It’s been nothing but a busy road for WNBA Draft pick, Shakira Austin. She’s gone from playing in the March Madness tournament with Ole Miss to being selected third overall by the Washington Mystics and now enduring training camp and Mystics Media Day all in the last month.
Austin mentioned how it has truly been a grind in her senior year since the WNBA Draft. She has had to add so many things onto her schedule during these last couple of weeks.
“From talking to coaches for hours out of the days to still trying to get my training in, then I got school,” Austin said. “It’s a lot and I feel like a lot of people don’t really recognize that women have to do stuff like this in the middle of the Draft.”
Austin even went on to say how she wants to put more information out on this type of journey as many aren’t always aware of what it entails. She brought up how she didn’t know she wouldn’t be able to attend her own graduation. That’s the case for most women senior college athletes who get drafted as they have to move forward right into training and professional duties as most college graduations tend to be in the middle of a WNBA season.
Coming in as a rookie, those aren’t the only adjustments that would have to occur. For most athletes, it’s the change in pace and getting used to the new gameplay in such a short time, while also keeping their game intact. For Austin, she says the offense and defense will come in with time, but the biggest adjustment will be the pace of the game.
“I feel everything else will come with work and film. I’m already a big communicator and that was one of the main things they were doing in pick-up was communicating” she said. “You know I just fit right in and that’s naturally what I do with how I lead.”
Her new teammate, Elena Delle Donne, thinks Austin is an awesome player and will be a great fit for the team. She appreciates how Austin wants to continue to develop even in the position of being a stretch post player. To be a player that comes in and already has a positive outcome on one of the best players in league is an understatement.
“I’m happy to bring her under my wing,” Delle Donne said. “She’s someone who wants to compete, she wants to get better, and she wants to put the time in. And that’s really all you can ask for.”
Austin’s mindset going into her career is knowing it’s going to be long and great and how she’s in no rush for things to happen in the first couple years. Being her rookie season, she envisions taking her time and letting it all come to her.
“I feel like this is the best opportunity to come in and honestly not feel pressured to give demands and produce as quickly as others,” she said. “I feel like this is a really a great place for me to expand and reach my full potential.”