Iowa’s Clark ‘to trust my gut’ on WNBA decision

IOWA CITY — Iowa Hawkeyes senior guard Caitlin Clark knows she will have a big decision to make when this season ends. The National Player of the Year last season in women’s basketball, Clark said Wednesday at Iowa media day that she will approach this season trying to enjoy everything as if it’s her last go-round with the Hawkeyes.

But she doesn’t know if it is or not.

Clark’s class is the last eligible for the COVID-19 waiver enacted in 2020-21, when she was a freshman, so she could return for a fifth season in 2024-25.

“I’m going to know when I need to know,” said Clark, who led the Hawkeyes to the national championship game last season, where they fell to the LSU Tigers. “I think it’s very similar to my college decision. It’s like I’m in the recruiting process again.”

“It’s really not something I think about every day or let weigh on me. I’m focused on helping this team be the best they can be. The biggest thing is I’m just going to trust my gut. I’m not going to do a lot of research on what’s better. I’m going to trust my gut and go with that.”

Clark, who turns 22 in February and is both an athletic and academic All-American, could declare for the draft after playing four years. She is No. 1 in ESPN’s most recent 2024 mock draft, which slots the first four teams by lottery percentage — the Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury, Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm — since the order hasn’t been determined yet.

Clark, who was second in Division I in scoring average (27.8 PPG) and first in assists (8.6) and 3-pointers (140) last season, would be a boost to any of those teams. Players have 48 hours after their last game of the season to inform the WNBA of their decision on the draft.

The 6-foot guard is a native of West Des Moines, Iowa, and is immensely popular in her home state. She has multiple NIL deals, although it’s likely her endorsements will follow her into the WNBA.

The Hawkeyes are No. 6 in ESPN’s most recent Top-25 projection and return starting guards Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin along with Clark. But they lost primary inside threats Monika Czinano and McKenna Warnock.

Clark will have a lot on her shoulders, but said she’s looking forward to it.

“Time goes so fast, and being able to soak in every single second, I think that’s how I’m viewing this,” Clark said. “A lot of these moments are going to be some of the best moments of my life.

“In recruiting, I knew there were a lot of good options, but in my heart I wanted to be here. I think it’s going to be the same when I make the decision to stay here or leave.”

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