Texas A&M star Chennedy Carter declares for WNBA draft

Texas A&M junior guard Chennedy Carter announced Sunday that she is declaring for next month's WNBA draft.

Carter was long considered a strong candidate for the 2020 draft, for which she is eligible because she turns 22 this calendar year. She's projected to go No. 4 overall to the Atlanta Dream in the latest ESPN mock draft.

The 5-foot-7 Carter, from Mansfield, Texas, was a dynamic scorer for the Aggies, averaging 21.3 points per game this season despite missing seven games due to an ankle injury. She finishes her Texas A&M career with 1,983 points, second in program history -- six points behind the 1,989 points of Courtney Walker (2012-16). Carter holds the program record for most games with at least 20 points (62) and at least 30 points (12).

Carter would become the 14th A&M player to be drafted into the WNBA, and if she goes in the top four, she will be the highest draft pick in program history.

The draft is still scheduled for April 17, but there will be no gathering for it, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce the picks live on ESPN, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Draftees will participate remotely. The WNBA season was originally scheduled to start May 15, but due to the pandemic, the start date is not set yet.

"It saddens me that I was not able to chase a national championship with my teammates this year due to circumstances beyond our control," Carter said in a statement. "Although a difficult decision, I am looking forward to pursuing my childhood dream of playing in the WNBA.

"Thank you to my family for always pushing me and for always being in my corner. To my coaches, teammates and every individual who touches the women's basketball program, thank you all for an unforgettable three years."

Texas A&M finished 22-8 overall this season, and 10-6 in the SEC. The Aggies fell in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament to Arkansas. In Carter's career, the Aggies advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in her freshman and sophomore seasons, losing to Notre Dame both years.

She was consensus national freshman of the year in 2018, and she scored a program-record 46 points that season in a game against Southern Cal on Dec. 15, 2017.

Carter joins two other draft-eligible juniors -- Oregon's Satou Sabally and UConn's Megan Walker -- in forgoing her final season of college eligibility.

"We support Chennedy in this decision," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said. "We believe she will be chosen high in the first round of the WNBA draft, and will represent Texas A&M, her teammates, coaches and family in a way that will make everyone proud.

"The decision to go a year before she graduates is the same as a player making a choice to go to the NFL, NBA or any other pro league. The timing has to be right, and we believe the timing is right for Chennedy to move her game to that next level."