Former Pantherette Selected in First Round of WNBA Draft

Ariel Atkins hasn’t even graduated from the University of Texas yet, but she is already in Washington, D.C. where she is working out with a professional women’s basketball team.

Atkins, who graduated from Duncanville High School in 2014, was picked seventh in the WNBA draft by the Washington Mystics .

“It was a crazy moment,” Atkins said.  “I was predicted to go lower in the first round. I was just so excited and thankful. God has really been faithful in my life.”

Atkins got the word while staying at her mom’s house in Duncanville. She said returning to the city where she played basketball as a Duncanville Pantherette always brings back fond memories.

“I’m home. It’s where I grew up,” Atkins said. “I love everything about this city. No place is perfect but this is our community.”

Atkins said Pantherettes Head Coach Cathy Self-Morgan and her staff were instrumental in preparing her for college.

“Every day at practice she was at the door asking how our day was in class. Not a lot of coaches do that,” Atkins said. “She created a family atmosphere and always supported us even when we weren’t looking good.”

After graduating from Duncanville High School, Atkins continued her stellar basketball career at the University of Texas where she led the Longhorns with 14.9 points per game.

With one foot still in college and the other firmly planted in the future, Atkins is already setting goals for her pro career.

“I definitely want to win a championship. I want to help my team do that,” Atkins said.  “I’m excited in my first year to learn and grow from everybody. I love learning about the game.”

As for that diploma she earned, Atkins said she’ll be able to take a quick break from her pro career to return to Austin and walk at graduation.