WNBA legend Lisa Leslie determined that Caitlin Clark is already ‘one of the best players in the WORLD’, saying the former Iowa star ‘would have been better off’ joining the US Olympic team in Paris. |T

Caitlin Clark hasn’t played a minute of professional basketball yet, but she’s already ‘one of the best basketball players in the world’ according to WNBA legend Lisa Leslie.

Clark, the presumptive No. 1 pick in this month’s WNBA Draft, dominated the college ranks while at Iowa, becoming the all-time leading scorer in Division 1 (men’s and women’s) and leading her team to consecutive national championship appearances.

And while other former greats like Diana Taurasi are skeptical that Clark will transition seamlessly to the WNBA, Leslie thinks she’s ready to be a star already.

‘She better be on the Olympic team,’ Leslie told ESPN. ‘We should not leave the country without her. She’s a bona fide baller. There’s no doubt she’s already one of the best players in the world.’

Leslie was a three-time MVP and two-time champion for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.

Caitlin Clark dominated women's college basketball for four seasons at Iowa


Caitlin Clark dominated women’s college basketball for four seasons at Iowa

And WNBA legend Lisa Leslie believes she's already 'one of the best players in the world'


And WNBA legend Lisa Leslie believes she’s already ‘one of the best players in the world’


Following Iowa’s Final Four win over UConn (the Hawkeyes eventually lost to South Carolina in the championship), Taurasi ruffled some feathers by saying ‘reality is coming’ for Clark.

‘There’s levels to this thing,’ she told Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter, when asked about Clark and South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso jumping to the pros.

‘And that’s just life, we all went through it… You look superhuman playing against some 18 years olds but you’re going to come [play] with some grown women that have been playing professional basketball for a long time.

‘Not saying it’s not gonna translate, because when you’re great at what you do, you’re just gonna get better,’ Taurasi continued. ‘But there is gonna be a transition period, where you’re gonna have to give yourself some grace as a rookie.’

Taurasi’s comments came after Clark and Iowa defeated UConn and Paige Bueckers 71-69.

And earlier in the night, Taurasi once again had some strong words for Clark, saying she would ‘absolutely’ take Bueckers over her with the first pick in the WNBA Draft.

Diana Taurasi (right) believes there will be a 'transition period' for Clark in the WNBA


Diana Taurasi (right) believes there will be a ‘transition period’ for Clark in the WNBA

Nonetheless, the WNBA is betting big on Clark’s star power, with the guard expected to be taken No. 1 overall by the Indiana Fever next week.

The league announced earlier this week that 36 of the Fever’s 40 games will be nationally televised.

The news comes after the women’s national championship outdrew the men’s final for the first time ever, with an average of 18.9million tuning in to watch Iowa ‘s defeat to South Carolina, and only 14.8million watching UConn vs. Purdue.

The Olympics begin on July 26.

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