With the first pick of the third round, Schaquilla Nunn became the first Fayette County alumna drafted into the WNBA.
Nunn, who graduated from Fayette County High School in 2012, was picked by the San Antonio Stars in the WNBA Draft on Thursday, April 13. She played at Winthrop from 2012-2015 before playing for Tennessee as a graduate transfer this past season.
The 6-foot-3 center always had the measurables to play professionally, but her high school coach John Strickland said it was her passion for the game that got her to where she is today.
“I’ve never seen someone improve as much as Shaquilla over the years,” Strickland said.
While many basketball players who play professionally start from a young age, Nunn first learned the game her freshman year of high school. Her desire to be the best, both on and off the court, allowed her to pile up achievements in athletics and academics after high school was over.
At Winthrop, Nunn earned All-Big South First Team honors and was Big South Player of the Year her junior year. She missed the 2015-16 season with a broken foot and transferred to Tennessee, but not before earning her degree in business with a concentration in finance.
At Tennessee, she pursued a master’s degree in human resource management. Her willingness to further her education didn’t surprise Strickland. He said in high school, Nunn prioritized academics as reflected in her GPA, which hovered around a 4.0.
At Tennessee, Nunn recorded two double-doubles, including 14 points and 15 rebounds in an NCAA Tournament win over Dayton. She was a reserve post player, but made enough of a difference off the bench to get noticed by the WNBA.
“Schaquilla Nunn gives us depth and athleticism in our post rotation,” Stars general manager Ruth Riley said in a press release. “She is an aggressive rebounder and provides a physical presence to the paint.”
Nunn was one of two Tennessee players drafted. Her teammate, Jordan Reynolds, was taken in the second round by the Atlanta Dream. Nunn joins fellow Stars draft pick Kelsey Plum, the Washington player who broke the NCAA all-time leading scoring record and was promptly drafted No. 1 overall.
Strickland’s team around Nunn had plenty of talented players, some of whom are playing overseas. Strickland said since Nunn is the first WNBA player from the county, her perseverance will be a good example for athletes at Fayette County High School hoping to be professionals at their sport someday.
On Friday, the day after the draft, Strickland talked to his track team about the key ingredient Nunn possessed which could give any young athlete the opportunity to reach the position Nunn now finds herself in.
“Her passion made it achievable,” Strickland said.