The Mystics held their annual draft day party today at the Greene Turtle, the first time the event was held at this location. It's a sports bar, so there were TVs everywhere, and the place was festooned with Mystics balloons.
Plenty of fans arrived for the start of the party around noon, giving us all lots of time to have a little lunch, and, most important, to speculate and debate endlessly about who was likely to be picked by whom.
Bernice Mosby and Gillian Goring, both still recovering from off-season surgery, were on hand to welcome the fans, and wonder with us who their new teammates would be.
About a half hour before the draft got underway at 1PM, GM Linda Hargrove came over from the war room in the Verizon Center to address the crowd. After telling us very clearly that the Mystics would be using their first round pick to obtain the player who they thought would "best help the Mystics, now and in the future," and that this might not necessarily be "the person who would be the most popular," most of us believed that Linda was lowering expectations for the many Maryland/Mystics fans in the house (including the BasketCases). Really, pretty much everyone was certain that Linda was telling us that we could forget about Lang or Harp being chosen. Not because we didn't think either of them at the 6 pick would in fact be the person who could best help the Mystics, but the way Linda had seemed to eliminate the "popularity" of the pick really had most of us dead certain that the Mystics would not be picking a Terp.
So there was a good deal of gloom and doom until, about one minute before Donna O stepped to the podium to announce the Mystics' pick to the world, Bernice Mosby -- relaying word from the war room -- announced the pick to the fans at the party. When she said the Mystics were picking Crystal Langhorne, huge cheers of joy erupted, and continued long past the official announcement on TV. We hope that Lang is as happy to be a Mystic as the Mystics fans are to have her remain in D.C.
Not long after, when Sacramento selected Harp with the 10th overall pick, there were more loud cheers. The Monarchs are a terrific franchise, one of the BasketCases' favorites. Great players, great fans, and very supportive owners. It should be a wonderful place for Harp to be. (Apparently, Coach B agrees.) We're just sad that she'll be so far away! (Harp's already getting great press in her new home town. Debbie Arrington of the Sacramento Bee has paid Harp the great and well-deserved compliment of saying that she has "many of the same qualities" as former Monarchs superstar Yolanda Griffith, who recently signed with the Seattle Storm.)
We can't wait to see Lang in Mystics blue this summer. And for those of you who haven't yet circled the date on your calendars, the Monarchs play here in D.C. on June 11. But Lang and Harp will play each other before then, in a pre-season game on May 5 between the Mystics and the Monarchs that will in fact take place in Tampa. Road trip??
The Mystics used their second round pick (the 20th overall) to select Lindsey Pluimer, a forward from UCLA (and a former teammate of Mystics' Diva Nikki Blue), and their third round pick (the 34th overall) to acquire Krystal Vaughn, a forward from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Three schools had two players drafted today in the top ten, and Maryland was one of them. That's a pretty big deal. Congrats to Lang and Harp and to the entire Maryland program. And good luck to the Mystics!! Lang has already said, ""I'm going to try to help this team win a championship."
Photo credits: DC BasketCases