Seattle Storm guard Nika Muhl has been one of the most hyped WNBA prospects in this year's draft class, and for good reason. The Croatian international holds UConn's career assist record (686) and was a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year before being selected by the Storm 14th overall Monday night.

Storm and fellow Huskie legend Sue Bird publicly congratulated Muhl on Tuesday, via Seattle's X account. The four-time champion even joked “I guess we just gotta figure out this jersey number thing, huh?”

Of course, Muhl wore number 10 at UConn, which is what Bird wore her entire career. Seattle retired Bird's jersey last year, so Muhl will have to start fresh with a new number.

Regardless, Bird's welcome message symbolized a potential passing of the torch, as the Storm look to rebound from their worst season since 2001. Will Muhl be able to replicate her collegiate success at the next level?

Nika Muhl will become one of the Storm's better players

Nika Muhl poses with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after she is selected with the number fourteen overall pick to the Seattle Storm in the 2024 WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Muhl's passing ability alone was something to behold in college. It's important to keep in mind that UConn is the greatest program of all-time, boasting 11 National Championships. For the 23-year-old to hold the school's assist record is something that shouldn't be taken lightly, and is a great sign for her professional potential.

Some of the legends she surpassed include Moriah Jefferson, Diana Taurasi, Jennifer Rizzotti, and Renee Montgomery. Of course, Bird was the last player she leapfrogged on the list before breaking the record.

Additionally, Muhl's defensive prowess will be a great help at the next level. Her skills were on full display when she locked up Caitlin Clark in the Huskies' Final Four contest against Iowa.

Clark had been on a tear before that game, including a 41-point masterpiece against LSU in the Elite Eight. However, Muhl held her to six points in the first half, and 0-for-6 shooting from deep. Clark finished with 21 points, her lowest total across the entire NCAA Tournament.

Muhl also appears to be a high-character individual off the court. She expressed her appreciation for UConn coach Geno Auriemma in a press conference Monday night, via SNY.

“He's my best friend,” Muhl said. “He's not just my coach, he's my best friend. He's been there from the start. When I failed, from the worst things to the best things, he always stuck by my side and never left.”

It's a good sign that Muhl holds her former coach in such high regard. It shows humility, which will help keep her grounded at the next level.

She also spoke about getting the chance to play for Bird's former club.

“I love Sue. I love her so much. I remember watching her when I was a kid, trying to mimic her moves. Being at UConn after her has been a huge deal for me. Very, very humbling experience,” Mühl said. “She's one of the greatest. To be able to have this opportunity again, I mean, it's a full-circle moment for me.”

Muhl's awareness of the sport's modern pioneers that paved the way for her shows that she's a true student of the game. When a player has basketball IQ and emotional maturity to go with their talent, it bodes well for their future. Don't be surprised if Muhl catches up to Bird's numbers in the pros as well.