Can Caitlin Clark be drafted by the WNBA and the NBA? 2024 draft rules explored

Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes are back in the 2024 NCAA women
Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes are back in the 2024 NCAA Final Four.

The Iowa Hawkeyes wrapped up March on a good note as they beat LSU 94-87 on Monday for a trip to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. The game was a rematch from last year's national championship which rekindled the rivalry between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese.

The three-time national scoring leader has broken records throughout her senior year, surpassing Megan Gustafson, Kelsey Plum, Kelsey Mitchell, Lynette Woodward, Pete Maravich and Steph Curry. She also became the NCAA's all-time leader in 3-pointers.

With Caitlin Clark's abilities and superstar status, could she be drafted in the WNBA or the NBA this year?

In the WNBA, she must meet one of these requirements to be eligible for the draft:

  • She must be 22 years old during the calendar year of the WNBA draft.
  • Must already have her bachelor's degree in three months before the draft.
  • Her college eligibility is completed.

Clark turned 22 in January and has completed four years of eligibility, although she could have chosen to stay for a fifth year granted as an exception because of COVID-19.

If the NBA draft is her calling, there are a few things she must consider to enter:

  • Player must be 19 years old during the NBA draft's calendar year.
  • Declaration for the draft will no longer result in loss of college eligibility.
  • NCAA players can withdraw from the draft 10 days after the NBA draft combine.
  • NCAA players can participate in the NBA draft combine, attend one tryout per year with NBA team(s) and won't lose college eligibility.
  • NCAA players are allowed to enter and withdraw from the draft twice and won't lose eligibility.

It seems she fits the bill to enter either the WNBA or the NBA draft.

While she is considered the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, her credentials could be enough to be the second woman to be drafted in the NBA. (Lusia Harris was drafted in 1979 by the New Orleans Jazz. Denise Long was also drafted, but the 1969 selection by the San Francisco Warriors was later voided.)


Caitlin Clark to enter WNBA draft in April

Before the Iowa Hawkeyes' epic journey back to the Final Four, Caitlin Clark declared via social media on Feb. 29 that she will enter the WNBA draft.

She posted a heartfelt message on her Instagram account addressing her fans, teammates, coaching staff, her family and friends:

"It is impossible to fully express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me during my time at Iowa – my teammates, who made the last four years the best; my coaches, trainers, and staff, who always let me be me; Hawkeyes fans who filled Carver every night; and everyone who came out to support us across the country, especially the young kids.
"Most importantly, none of this would have been possible without my family and friends who have been by my side through it all. Because of all of you, my dreams came true."

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein