EMU's Tavelyn James heads to training camp with Minnesota Lynx, after graduation
Joe Sharp | for AnnArbor.com
For Tavelyn James, a shot at the WNBA could wait for one day.
The all-time leading scorer in Eastern Michigan women's basketball history reported to the Minnesota Lynx training camp Monday.
The defending WNBA champions opened camp Sunday, but James remained in Ypsilanti for the school's graduation ceremony, with the full support of the team, a spokesperson told AnnArbor.com.
During her commencement address at the Convocation Center, EMU president Susan Martin singled out several graduates and shared their stories with those in attendance. James was among them.
"Tavelyn is a 22-year-old Detroit resident graduating with a bachelor’s in health administration. She chose her major because she wants to help people like her sister, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 24," Martin said.
"Tavelyn also is graduating with a long list of records set while playing guard for EMU’s women’s basketball team. She is Eastern’s all-time leading scorer and holds school records for three-point baskets in a game and in a single season.
"Tavelyn was named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year in 2011-2012, and is the 2012 recipient of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, presented annually to the nation’s outstanding female collegian, 5-feet 8-inches and under, who has excelled both athletically and academically.
"Tavelyn plans on returning to school for a master’s in biology and working in a hospital setting. Thank you, Tavelyn."
First, she'll attempt to make a WNBA roster.
James, a 5-foot-7 guard who averaged 23.8 points last season, was not selected in the three-round WNBA Draft on April 16 after being projected as high as the eighth pick by the Washington Mystics and No. 12 by the Lynx in mock drafts.
She accepted an invitation to the Lynx training camp and is one of 18 players battling for 11 roster spots.
Along with the team's returning players and draft choices, the Lynx also invited a pair of undrafted Big Ten guards, Michigan State's Porsche Poole and Purdue's Brittany Rayburn, to its training camp.
According to EMUEagles.com, James is the second player in EMU history to be picked up by a WNBA team. Ryan Coleman signed a free-agent training camp deal with the Detroit Shock in 2006, but never saw action in a regular season game.