COLLEGE PROSPECT TRACKER
as of March 26
The top seniors in the 2007 class have been tracked and followed pretty much since they were freshmen. Several were McDonald's All-Americans in high school and went on to enjoy similar success college. So how will they shake out on April 4? After watching them play, talking to scouts, analysts, coaches and other "experts," here is how the top 13 players rank at the current point. This board does not attempt to match players and team needs, instead focusing on the best all-around prospects. As the NCAA Tournament unfolds and the prospects get their final shot to impress, we'll also be updating this list throughout...
Lindsey Harding (Duke):
3/26: Named to the U.S. Women's Senior National Team player pool this week, Harding was rolling along in the NCAA Tournament as well, seemingly on her way to another Final Four. She bounced back from a mediocre first round game with 18 points, four assists and two steals in a second round win over Temple last week. But in the Sweet 16 against Rutgers, Harding struggled with the defensive pressure and stumbled down the stretch. She missed two free throws that could have saved Dukes' season, but she missed both with 0.1 seconds to go and the Blue Devils fall short once again. No matter who you talk to, though, Harding has established herself as the best all-around player in the Draft.
3/19: Harding was one of two seniors and four total finalists named for the Naismith Player of the Year Award on Saturday. Back in action on Sunday, Harding was not hitting in her shots in the early going of her first round game against Holy Cross, but you cannot really take too much away from an opening round game against a 16-seed. She finished with seven points.
3/12: When Candace Parker ended the speculation about her future last week, it allowed us to focus completely on debate over who should be the top pick. We cannot answer that here, but Harding, last season's ACC Defensive Player of the Year, was awarded the 2007 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award last week. It is just the latest accolade for Harding, who led the Blue Devils both offensively and defensively this season, averaging 14.0 points and 4.1 rebounds and compiling 121 assists and 45 steals. The Blue Devils (30-1) did suffer their first loss of the season, 70-65 to NC State in the ACC Tournament (Harding shot only 3-for-13 in that game), but Harding and Duke remain in the top spot.
3/5: The best player, the leader, the spark for the best team in the nation all season long. Yes, Duke lost this weekend, but they are still the favorite to win it all and Harding is the primary reason. She is battling Candace Parker for Player of the Year, and in the unlikely event that Parker is eligible for the Draft, they will battle for the top spot as well. But not onl can she create offensively, Harding was just named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as well.
Ivory Latta (North Carolina):
3/26: With her team on the ropes in a second round game against Notre Dame, Latta came through and snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. She scored 17 points in the 60-51 victory and played well again against George Washington in a more comfortable win despite scoring only nine points on 2of-12 from the floor. Latta has been playing with confidence and is driving her team on this great run. She can hit from outside, score in the lane and makes her teammates better.
3/19: With an easy victory over the 16-seed Prairie View in the first round, we didn't need to see too much out of Ivory Latta. She scored 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the floor, but the fiery Latta was one of five Tar Heels to score in double figures. Carolina clicking on all cylinders after winning the ACC and now a strong first round showing, they will be a tough out in the weeks to come.
3/12: Ivory Latta scored 20 points in the ACC Championship game, navigating through some of the toughest competition in the nation. In the process, she became North Carolina's career scoring leader. Latta has had an up-and-down season by her own standards, but looks to be on track to lead the Tar Heels deep into the Tournament. Even more impressive has been her leadership and drive. Latta gave the Tar Heels their third straight ACC title, something she promised as a freshman after North Carolina lost to Duke in the 2004 title game.
3/5: Latta was a frontrunner to be a top pick at the beginning of the season, but has not stepped up and shown the dominant qualities of a number one overall pick. That said, she is still a tremendous guard capable of scoring and creating for her teammates. In the guard-focused ACC, Latta stands tall with (and sometimes below) elite of that group. Not that we're matching players with teams, but both San Antonio and Minnesota have expressed the need for an offensive-minded point guard and both Harding and Latta are certainly that.
