Caitlin Clark was eyeing the Indiana Fever long before declaring the WNBA Draft.

Indiana Fever player Caitlin Clark, with the city of Indianapolis, Indiana behind her, and heart emojis
In a revelation Wednesday on the Pat McAfee Show, Caitlin Clark, the newly minted No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, expressed her enthusiasm about being drafted in particular by the Indiana Fever. Clark, the standout from the University of Iowa, shared that she had eagerly hoped the Fever would secure the first pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft, a desire rooted in her Midwest origins.

“When the draft lottery happened, I had a game that same night, but I was really hoping that the Fever got the first pick,” Clark said in a video shared on ESPN. “You know, I’m a Midwest girl.

The proximity of Indianapolis to her hometown — just five hours from Iowa City where the University of Iowa is, and seven from Des Moines, where Clark grew up — along with Indiana’s rich basketball culture, heightened her excitement about joining the Fever.

During her introductory press conference in Indianapolis, Clark conveyed a strong connection to the area, citing its basketball-rich environment as a factor in her excitement.

“I can’t think of a better place for myself to start my career. A place that loves basketball, supports women’s basketball, and an organization that really does things the right way, has championship pedigree,” Clark said, as reported by Field Level Media.

“It definitely played a huge role,” she added via Michael Marot of the Associated Press, explaining why she opted to leave school after making two straight national championship game runs. “I was hoping Indiana got the first pick, it made my life a lot better. So I was pretty excited. I was just ready for a new challenge in my life.”

Caitlin Clark set to team up with Aliyah Boston

Indiana Fever player Caitlin Clark, former Iowa Hawkeye standout and the no. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft, speaks Wednesday, April 17, 2024, during an introductory press conference inside the entry pavilion.

© Mykal McEldowney -USA TODAY NETWORK/Indianapolis Star-USA TODAY NETW
Clark also articulated her aspirations for her new team and her career. She is keen on helping the Fever break their seven-year playoff drought and is excited about the potential visibility boost from the WNBA’s new television deal.

A particularly exciting prospect for Clark is playing alongside Aliyah Boston, last year’s unanimous WNBA Rookie of the Year and the 2023 No. 1 WNBA Draft pick by the Fever.

“There’s just so much talent on this roster. Obviously Aliyah has been one of my teammates before with USA Basketball and I know first-hand how great she is,” Clark said. “Erica Wheeler is somebody that’s been having my back and we’re not even teammates yet. A vet, somebody that’s been in the league for a really long time. As a point guard you need someone to lean on, that’s going to have your back, to ask questions.”

The partnership between Clark and Boston is anticipated to be a dynamic force for the Fever, potentially altering the team’s performance and trajectory in the league.

Clark gets a warm welcome in Indiana

A press conference welcoming Indiana Fever player Caitlin Clark, former Iowa Hawkeye standout and the no. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA draft
© Mykal McEldowney-USA TODAY NETWORK/Indianapolis Star-USA TODAY NETW
The reception Clark received upon her arrival was overwhelmingly positive, with fans and team employees giving her a standing ovation, reflecting the community’s high expectations and enthusiasm for their new player.

“She’s one of the faces of women’s basketball and for her to be here, under the same roof, it’s really exciting for me and I think a lot of people in our organization,” said Indiana Pacers gurard Tyrese Haliburton, who attended Iowa State. “I just look forward to watching her grow through the process, watching her get better and looking forward to actually being able to cheer for her now.”

Clark reciprocated the warmth of her introduction, expressing a deep appreciation for her position and the opportunities ahead.

“At times it doesn’t feel real. I feel like I’m kind of stuck in a dream at times,” Clark said. “I think the biggest thing I try to remember is how grateful I am to have this opportunity. Some so many people would kill to be in my shoes. … I just try to remind myself of how grateful I am. I’m lucky to have these moments.”

The anticipation around Clark’s arrival in Indiana has already translated into tangible excitement, with significant spikes in Fever ticket sales and national television coverage planned for the upcoming season. Her dynamic play style, characterized by sharpshooting from beyond the arc and creative assists, has not only captivated existing fans but is also attracting new followers to women’s basketball.

She is expected to make her regular season debut May 14 at Connecticut and her home debut May 18 against New York.

“Win a lot of games to start, she’s going to help us with that,” Fever coach Christie Sides said, expressing the goals. “It’s incredible to have someone like her join our team. We established a great culture last year, laid a great foundation and to have someone like her and her awesome support staff, her family, added to our family, it just puts us in a whole different ballgame.”