Zellous set to make Pitt history

By Emily Steiner

Basketball season is over for Pitt, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the honors have… Basketball season is over for Pitt, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the honors have stopped pouring in.

Just a week after being named the first All-American from Pitt’s women’s basketball team, senior Shavonte Zellous is one of 15 top women’s basketball prospects invited to attend the WNBA Draft on Thursday in Secaucus, N.J.

She will be the first player drafted into the WNBA from Pitt.

The last Pitt player to be signed with a team in the WNBA was Marcedes Walker, who graduated last year and was an undrafted free agent. She played two games with the Houston Comets.

‘This is something you always dream about, and it came true,’ said Zellous. ‘Thanks to my coaches and teammates for always believing in me.’

The list of other top prospects is highlighted by national champion Connecticut’s Renee Montgomery, Oklahoma’s Courtney and Ashley Paris, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman from Maryland and Angel McCoughtry from Louisville.

In a wnba.com mock draft, editor Brian Martin placed Zellous as the eighth overall pick, going to the New York Liberty. In his reasoning, Martin stated, ‘I have them grabbing Zellous in this spot to add to the young, deep core of talent in New York. Zellous is a flat out scorer and would compliment sophomore-to-be Essence Carson at the shooting guard.’

Shavonte, however, is just going to wait until her name is called before she starts making those kinds of predictions.

‘I don’t pay attention,’ said Shavonte when asked about mock drafts. ‘I’d just rather not know. I know for a fact that I’m going first round, but I’m just ready to play and meet my new teammates.’

In her time at Pitt, Zellous became the first Pitt player in history, man or woman, to score 700 points in a single season and the first to score more than600 points in three separate seasons. She averaged 22.4 points per game this season and led the Panthers to a 25-win season, a record for the team.

Additionally, she is the first Pitt player to make the All-Big East first team three times, and she and fellow senior Xenia Stewart have combined to be the most successful senior class to date with a 95-35 record.

But she doesn’t want any of this to end.

‘I want to make an impact {in the WNBA] right away and do the same as I’ve done for Pitt,’ said Zellous. ‘I don’t just want to be a rookie that they drafted.’

Zellous has a few connections in the WNBA already — she grew up in the same Florida neighborhood as Los Angeles Sparks’ center Vanessa Hayden-Johnson and Marynell Meadors, head coach of the Atlanta Dream, who served as an assistant coach at Pitt during Zellous’s freshman year.

Though she doesn’t know her, Zellous says that she has always looked up to and modeled her game off Deanna Nolan, a guard and forward for the Detroit Shock, and would love to meet or play alongside her.

Regardless of her connections and influences, Zellous will be happy after Thursday.

‘It doesn’t matter to me where I end up, though,’ said Zellous. ‘I just want to play the game I love.’

Coverage of the draft will begin at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.