Indiana Fever Draft Ohio State’s Celeste Taylor with 15th Pick in 2024 WNBA Draft

By Dan Hope on April 15, 2024 at 8:59 pm
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert and Celeste Taylor
Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State has two selections in the WNBA draft for the first time in six years.

Celeste Taylor became the second Buckeye selected in this year’s draft, joining No. 5 overall pick Jacy Sheldon, when the Indiana Fever drafted Taylor with the No. 15 overall pick in the second round.

It’s only the third time Ohio State has had two players selected in the same WNBA draft. It’s the first time since 2018, when the Fever drafted both Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Mavunga.

Ohio State’s All-Time WNBA Draft Picks
Year Round Pick Team Player
2024 1 5 Dallas Wings Jacy Sheldon
2024 2 15 Indiana Fever Celeste Taylor
2023 2 13 Indiana Fever Taylor Mikesell
2018 1 2 Indiana Fever Kelsey Mitchell
2018 2 14 Indiana Fever Stephanie Mavunga
2017 2 13 Connecticut Sun Shayla Cooper
2016 2 24 New York Liberty Ameryst Alston
2013 1 4 Washington Mystics Tayler Hill
2012 1 6 Phoenix Mercury Samantha Prahalis
2011 1 5 Los Angeles Sparks Jantel Lavender
2008 3 41 Phoenix Mercury Marscilla Packer
2007 1 2 San Antonio Silver Stars Jessica Davenport
2007 3 33 Seattle Storm Brandie Hoskins
2006 2 28 Connecticut Sun Debbie Merrill
2003 2 13 Connecticut Sun Courtney Coleman
2002 4 55 Orlando Miracle Tomeka Brown
2001 3 41 Washington Mystics Jamie Lewis
1999 Player Allocation   Minnesota Lynx Katie Smith
1998 Expansion Draft 8 Cleveland Rockers Adrienne Johnson

Taylor will join Mitchell on the roster of the Fever, who are now responsible for four of Ohio State’s last five WNBA draft selections.

“I ended up finishing my college career there, and now I get to play with a Buckeye,” Taylor said after the draft of joining Mitchell in Indiana. “I think that's also going to give me some comfortability. She's a great player and so much I can learn from her. I'm just ready to go in there to work and continue to learn.”

She’ll join a backcourt that will also include former Iowa superstar Caitlin Clark, who the Fever selected with the draft’s No. 1 overall pick.

“I played with Caitlin when I was (playing for Team USA) for a couple years,” Taylor said. “Just having the opportunity to play with her again, it's going to be amazing. She's done so much for the women's game, and I know she has so much more to give to everyone.”

Taylor was at Ohio State for just one year after two years at Texas and another two years at Duke, but she bolstered her draft stock in her lone season as a Buckeye. Taylor earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors and was a finalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award as she led the Big Ten with 2.5 steals per game while also averaging 10.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and a career-high 3.4 assists per contests.

Taylor was a double-digit scorer in each of her final four collegiate seasons, averaging 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and two steals per game for her collegiate career as a whole. She earned ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-ACC honors in her second season at Duke and was a second-team All-Big Ten honoree in her lone season as a Buckeye.

While her collegiate career ended with a loss to her former team in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Taylor is glad she chose to finish her career at Ohio State, believing her season as a Buckeye provided valuable experience that will help her at the next level.

“For me, it was kind of coming into a system where there is a lot of experience. And just finding my own way to impact the program, the people around me, and then just finding my place through impacting the game. And so I think for that purpose solely, I'm so happy that I came to Ohio State because I get that prior experience before going into the draft,” Taylor said last week.

Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff believes Taylor’s offensive growth in her season as a Buckeye, in which she shot a career-high 40.9% from the field, helped elevate her WNBA draft stock.

“Obviously, she's got a reputation as an incredible defender and well-deserved and well-earned. So people are really excited about what she can do at that end of the floor,” McGuff said last week. “The feedback heading into the season was just a little more consistent offensive production, and I think, as the season got into January and February, you started to see that from her, so I think she really helped herself.”

As a second-round pick, Taylor will have to compete in training camp over the next few weeks just to earn a roster spot for the 2024 WNBA season, which begins May 14. But Taylor’s defensive prowess is likely to help her stick around in the league, and she’s motivated to carve out a strong career for herself at the highest level.

“They always say the easy part is getting drafted, the hardest part is staying. And so I want to be a player that stays in the league and not just one that makes it for one year or even for a training camp,” Taylor said. “So I think for me, (my focus is on) just coming in and learning the business side, understanding everything that comes with it. It’ll be new for me, it’ll be new for everyone around me, trying to enjoy the moments and just stay with it and stay with my faith and just work hard.”

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