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Gillespie preparing for next step with WNBA draft

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Kiah Gillespie has the confidence to take a jumper from just about anywhere on the court.

The ability to make shots and rebound are what should make the Florida State forward one of the top picks in the 2020 WNBA Draft on Friday (7 p.m. on ESPN). Gillespie has had video interviews with about half of the WNBA’s 12 teams.

“I think that once teams get to talk to me and get to know me they can understand me more as a person,” Gillespie said. “Once they get to know me they understand I’m a really good candidate for their team. They should just give me a chance.”

Gillespie led FSU in points per game (15.6) and rebounds (8.7), accumulating 12 double-doubles. She played perhaps her best basketball in eight games against top 25 opponents, averaging 21 points and 10.3 rebounds while making 52.6 percent of her shots from the floor and 41.9 percent of 3-pointers.

An All-ACC pick in each of her two seasons at FSU following a transfer from Maryland, Gillespie is projected as a late first-round pick in ESPN.com’s mock draft and ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said earlier this week that Gillespie could go early in the second round. The WNBA season was set to start May 15 but has been delayed due to the threat of coronavirus.

While Gillespie is limited right now to running and ball-handling as gyms and parks around Tallahassee have closed, she has focused on running and ball-handling drills. 

Strength and conditioning coach Dave Plettl also has kept in touch, texting workout ideas as she prepares for the draft.

“He has been sending me workouts non-stop,” Gillespie said. “He’s creative. No two workouts are the same. That’s probably the best part. Still having access to him and him still wanting to work with me and make sure I’m still working hard.”

Gillespie is keeping a social distance from everyone but is also looking forward to spreading out at coach Sue Semrau’s house to watch the WNBA draft. ESPN is looking to send equipment so that Gillespie can set up a live stream. And she’s also hopeful that a few teammates can drop in.

“I hope we can be safe at a distance in her home, be able to celebrate together,” Gillespie said. “My teammates are mainly the reason why I am in this position.”

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