Gillespie to sit out 2020 WNBA season

By Steve Stone

Florida State women’s basketball alumna Kiah Gillespie has opted to sit out the 2020 WNBA season, she announced last Tuesday on her Instagram account.

The two-time All-American was selected in the third round by the Chicago Sky on April 17. With her decision, the Sky retain her rights which would allow her to come back in 2021 and compete for a spot during what would hopefully be a normalized training camp.

The Coronavirus pandemic has made many WNBA rookies face an uphill climb in playing for their squads, especially when final rosters had to be trimmed down by last Tuesday. With no in-person workouts being conducted, the process was far different this year.

FSU alum Kiah Gillespie announced on social media that would sit out the 2020 season after being drafted in the third round by the Chicago Sky.
Photo courtesy NCAA

“If all goes as planned in 2021, she has the opportunity to come into training camp and really be comfortable,” general manager James Wade told the Chicago Sun-Times. “What it allows us to do is have the rights to a player who potentially down the road can be an effective player.”

The unique situation will allow Gillespie to develop her game overseas, assuming leagues around the world can eventually return to normal. The gap year from the WNBA allows her to hone in on her skills in other competitive leagues across the world before showing up to training camp in what would likely be May 2021.

With a full year of overseas basketball under her belt, the Sky can also assess her game better at a higher level next year.

“It’s really tough,” Wade added in an interview with the Sun-Times. “You always want to give the players an opportunity to show themselves to maybe magnify the strengths that you thought you saw and minimize the weakness that you thought you saw on video or scouting them. So it’s a little unfair in that regard but … there’s bigger things going on and you just can’t get overwhelmed with thinking about what’s unfair or not.”

Gillespie enjoyed an outstanding two-year career with FSU from 2018-20. She compiled 25 double-doubles, tied for the second-fastest Seminole ever to reach 1,000 points (64 games) and became the third Seminole to record multiple All-ACC First Team selections in her career.

Her selection in the WNBA Draft marked the fifth straight year a Seminole was chosen at the professional level. She became the 16th FSU player drafted as well.