Veronica Burton is ready to earn her spot on Dallas Wings’ deep roster
The Wings’ training-camp roster sits at 18 players. Coach Vickie Johnson will have to cut it down to 12 before the season starts.
Veronica Burton took a phone call after hearing that the Dallas Wings had selected her with the seventh pick in the 2022 WNBA Draft.
As part of a promotional aspect of the event, the Northwestern guard picked up an orange phone that the league had set up for all the picks, who heard Tom Brady’s voice on the other end.
“Congrats to you,” Brady said. “Just know I’m always cheering you from afar, and I wish you the best of luck.”
Burton, who is from the Boston area, hung up the phone and gleamed, taking in Brady’s call and the events that preceded it.
“That was Tom Brady, the GOAT,” Burton said. “That means more than anything. He’s the best.”
Burton is a three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, led the NCAA in steals last year, was eighth in the country in assist percentage and averaged 17 points, five rebounds and five assists per game in her senior season. She’s joining Vickie Johnson’s young Wings roster, which has two of the league’s top guards in Arike Ogunbowale and Allisha Gray.
Burton said she connected with Johnson and team president Greg Bibb during her pre-draft meeting. Johnson stressed how valuable a defensive-minded player like Burton would be on the team.
“Coach Johnson had talked about wanting another defender that can stop ballhandlers and keep people out of the paint,” Burton said. “If that’s what she needs, that’s what I’m going to give her.”
The seventh pick in the draft originally belonged to Sky coach/general manager James Wade. After he traded it to the Indiana Fever as part of a three-team deal that sent Diamond DeShields to the Phoenix Mercury and Julie Allemand to the Sky, the Fever packaged it in a trade to the Wings that also included Teaira McCowan.
After Burton’s name was called, her new teammates shared their support on social media.
“I like her already,” Ogunbowale tweeted in response to Burton saying she would begin studying Wings film when she left the draft. Marina Mabrey shared the same sentiment as Ogunbowale.
Burton arrived in Dallas on Thursday; training camp opens Sunday. The Wings’ roster is at 18 players. Johnson will have to cut it to 12 before the season starts.
The Wings, who finished last season eighth in the league in defensive rating, were eliminated by the Sky in the first single-elimination playoff game. Burton will immediately help the team’s defense-first identity. She was only the second player in Big Ten history to win three consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards.
The Wings are deep at guard. Ogunbowale, who finished fifth in the league in points per game, signed a contract extension in February. Young guards Chelsea Dungee and Tyasha Harris might be the most susceptible to being waived in camp. Dungee averaged just 4.6 minutes per game last year for the Wings.
“That chip on my shoulder is what got me here,” Burton said. “I didn’t have many offers [coming out of high school]. Obviously, I went to the right place at Northwestern. I hope it’s the same with Dallas. It really comes down to the place, the fit and my mindset. My mindset certainly hasn’t changed.”