Rae Burrell of Liberty High School prepares for WNBA draft

At 1st look, previous Liberty Significant standout Rae Burrell seems like she was destined to play in the WNBA.

“She’s a large guard that can rating. She can shoot the 3. She knows how to win,” Aces president Nikki Fargas claimed. “That’s a recipe for success.”

Burrell has invested the earlier four years cultivating her video game at Tennessee, escalating into a prospective to start with-round decide on in Monday’s WNBA draft. Just one of 12 athletes invited to attend the celebration, s.he has a chance to develop into the to start with Las Vegas native to perform in the WNBA considering that previous UNLV star Sequoia Holmes past appeared in 2018.

A 6-foot-1-inch guard, Burrell’s perseverance, struggle and dedication are the qualities which have taken her to the threshold of the league.

“I come to feel like I have often been an underdog,” she reported.

Chad Kapanui, Burrell’s significant faculty coach, mentioned several leading college or university coaches started achieving out to him about other regional potential clients whilst she was in his software, specifically right after Burrell’s sturdy performances on the AAU circuit. The desire was far more evidence of Las Vegas’ expanding track record for women’s basketball, with Burrell aiding pave the way.

“For the longest time, kids out of Vegas weren’t seriously appeared at,” Burrell reported.

A hugely touted soccer participant while escalating up in Las Vegas, Burrell at first believed her athletic upcoming was on the pitch, not the court docket.

John Burrell, her father, remembers observing her seemingly normal capability with awe. Though she wasn’t the most specialized player, she scored and moved about the area with simplicity. Her willpower confirmed up early far too.

When she was 10, Rae endured an damage that prevented her from enjoying with her dominant proper foot. So she used hrs training with her remaining, demonstrating a amount of discipline her father never imagined a baby her age could possess.

Basketball was a comparable practical experience. Watching her play with all-boys groups when she was in third grade, John was stunned during a neighborhood tournament when she arrived up with a steal, took a dribble and produced a 3-pointer in a number of seconds.

“The variety, the accuracy, the capability not to journey — I signify, it’s not like this was a tiny lady that performed all the time,” he reported.

By the time Burrell was a sophomore at Foothill, she resolved basketball was her true calling, partly simply because she learned women’s basketball presented full-journey scholarships to college or university.

Her renewed desire and some training from previous Southern California star Desmon Farmer commenced to get her recognized by college or university programs. So by the time she transferred from Foothill to Liberty for her senior year, she nonetheless hadn’t dedicated.

At Liberty, Burrell teamed with Dre’Una Edwards to participate in for Kapanui. Although they did not acquire a point out championship, Kapanui thinks Burrell aided lay the basis for Liberty basketball’s emergence.

She lastly fully commited to Tennessee halfway through her senior time. She required to be portion of the school’s legendary women’s basketball software, but arrived with lots to verify as the only player not named to the McDonald’s All-American recreation in Holly Warlick’s 2018 recruiting course.

She fought her way into the rotation nevertheless, enjoying in every single recreation her freshman period. However, Warlick was fired following the year, and the Las Vegas native had to establish herself once again, this time to new Tennessee coach Kellie Harper.

Her perseverance paid out off. Burrell grew to become the team’s very first option off the bench just before at some point having more than as a starter in her closing 9 video games of her sophomore season. She even further set up herself as a junior. Coming into her senior season, she seemed like a lock for the top rated of the draft.

But a knee damage derailed her senior marketing campaign. She skipped 12 video games, but commenced to obtain her rhythm near the close of the year. She played 37 minutes and scored 22 factors in Tennessee’s 76-64 Sweet 16 decline to Louisville.

Burrell experienced the choice to return making use of the more calendar year of eligibility granted by the NCAA mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but made the decision now was the correct time to flip expert.

There’s a possibility Burrell’s following action will guide her back again residence. Her damage has made her standing on draft boards unsure, so it is possible she will be offered when the Aces decide on at No. 8 or No. 11. The Tennessee star admitted symbolizing Las Vegas would be an outstanding working experience.

“That would be truly particular,” she said.

Speak to reporter Andy Yamashita at [email protected]. Abide by @ANYamashita on Twitter.