. Now that she is seemingly back, Blue Hens fans can start to dream again, provided Delle Donne gets her Christmas wish.
12/29 vs. Purdue, 2PM ET: Live Video
12/31 vs. Saint Francis (PA), 1PM ET: Live Video
1/05 at Connecticut, 4 PM ET: Live Video *Watch on CBS
On Skylar's Christmas List:
Revenge. That's really what it's all about for Skylar Diggins and this Notre Dame squad. A powerhouse team in its own right last year, going 35-4, the Fighting Irish ran into the immovable object that was the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game, losing 80-61 as Baylor capped off a 40-0 season. Compounding the disappointment is that Notre Dame lost in the National Championship game in 2011 as well -- this time to Texas A&M. For a competitor like Diggins -- there may be no player with her blend of leadership and determination in the country -- that cannot sit well. And, since Baylor and Notre Dame are near the top of the rankings -- No. 3 Baylor beat No. 5 Notre Dame on Dec. 5 -- it appears that Diggins and Notre Dame could be on a collision course with Brittney Griner and Baylor this March.
A championship run this year by Notre Dame would be Diggins' most impressive as Notre Dame lost three starters from last year's team. Nine games into the season, however, Diggins seems to have her team capable of anything, so her quest for revenge -- admittedly not your typical Christmas motive -- appears to be alive and well.
12/29 at Southeastern Louisiana, 8PM ET: Live Video
1/02 at TCU, 8PM ET: Listen
1/06 vs. Oklahoma State, 5:30 PM ET: Listen
On Brittney's Christmas List:
What do you get the girl that has everything? Last year, Brittney Griner led Baylor to a 40-0 record and a National Championship. Nobody had ever done that before. How do you back that up? She is already the talk of the women's basketball world and with every seemingly effortless dunk, the hype surrounding her entrance into the WNBA only grows bigger. But, for one of the most decorated women's college basketball players in recent memory, it would only be fitting for her to go out on top. So many of the greats, regardless of sport, have found a way to do just that and that has to be Griner's quest this season.
Griner has expressed how much she has enjoyed her time at Baylor -- there was talk that she could've declared early and gone pro last year, but she opted to stay in school -- and to some it would only feel right if the nation's preeminent player were to end her storied career by cutting down the nets in New Orleans, the site of this year's Final Four. Griner's Christmas list -- if you can call it that -- is a little nit-picky, but that does not mean this supremely talented individual is not entitled.
Last week, Lauren Hill of Mount St. Joseph University courageously took the floor for her first college game, refusing to let an inoperable brain tumor keep her from achieving her dream – and WNBA stars Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings were on hand to lend their support.