Davenport (Ohio State):
3/19: One and done for Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament is not how Davenport wanted to end her collegiate career. The Naismith finalist got the news that she was among the final four for the Award on Saturday morning, but ended the day with a disappointing loss to 13-seed Marist. Davenport simply did not take over the game as many expected she would without injured senior teammate Brandie Hoskins to help lead the show. The three-time Big Ten player of the year finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists, but also 11 turnovers. The 6-5 senior and Columbus native ended her run in Columbus earlier than she planned, but a bright WNBA future is calling for Davenport.
3/12: In Ohio State's loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Championship game last week, the Buckeyes found themselves in a huge hole early on that Davenport could not get them out of. She was the only Ohio State player to score in double figures, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but there were stretches where she looked overmatched on the defensive end. That is not what you want to see heading into your last NCAA Tournament. Davenport still has time to make a last-minute play for the top spot, but look for Ohio State to take their game on the road.
3/5: Jessica Davenport has been ready to play in the WNBA for about three years now and we will finally see how she stacks up against the best bigs in the world. She is averaging just short of 20 points and 10 rebounds per game and has great moves anywhere in the low block.
Armintie Price (Mississippi):
3/26: Unreal. That is the only word to describe Price in her past two games. First was the 89-78 second round win over Maryland last week. 29 points, seven rebouds, five assists and three steals in the game of her life. She's got everyone talking about her... But then on Sunday, Price scored 31 points, had 10 rebounds and five steals in a win over 3-seeded Oklahoma. Her stock continues to rise and she is the darling of the dance at this point. So fun to watch on both ends of the floor, who knows where her run will end?
3/19: Once again, the speedy and tenacious Price led Ole Miss to victory, this time a 88-74 win over TCU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Price led a tough press, scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds (her team scored 39 points off 23 turnovers). Mississippi won in the NCAAs for the first time since 1994, posting its highest-scoring game ever in the tournament.
3/12: We didn't see as much of Price as we wanted as Mississippi lost to LSU in the tough 4-5 quarterinals game of the SEC Tournament. The defense focused primarily on shutting Price down, yet she managed 12 points despite going 3-for-15 from the field. She struggled with her jumpshot all game, yet we will see her again. With 10 wins in a tough conference that is the SEC, Mississippi should have a strong enough resume to earn an at-large bid.
3/5: Ole Miss may not be the traditional SEC powerhouse you are used to, but the top senior in the SEC has drawn considerable attention and will draw some even more attention from WNBA lottery teams. How good is she? She is now one of only five players in womenís college basketball to ever score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds, record 300 assists and have 300 steals. The others are Cheryl Miller, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings and Sophia Young. Wow.
Tiffany Jackson (Texas):
3/19: Jackson's tremendous collegiate career has come to an end, though she has already established herself as one of the top post players available in the Draft. With some doubters out there, she could benefit from some extra exposure during the WNBA's pre-Draft camp on March 29-31 in Cleveland, but it remains to be seen whether or not she will accept an invitation to participate.
3/12: Texas has fallen short of expectations this season and their run in the Big Twelve Tournament ended with a quarterfinals loss to Oklahoma. We would liked to have seen Jackson do more to lead her team this season, but her talent is undeniable. Let's just hope we haven't seen the last of Jackson and the Longhorns, who are very much on the bubble of making another trip to the Big Dance.
3/5: Wow, do coaches like her game. While the Longhorns have struggled this season and falled out of the Top 25, Jackson is the prototypical power forward who is at or near the top of many UT records. This season, as a senior leader, Jackson is first on her team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals, minutes played, double-doubles, double-figure scoring games and games as the teams leading scorer or rebounder (23).
