When the day of the WNBA draft came and left, Ka-Deidre Simmons’ name wasn’t called. Seton Hall basketball fans were surprised to see that the MBWA Division I Women’s Player of the Year wasn’t picked by a team. After taking the time to discuss different playing possibilities with her agent and coaches, Simmons has agreed to sign with the Connecticut Sun.
Although she is signed with the team, she still has to go through training and prove that she can make the team since she wasn’t directly drafted. “Nobody’s safe, if I go out there and play my hardest, they’ll see that it’s hard to deny talent,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to work as hard as possible and hopefully they’ll be able to give me a chance over the big names that they have on the team.”
A graduate student, Simmons’ last year at the Hall was quite impressive. She helped lead her team all the way to a 28-6 overall record, Big East regular season championship, and a bid to the NCAA tournament. After being here for five years, Simmons said that she’ll miss playing in Walsh gym. “Playing in front of the fans here is what I’m going to miss the most and getting the support from all the fans,” she said. “People would come up to me after games all the time to talk to me and it was great.”
Simmons will be reunited with the former 2010-2013 Pirates head coach, Anne Donovan, who is the head coach of the Sun. “She helped me with the drafting and signing process and gave me good advice throughout,” she said. “She’s like my second mom, I really look up to her. She took me under her wing since I met her.”
Making the transition from the NCAA to the world of professional sports typically isn’t an easy process for any athlete. Workouts get harder, schedules become more demanding, and the stakes are higher compared to playing in college. “The biggest challenge will be going up against all these big names. Even if I don’t make the team this year it’s good to get my feet wet, but I’m confident and I know that no one can out-work me,” Simmons said.
Seton Hall basketball has been a part of Simmons life for the last five years, and improving the reputation of the program is something she’s wanted to do since deciding to come to Seton Hall. “I knew that the program was struggling and I knew that I could impact it in some way, and that’s what I did,” she said. Helping take her team to a losing record to the WNIT, and then the NCAA just goes to show the impact she had in her time here at the Hall.
As Simmons will make this journey toward playing in the WNBA, she will always be proud of the work she put into Seton Hall basketball. “The fact that I’m able to go to Connecticut and represent Seton Hall in a positive way goes to show that Seton Hall basketball is relevant again and that’s just something I want for the program.”
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill