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Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark explains decision to enter WNBA draft: ‘Something I’m ready for’

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America/TNS

NEW YORK — Going pro is one shot Caitlin Clark couldn’t pass up.

Iowa’s record-setting superstar explained why she decided to forgo a fifth collegiate season and declare for the 2024 WNBA draft — a choice she announced last week before her final home game.

“I think it’s something I’m ready for, and that’s why I decided to make this move,” Clark told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Thursday.

“I’m just kind of ready for the next chapter and a new challenge in my life, but I think the reason I decided to announce it when I did was just to have that closure, especially ahead of Senior Night.”

Clark will leave Iowa as the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer after breaking “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s 54-year record Sunday. Earlier this season, Clark passed Kelsey Plum for the NCAA women’s scoring crown, and also passed Lynette Woodard as the top scorer in all of major-college women’s basketball.

The 22-year-old Clark was eligible for a fifth year at Iowa due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 waiver for the 2020-2021 season. She’s widely expected to go first overall to the Indiana Fever in the April 15 draft.

“I think there’s pros and cons to both sides, and that’s what made the decision so difficult,” Clark said. “It was almost a win-win, but at the same time, a lose-lose, because I was giving up something.”

Clark’s NIL valuation of $3.1 million ranks fourth among NCAA athletes, according to the recruiting website On3, and greatly exceeds what she’s in line to earn as a rookie next season. After declaring for the draft, Clark signed an endorsement deal with Gainbridge, the company that sponsors the Fever’s home arena, Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The draft is set to take place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, with fans in attendance for the first time since 2016. Before then, Clark hopes to win her first national championship after Iowa came up short in last year’s final against LSU.

Clark’s 32.3 points and 8.7 assists per game this season both lead the country.