Unlike last year, there is no consensus top overall pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft.
Everyone seems to have an opinion as to who the Charlotte Sting may select, but at the end
of the day, there were only four players whose names kept getting mentioned:
White, guard, Mississippi State
The 2005 SEC Player of the Year
at Mississippi State, Tan White
(23.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.5 apg) is as dynamic of a scorer as there is in the draft.
Capable of routinely breaking down the defense with her blistering quickness,
the two guard regularly gets to the basket for layups or foul calls. She'll find
open teammates as well when help defenders rotate to impede her penetration.
Don't let her 5-7 size fool you, White also loves to mix it up. She's tough and
athletic, enabling her to rebound and even block an occasional shot. She's not
a pure shooter nor pure point guard, but a heck of an all-around basketball player.
Thoughts on White:
Ann Meyers, ESPN and WNBA.com analyst, Basketball
Hall-of-Famer: "She has the ability to take over a game and get her shots
off even at 5-7. She is a shooting guard with point guard ball-handling skills.
It is so difficult to get the ball from. She also has great range, gets her shots
off, puts ball on the floor and can pull up from anywhere. She has strong, long
arms and everyone is very high on her. She could even be the top pick."
Lobo, ESPN and WNBA.com analyst: "Do you have to get the 32 or 64 Crayola
box to find the best name in the draft? White is the most talented player that
most casual hoops fans have never seen play. She can handle, score, playmaker
and rebound. She'll be one of the first few to hear her name on draft day."
Anne Donovan, Seattle Storm coach: "Tan White is an explosive talent."
Fellow prospect Loree Moore, Tennessee: "She is so versatile and can
do everything: pass, score, shoot and make others better. She is a complete player
and teams want people like her."
Fellow prospect Ashley Earley, Vanderbilt:
"Tan White is an incredible scorer. You really can't stop her, you can only hope
to contain her."
She could go first because: In order to get back to
the playoffs, the Sting need to find a way to score more than 61.5 points per
game, which was last among the 13 teams. Just two seasons removed from representing
the East in the WNBA Finals, the Sting fell into trouble when they relied too
much on their perimeter game. Starting two-guard Andrea Stinson's production diminished
from 11.2 ppg in 2003 to only 6.0 ppg in 2004.
Janel McCarville, center, Minnesota
Lobo's pick to go No. 1 overall, Janel
McCarville (16.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2.1 bpg) is a fiery low post center
that can plug the middle. She earned three straight Big Ten First Team honors
with steady numbers throughout her Minnesota career.
McCarville has a high
basketball IQ, plays with emotion and is physical with her opponents. What's more
is she is a terrific passer who makes those around her better.
Meyers: "Terrific footwork and a physical mentality.
But she is also one of the best passers in the game. I think she must work on
her speed and can be in a little bit better shape for this league. Can she defend
a 4 or a 5 like Lisa Leslie, Lauren Jackson or even a Tari Phillips. Offensively,
she has a soft touch, great hands and goes both ways well with a variety of moves
Trudi Lacey, Charlotte Sting coach and GM: "Of the players
coming out this year, Janel McCarville would have the most immediate impact."
Donovan: "Janel McCarville is a post who will also make impact with
her team early in her WNBA career."
Sparks center Lisa Leslie: "I
love her ability to pass the ball. She makes other players around her better and
I think that is the sign of a great player. She does it on the inside, she does
it on the outside and it's almost like watching old-school basketball."
Lobo: "My favorite player in the Draft. McCarville has phenomenal hands
and is the best passing post player I've ever seen. She makes the game fun to
watch and will make it enjoyable for her teammates. Couple that with her ability
to score and take over when needed and you've got a sure thing. Plus, she's tough.
She's going to leave a few of the vets with black and blue marks this coming season."
Fellow prospect Katie Feenstra, Liberty: "Janel is a great post player
and is very strong. People know she's strong and a lot of people respect her."
Fellow prospect Jess Strom, Penn State: "She is a very good passer
for a big girl. It is so tough to defend a post player that can pass and score."
She could go first because: When projecting to the pro level, McCarville
is as sure of a bet as there is in this Draft. On both the offensive and defensive
end, she plays like a vet.
Irvin, center, Texas Christian University
The niece of former Cowboys
receiver Michael Irvin, Sandora
Irvin (19.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 4.7 bpg) shares many of her uncle's physical skills.
An athletic 6-3, Irvin has above average height for the power forward position
and is a dynamite shot-blocker. She earned three consecutive Conference USA Defensive
Player of the Year awards during her TCU career and averaged nearly five swats
per night as a senior.
Also known to roam out to the perimeter, Irvin is a
solid outside shooter who can nail the three-pointer.
Thoughts on Irvin:
Meyers:"She is long, plays so well on the defensive end and has a good
inside game. She must get stronger, but she is already strong now, has good footwork
and is efficient around basket. But what a defensive presence. Lots of teams would
love to have a player like that."
Lobo: "Irvin is super athletic and
can have an immediate impact as a defender and rebounder. Her offensive game has
improved since her freshman year and she can shoot the three and put the ball
on the floor. She played with a young backcourt this past season at TCU and there
were times I wished she would have grabbed the young 'uns by the jersey and demanded
touches when they got shot-happy. Irvin is a really nice kid and will be a phenomenal
player once she gets a little more vocal like her uncle Michael."
prospect Cathrine Kraayeveld, Oregon: "A strong, athletic post player with
good moves both outside and inside. She is quick and can use that against other
post defenders to get to the hoop."
She could go first because: Irvin's
shot-blocking and ball thievery make her a perfect fit in Charlotte's defensive-oriented
system. The Sting gave up the fewest points in the league in 2004, allowing only
2168 total points.
Wecker, forward, Kansas State
The Big 12 Player of the Year, Kendra
Wecker (21.1 pgg, 10.1 rpg) is the dark horse candidate to be the No. 1 selection.
The small forward had a stellar career at Kansas State and is a well-rounded scorer
capable of pounding the ball inside or nailing the three-pointer.
the boards and is a high percentage shooter from the field and the line. In terms
of fundamentals, she's as good as they come.
Thoughts on Wecker:
"A lot of people compared her to Katie Smith because she has such strength. She
has the ability to put ball on floor, can shoot the three, goes to the basket
well, but needs to work on her defense a little bit. Can she start in this league
next year? Sure - with the right team. Seattle, Sacramento, Charlotte - teams
that need outside shooting."
Donovan: "I believe Kendra Wecker is a
special talent who has the tough mentality, strength, work ethic, and versatility
to make an immediate contribution to her team."
Lobo: "Wecker's game
has been compared to Katie Smith's. She is a deceptively great athlete, strong,
and can score off the dribble. She could follow in fellow-Wildcat Nicole Ohlde's
footsteps and get drafted in the Top Ten."
Fellow prospect Dionnah Jackson,
Oklahoma: "I don't think you can find a weakness. She is a scoring machine.
She knows how to score. Period. Whenever. Wherever. That makes her so hard to
defend. She is faster than most post players and stronger than most guards."
Tanisha Wright, Penn State: "She is really physical and not afraid to bang,
yet she has a soft touch with the basketball."
She could go No. 1 because:
Charlotte's a club in need of a long range shooting. Of the aforementioned prospects,
Wecker is clearly the top outside gunner.
in to ESPN2 at noon E.T. on Saturday to find out just who goes first.