The 2017 NBA and WNBA drafts saw a handful of former University of South Carolina basketball standouts selected to compete at the next level.
With 2017 came the first Gamecock drafted to the NBA in more than a decade as well as a new USC record for highest draft spot by a Gamecock to the WNBA. The current total of Gamecocks in the NBA and WNBA is now six — up from just one a year ago.
Following a remarkable senior campaign that included “SEC Player of the Year” honors and a trip to the Final Four, Thornwell was selected in the second round (48th overall) by the Milwaukee Bucks. Thornwell became the first Gamecocks player drafted to the NBA since 2006. Shortly after, his draft rights were traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Through the first five games of the NBA season, Thornwell has seen limited action, but he did manage to post an impressive eight points in seven minutes during a matchup against the Phoenix Suns.
The Chicago Sky selected the former South Carolina center second overall in April, officially making Coates the highest-drafted Gamecock in WNBA history. Soon after the draft, she underwent an ankle surgery for the injury that took her out of the Gamecocks’ title run just one month earlier. Although the Sky were hopeful Coates would only miss a portion of their schedule, she would end up missing her entire rookie season.
The most decorated player in South Carolina women’s basketball program history is the only returner to this list. In her second season with the Indiana Fever, Mitchell posted impressive game averages through the first 27 matches of the season: 10.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals. Her season came to an early close in August after she suffered a knee injury during practice. Mitchell is expected to return for the 2018 season.
After deciding to forgo her senior season and enter the WNBA draft, Gray was selected fourth overall by the Dallas Wings. Her immediate impact was evident, as she led all rookies with 1.53 steals per game and 27.2 minutes per game. Her averages of 13 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game ranked second among all rookies. Gray was named the WNBA “Rookie of the Year" in September, making her the first former Gamecock to accomplish such a feat.
Selected at No. 10 overall in the April draft, Davis reunited with her former USC teammate Gray on the Dallas Wings. She posted 6.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and one assist per game throughout her first season, despite averaging a mere 15.5 minutes per game. Davis’ best offensive outing came on July 16, 2017, when she scored 23 points against the Chicago Sky. Her performance in 2017 was enough to earn a spot alongside Allisha Gray as one of five rookies named to the WNBA’s All-Rookie Team.
After going undrafted in both rounds of the NBA draft, Dozier signed a 2017 NBA Summer League contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. By August, Dozier would ink an official deal with the Dallas Mavericks only to be released a few months later. Currently, he is under contract with a two-way deal between the Oklahoma City Thunder and their NBA G League affiliate — the Oklahoma City Blue. Dozier has yet to see action in the pros but has the chance to play regularly during the Oklahoma City Blue's regular season, which kicked off Nov. 3.