Boston to host 2006 WNBA draft, pre-draft camp

Updated: February 2, 2006, 9:14 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- The WNBA will hold its annual draft in Boston this year, marking the first time in the league's 10-year history the event will be held outside New Jersey.

The draft will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on April 5, the day after the women's college basketball championship game is play at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden.

In addition, coaches and general managers will evaluate the skills of about 40 top college seniors at the league's annual pre-draft camp April 3 at Emmanuel College in the city's Fenway section.

"With our pre-draft camp in town and with our draft taking place less than 24 hours after an NCAA national champion is crowned, Boston will be the Mecca of women's basketball during the first week of April," WNBA president Donna Orender said Wednesday.

The WNBA has held each of its previous drafts at the NBA's television studio in Seacaucus, N.J. Prior pre-draft camps also were conducted in the metropolitan New York area and, for a time, in Chicago.

Orender said during a conference call that the league would consider holding the draft and camp each year in the city that hosts the women's Final Four to draw greater attention to the draft.

But she said she wanted "to reserve the right make an evaluation" annually to see if that practice makes sense.

The first overall selection in this year's draft goes to the Minnesota Lynx, with the Phoenix Mercury and Charlotte Sting holding the second and third selections.

Top prospects in this year's draft include LSU forward Seimone Augustus, Baylor forward Sophia Young, Duke guard/forward Monique Currie and Rutgers guard Cappie Pondexter.

The WNBA's 10th season tips off May 20. Boston is not among the cities with one of the WNBA's 14 franchises, and the only New England franchise is the Connecticut Sun.

Orender said the WNBA hopes to have a Boston franchise eventually, though she had no specific details about if or when that could happen.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press