Veronica Burton is ‘pro ready’ and eager to continue her basketball career in the WNBA

“It’s definitely a huge honor to be invited and experience it live,” said Burton, a 5-foot-9-inch point guard. “There’s a lot of excitement built up around it and I think it’s great for the league and the women’s basketball sport.”

Atlanta Dream has the top pick in the draft, which begins at. 19 and will be broadcast on ESPN. Likely top picks for the league’s first in-person draft since 2019 include Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith, Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard and Ole Miss’ Shakira Austin.

At Northwestern, Burton was three times Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Defender of the Year for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association 2021-22. She averaged 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 4 steals en route to AP All-America Third Team honors, a first-time honor for a Northwestern player.

She has hired an agent and spoken to representatives from about half of the WNBA teams. She will likely be the fourth Northwestern player selected in the WNBA draft. A mock draft from Bleacher Report put Burton in an overall 12th place as a pick of the Connecticut Sun. ESPN’s mock draft projects Burton to the Washington Mystics as number 14 overall, the second pick in the second round.

“Being seen as one of the top players in the draft says a lot,” said Northwestern coach Joe McKeown, who recently spoke with many WNBA coaches and executives about Burton at the Final Four, calling Burton the most underrated and best. . guard in college basketball. “She is such a mature point guard. She makes no mistakes and does not get rattled.”

ESPN women’s basketball analyst LaChina Robinson said Burton is “pro ready” on the defensive end.

“She’s a game-changer [defensively]said Robinson. “WNBA coaches and GMs see her as a really solid backup point guard option.”

Veronica Burton played high school basketball at Newton South High and comes from a family that is well accustomed to success in sports.Jim Davis

Burton knows how she can best influence her new team.

“I’m a big fan of doing things that I can control, so really being the hardest worker and being someone that you can consistently trust is what I feel I want to bring to the team that prepares me. ,” she said.

The Burton family is full of athletes. Veronica’s late grandfather, Ron, was the first choice among the New England Patriots. Her mother, Ginni, was an All-American swimmer on the Northwestern. Her father, Steve (quarterback), and three uncles played football for the Wildcats. Burton’s three older siblings all played collegially; Kendall and Kayla played basketball at Villanova and Lehigh, respectively, and Austin played football at UCLA and is now with Purdue.

JoAnn Burton has seen it all evolve. She noticed her granddaughter’s unsurpassed inner drive at a young age, like when she won the MVP in an elementary school basketball league, where she was the only girl to play.

“Veronica was always determined to be at the top,” JoAnn Burton said. “She has always chosen her own turn, and she has walked it with determination.”

Burton’s high school and AAU programs often talk about her. Newton South coach Joe Rogers points out that Burton is actively seeking opportunities to get better.

Newton South’s starting point guard, junior Maddy Sweater, looks up to Burton. At a match this year, Burton Sweater offered some praise for her ball handling and speed.

“It was the best compliment I could have received,” Genser said. “Many of us see her as a celebrity. When I saw her in the gym, I was speechless.”

Burton’s AAU program, the Bay State Jaguars, cites her as a player to emulate. Burton was not ranked in ESPN HoopGurlz’s top 100 recruits for his high school class. She did not have lots of Power 5 offerings. Nevertheless, she became one of the nation’s best players and ready to become one of the select group of 144 WNBA players.

With all NCAA athletes awarded an extra year of eligibility, Burton decided to move on with the support of Northwestern’s coaching staff to begin his professional career. She honored her university commitment. Now it’s on to the WNBA.

“I’m really just ready for whatever happens,” Burton said. “When my name gets called, I’ll be excited about it.”

WNBA Draft at a glance

When: Monday at

TV: ESPN

Format: Three rounds, 12 selections in each round.

Top 5 picks: 1. Atlanta Dream; 2. Indiana fever; 3. Washington Mystics; 4. Fever; 5. New York Liberty.

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