Only a sophomore, the 1998-99 Ivy Women's Basketball Player of the Year is opting for the WNBA draft. In a shocking press conference yesterday at 5 p.m., 1999 Ivy League Women's Basketball Player of the Year Diana Caramanico announced that she will be leaving school early to enter the Women's National Basketball Association draft. Caramanico makes history as the first college player to ever declare early for the fledgling league. The news comes as a surprise to most but Caramanico said she is 100 percent sure that she is ready to leave college and play basketball at a higher level. "I love playing basketball and it would be a dream come true if I played in the WNBA," Caramanico said. "I feel that I've demolished college basketball, averaging over 20 points per game as a mere sophomore. I'm looking for more of a challenge." Naturally, Caramanico's parents, Daniel Caramanico and Marie Maguire, are concerned that she is making a rash decision. They believe she should not throw away her Ivy League education for a chance to get paid "to throw a ball in a basket." "We just want what's best for our daughter," Daniel Caramanico said. "We don't see why she can't wait two more years, get her degree and then play basketball if she would like. But it sure is cheaper." Caramanico downplayed her Penn education, however, claiming that the Wharton School has failed to challenge her academically. She complained that the "incompetent" professors have difficulty even speaking English, much less teaching business. "It's not like I go to an academically prestigious school like Princeton or Gonzaga," Caramanico said. Caramanico candidly admitted that she is looking forward to making the big bucks in the WNBA. "I'm looking forward to having all that money," Caramanico said. "Plus, it will make all of my money-hungry Wharton friends extremely jealous. "The Wharton advisors even encouraged me to leave. I think it had something to do with increasing the average Wharton starting salary." Caramanico already has an idea what she would like to do with her signing bonus. After the school year -- which Caramanico has decided to finish out -- she plans to buy an island. "Maybe just a small one to start," she added. Caramanico also said that if she has any savings left she may vacation in Cancun, Mexico, to improve her tan, considering she'll be playing on national television next year. Caramanico also hopes to support her family. "Maybe my parents can retire early if I succeed at the professional level." Caramanico said. "I plan on signing a contract that will give me a bonus when I win the Rookie of the Year award." "Besides, now I can provide for Geoff [Owens], because god knows he's never making it to the NBA," Caramanico said, referring to her 6'11" boyfriend who plays center for the men's basketball team. "And with the medical bills?" Unbeknownst to Caramanico, Extreme Championship Wrestling will be paying Owens' bills for several months after a bizarre incident last night left the Penn center hospitalized at HUP with multiple injuries. Owens -- reached for comment earlier in the day -- is very supportive of Caramanico's decision, although he said it was not the ideal situation. "I agree that Diana is making the correct decision but I'm upset because I won't get to see her that much next year with all of that travelling," Owens said. "It would be ideal if she went to the ABL and played for the Philadelphia Rage." When told the American Basketball League had folded, Owens began to cry. Caramanico's teammates, however, have not echoed the support Owens has shown. Most of the Quakers had hopes for an Ivy League title next year, but that will be difficult without Caramanico. "She flat-out bailed on her team," junior guard Mandy West said. "I specifically transferred to Penn to realize the ultimate dream of every women's basketball player in the country -- to win an Ivy League championship. Now the odds are slim without Diana." "I don't give a shit because I won't be here next year," added Julie Soriero, who stepped down as head coach following the conclusion of this season. As a parting gift, Soriero offered Caramanico a pile of Penn women's basketball gear to distribute among her new friends in the WNBA. "Besides, nobody else wants it," Soriero said. Nevertheless, this is one of the most unbelievable things to happen in Penn sports history. Although Caramanico was on pace to be the first Quaker, male or female, to score 2,000 career points, she is now the first Quaker to leave college early for a professional basketball draft.

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