Poppens, Prins relish WNBA draft opportunity


Photo: Suhaib Tawil/Iowa State Daily

Amanda Zimmerman, Anna Prins and Chelsea Poppens pose with their jersey numbers during senior night on March 4, 2013, at Hilton Coliseum.

Dylan Montz

In one way or another, the lives of Chelsea Poppens and Anna Prins are about to change forever.

On Monday, April 15, the two outgoing seniors for the ISU women’s basketball team will be anxiously watching the 2013 WNBA Draft, hoping to hear their names called.

For Poppens, it is an experience that can’t arrive soon enough.

“I’m kind of tired of sitting around waiting for the whole thing, kind of feels like I’m jogging in place,” Poppens said. “It’s exciting; Anna and I are both looking forward to the opportunity to be able to try out and get drafted.”

Poppens’ decision to give professional basketball a shot came right before her senior year as a Cyclone. Coming into Iowa State as a freshman in 2009, the opportunity to play professional basketball was a thought that never crossed Poppens’ mind.

The Aplington, Iowa, native didn’t consider herself “super experienced” entering for first season for Iowa State.

“All I had was my work ethic, and I wasn’t great so I didn’t really think about it,” Poppens said. “I was like, ‘I have four more years left’ but now that it’s becoming more of a reality, I’m just enjoying every moment.”

If Poppens is not selected in the WNBA draft this year, she would take that as a chance to travel overseas to play professionally. Having been to Europe before, the opportunity is something Poppens feels she couldn’t pass up.

For Prins, the decision of playing professionally was one that was made much more recently than that of her teammate. After Iowa State’s 65-60 second round loss to Georgia in the NCAA tournament, Prins took roughly one week to decide she would attempt to play in the WNBA.

In the end, Prins felt excited about the opportunity to extend her basketball days a little longer after facing the finality of losing in the NCAA tournament in her final year at Iowa State.

“I’m kind of just looking at it as ‘I’m going to run with it and see where it gets me,'” Prins said. “If I get drafted and maybe I get cut or something in a tryout, it’s just a great opportunity to be considered in that elite group.”

Prins described the process of preparing for the draft as a unique one, especially with Poppens by her side. The two still frequently go to the Sukup Basketball Complex and are surrounded by their coaches and teammates.

While neither has signed with an agent or talked with any teams personally, ISU coach Bill Fennelly has been relaying information to each player about what he is hearing from coaches.

While Poppens hopes her work ethic will get her noticed by teams, Prins has been hearing from Fennelly that she is getting attention for a different reason.

“I think what I could bring to the game [would be] obviously my size, but [also] my ability to play outside,” Prins said. “It isn’t as common for someone my size in the WNBA, so I feel like I could bring that to the game. You don’t see a type of player like that very often.”

When draft day arrives, Prins believes she and Poppens will be in Fennelly’s office watching the draft and seeing together what the future will hold for each. Poppens said the chance her and Prins have is one that is an example of where the program is today.

“I think it’s a great thing for our program,” Poppens said. “It just shows our work ethic, our heart just to have two of us in it.”