One of the head-scratchers of the 2021 WNBA Draft was Arella Guirantes falling to the second round. The two-time All-American out of Rutgers was a projected lottery pick.
The Los Angeles Sparks selected Guirantes at no. 22 overall when the head coach and general manager Derek Fisher said she was the best player on the board by far.
“To have a lottery talent available at 22 was an opportunity that we could not pass. We’ve already gotten the opportunity to connect with her a little bit and we’re ecstatic to see how this plays out on the court.”
Los Angeles used the no. 7 overall pick to select forward Jasmine Walker out of Alabama.
Their next selection at no. 10 was North Carolina guard Stephanie Watts.
Arella talked with the media on Friday in a live press conference to discuss her being drafted by the Sparks and motivation going forward.
Arella Guirantes on falling to the No. 22 pick: "If I needed any more motivation going into this journey, that was it. I think they poked the bear. I'm excited. I've never ran away from a challenge. It's the next part of the story, so whoever has the pen, keep writing."
— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) April 16, 2021
i asked Arella Guirantes what she thought GMs were missing by passing her up until the end of the second round of the draft pic.twitter.com/jEYtjOjaZT
— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) April 16, 2021
Guirantes is known for her competitive drive and killer instinct. She’s a proud Kobe Bryant fan, and will now have a chance to play for one of his former teammates.
At one point during the season, she sported a green hair look which she said was in tribute to the Kim Possible Disney villain, Shego.
— Martin S. (@marsoaries) December 11, 2020
Not unlike her idol, Arella doesn’t have a problem being the bad guy.
Offensively this is a player who can be special because she possesses high-level fundamentals and creativity.
— Martin S. (@marsoaries) March 22, 2021
She won’t be shying away from the moment at the next level as she makes her transition to the WNBA.
While she’ll be fighting for her time, she knows what she can bring to the table offensively.
Killer. Playmaker. Creative.
— Martin S. (@marsoaries) April 16, 2021
The lineage of Rutgers players in the WNBA is well-known. Arella referenced Sparks member and former Scarlet Knight Erica Wheeler who went undrafted only to eventually become the All-Star Game MVP in 2019.
Betnijah Laney, another Scarlet Knight who was drafted in the second round in 2015, was named the league’s Most Improved Player last year.
Arella embraces the notion of channeling that lineage in her own journey. She says it has been since she arrived at Rutgers. She called it being “CViv Tough”, making mention of the Hall of Fame Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer.
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More than anything, Arella Guirantes will be embracing this next challenge in her career the only way she knows how.
And when the time comes those GMs and coaches might be scratching their own heads questioning how they could have possibly passed on her.