Isaiah Thomas’ advice to Sky third-round pick Kiah Gillespie: ‘Be the hardest working player every day’
Former Florida State forward Kiah Gillespie had to wait longer than expected to hear her name called during the WNBA Draft on Friday.
Former Florida State forward Kiah Gillespie had to wait longer than expected to hear her name called Friday during the WNBA Draft.
Projected to be a late first-round or early second-round pick, Gillespie was still available midway through the third and final round. The Sky ultimately snagged her with the 32nd overall pick.
“Official Drafted!! A dream come true,” Gillespie tweeted Friday. “@wnbachicagosky thank you thank you thank you for the opportunity!! Can’t wait to get to work.”
The WNBA is one of the most competitive professional basketball leagues in the world. There are only 144 roster spots available, though several teams — including the Sky — will be forced to carry only 11 players this season due to salary-cap restrictions.
It’s not unheard of for a first-round pick — let alone a second- or third-round selection — to not stick with the team that drafted her during her rookie season. Many end up playing overseas.
But Gillespie doesn’t seem discouraged by her odds, though she did reach out to two-time NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas on Twitter for some advice.
Here’s what he tweeted:
“Yes I do. Be the hardest working player everyday. Learn from your vets and when your name is called be ready for your opportunity. Work work and work some more. The work will have you ready for you opportunity. Anything else I’m here for you.”
Gillespie thanks Thomas, who was picked in the second round (60th overall) in the 2011 NBA draft, for responding. She also said he taught her to embrace the slow grind.
“It’s a marathon!!!,” Thomas tweeted. “I’m right wit (sic) you, let’s get it.”
Last season, Gillespie led Florida State in scoring (15.6), rebounding (8.7) and field-goals made (195). Thee 6-2 power forward a tenacious rebound and a solid pick-and-pop option.
In reality, it’ll be difficult for Gillespie to make the Sky. There’s only one open roster spot heading into training camp, which has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gillespie will be primarily competing against the Sky’s first-round pick, Ruthy Hebard, who was one of the most efficient shooters in college basketball last season.
Still, Gillespie could follow a similar path to the WNBA as three-time All-Star Allie Quigley, who developed her game in Europe for five years before she thrived with the Sky.