An opportunity four years in the making

4/19/2006 - WNBA Temple Owls

(Editor's note: Temple's Candice Dupree, who recently wrapped up her college eligibility, was the sixth overall pick in the WNBA draft. She will share the story of her transition to pro basketball with ESPN.com throughout her rookie season.)

April 5, 2006, is a day that I always will remember. For most of my peers, the WNBA was their dream. Everyone knew Seimone Augustus would be there. Cappie Pondexter had the league's logo tattooed on her arm in high school.

Me? I was just a former volleyball player who flew under the radar in high school and played basketball because it was something else that I could do. But my Temple family saw something in me. They saw my potential before I even realized it. All they wanted me to do was see it for myself. After a season-ending injury my freshman year, I dedicated myself to developing into the player who was chosen as the first-ever draft pick to the Chicago Sky.

When I heard my name called, I understood what the past four years were for. I understood why I was pushed so hard to get better each day. I was encouraged to believe that I could be the best, if I wanted to be. It meant so much to me to be able to share that moment with my family, coaches, and friends.

Hopefully, you got a chance to learn about me through my diary during this past college season. I enjoyed sharing my experiences because it allowed me to reflect on what I had done and appreciate what this game has done for me. Basketball has been very good to me the past four years. I learned that as long as I treat the game right, I will be rewarded. I guess I've done the game some justice because I've received more accolades and honors than I could have ever imagined over the course of my career.

I went to Temple to play basketball for four years and earn my degree in kinesiology. But after that, it was a toss up. I thought I'd end up going back home to Tampa, Fla., and put my degree to use. Professional basketball never crossed my mind. Not because I didn't think I could play professionally, but because that just wasn't something I ever thought about. I didn't even watch basketball, let alone the WNBA!

Playing in the WNBA will be a fresh start for me. I've learned a lot about this game, playing in college. And there is so much more that I'm ready to learn as a professional. I think the biggest adjustment will be the amount of free time that I will have. No class. No study hall. Just basketball. I'm so used to having my days structured, so it will be interesting to see how that goes.

Chicago also is a new city for me. I've heard all good things about it, especially during the summer, and I look forward to playing basketball for the Sky. I know we are going to work hard to be competitive in this league and bring championship basketball back to this city.

Be sure to check back in with me all season so you can keep up with me and the Sky! Take care.

-- Candice