Andy Gottesman / Multimedia Editor
Ohio State center Jantel Lavender was drafted fifth overall by the Los Angeles Sparks in Monday’s WNBA Draft, which took place at ESPN Studios in Bristol, Conn.
“I thought she was going to end up in L.A.,” said OSU coach Jim Foster, who was at the draft. “I talked to the L.A. people late last week and I think that they had zeroed in and targeted her.
“They have a need for front court players, so it’s a great opportunity for her.”
Lavender leaves OSU as the all-time leader in points, with 2,818, and as the all-time leading rebounder in Big Ten history with 1,422.
Foster said he’ll miss the production he knew he could get from Lavender on a nightly basis.
“It was easy 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds),” Foster said. “For one player to put those kind of numbers up on a consistent basis just speaks volumes.”
In L.A., Lavender will join Candace Parker, 2008 WNBA MVP and former All-American during her collegiate career at Tennessee.
Lavender and the Sparks begin the preseason next month before opening up the regular season June 2, when they travel to Minnesota to take on the Lynx and their newest star, former Connecticut standout Maya Moore, who was taken first overall in Monday’s draft.