Texas Longhorns' Charli Collier, projected top pick, declares for WNBA draft

Texas Longhorns junior Charli Collier declared for the 2021 WNBA draft on Sunday. Collier is the projected No. 1 pick by the Dallas Wings in ESPN's mock draft.

Collier, a 6-foot-5 center/forward, is averaging 21 points and 12.2 rebounds this season for the Longhorns (16-8). She is draft-eligible as a junior because she turns 22 this calendar year, in September.

"After long consideration, thought and prayer, I've decided to fulfill my lifelong dream and declare for the 2021 WNBA draft," she told ESPN's Holly Rowe. "I feel like it's just time for me to fulfill the next step in my life. You know, it's God's plan. I'm ready."

She also announced her intentions via a statement on social media.

If Collier is chosen first, she would be the first WNBA No. 1 pick from Texas, and just the second from the Big 12 conference, following Baylor center Brittney Griner in 2013 by the Phoenix Mercury.

Collier was ranked No. 2 by ESPN HoopGurlz for the prep class of 2018, behind UConn guard Christyn Williams. Collier averaged 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds her freshman season at Texas, and 13.1 points and 10.5 rebounds as a sophomore.

She has blossomed this season under new Longhorns coach Vic Schaefer, who has worked with Collier specifically on her defense. An explosive offensive performance in the second game of the season against North Texas -- a career-high 44 points -- made it clear this would be a statement season for Collier.

She has 17 double-doubles, and has scored in double figures in all but two games this season. She is shooting 51.5% from the field and 80.8% from the foul line. While she's known for her powerful inside game, Collier also can shoot the 3-pointer -- she has made 44 treys in her career.

Dallas finished 8-14 in the WNBA last season and missed the playoffs. The Wings have four first-round picks in the 2021 draft: Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 7, plus the first pick of the second round (No. 13). Dallas had three first-round picks in 2020, and took forwards Satou Sabally (Oregon) and Bella Alarie (Princeton), and point guard Tyasha Harris (South Carolina).

Dallas recently waived veteran center Astou Ndour, so Collier should fit a need for the Wings, who last season were 11th of 12 teams in the league in field goal percentage (41.5) and 10th in rebounding average (32.7 RPG).

Collier is from Mont Belvieu, Texas, about 35 miles east of Houston. She said she would look forward to the opportunity to stay in Texas, should the Wings draft her.

"That'd be a blessing," Collier told Rowe. "It would be better for my mom, travel-wise. But I'll be grateful for any team that picks me up."

She told Rowe that her late father, Elliott Collier, always told her she would be No. 1 someday.

"We talked a lot about it," Charli Collier said. "And so I carry on that legacy and always think like that. No. 1 in everything."