Alison Bales (Duke):
3/26: It's not about the stats for Bales. It is about the victories, and that's what Bales and her Duke teammates wish they had more of. Alas, Bales has played her final game as a Blue Devil. She wasn't an offensive contributor in the round two win over Temple, but her six rebounds and two blocks helped establish the Duke dominance inside the paint. In the loss against Rutgers in the Sweet 16, Bales was Duke's best player. She was a force inside in the first half, scoring and blocking shots. She scored 21 in her last game, but missed an ill-advised 17-footer as the clock was winding down before Duke ultimately fell. Regardless of the disappointing exit, Bales has proven that she is worthy of a first round pick and will fit in nicely with a team in need of her skills and size.
3/19: With a good tournament, Bales could be a top five pick. Of course, she has already proven herself, but she would love to go out on top. She made some key shots in the first round win over Holy Cross, made some great passes and finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
3/12: Bales and duke were unable to run the table and finish with an undefeated season, but that is really no fault of Bales. She had 17 and 7 in the ACC tourney semifinals loss to NC State, both of which led her team. The good news is that she gets to play more games in front of the local Duke fans as the likely top seed in Raleigh.
3/5: At 6-7. Ali Bales is big and plays that way. She has been the anchor for Duke all season long and really for the past four years. The Ohio native won't win any races, but she is a defensive force in the middle. A regional MVP in the Tournament last year when Duke fell just short last year, we are excited to see what Bales and the Blue Devils have in store for a post-season run this year.
3/19: Without any more games to prove herself, Quinn must rely on the strength of her resume and one last invite to pre-Draft camp to prove herself worthy of a top pick. Of course, she did put together quite an impressive collegiate career and WNBA teams are very high on her athletic ability.
3/12: Unfortunately we may have seen the last of Quinn in a UCLA uniform. The Bruins finished their season with a 14-18 record. Quinn had 25 points and six assists in a loss to tournament finalist Arizona State and is still a lock for the first round.
3/5: The best out west, Quinn has not been in the national spotlight as much this season because her team has fallen out of the Top 25, but losing two teammates to the WNBA last season could do that to you. The Pac 10 never gets enough coverage in my opinion
Brooke Smith (Stanford):
3/26: Just two days after having the best game of her career, Smith Stanford team fell at home to Florida State, 68-61. Smith did score 12 points and 8 rebounds in her final career game, but it was not enough. Smith will get an invite to WNBA Pre-Draft camp and looks to solidify her standing in the first round.
3/19: If you had any doubt that she could take on a starring role when needed, look no further than Saturday's opening round performance over 15-seed Idaho State. In the 38-point victory, Smith made her first 10 shots on the way to a season-high 29 points. She will play her final game in Maples Pavilion on Monday night against Florida State.
3/12: Smith spent the Pac-10 Tournament playing second fiddle to Wiggins, but was vital to the Cardinal's run to the championship. She had 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the title game and haven't lost in more than a month. Heating up at the right time, look out for Stanford, who has likely locked up a two-seed and will open up the first two rounds at home.
3/5: The best post player on the best post team in the Pac 10. Any possibly the nation. Underclassman Candace Wiggins may be the best all-around player and capable of taking over games, but Smith frees her up by demanding attention down low.
Eshaya Murphy (USC):
3/19: Murphy's college career is over, though we expect that she will be one of the marquee names to accept an invitation to pre-Draft camp. The top four or five prospects often to not participate in the camp, so look for Murphy to stand out as one of the stars.
3/12: The Lady Trojans lost in the Pac-10 semifinals to eventual champion Stanford. As she always does, Shay Murphy led the way for U.S.C. throughout the tournament, with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the 5-seed. We likely won't see Murphy in the NCAA Tournament, but there is always the WNIT and then a chance to shine at pre-Draft camp in Clevaland.
3/5: Underrated a bit because her conference is not as strong as it has been, but Shae Murphy is the real deal. A swing player with versatile skills, she is the latest in a long line of talented USC players... Miller, Cooper, Leslie, Thompson... she might not be in that company, but she is a legit first rounder.
Chrissy Givens (Middle Tennessee St.):
3/26: The darlings of the college basketball season finally met their match as a new Cinderella was crowned in Middle Tennessee's second round upset loss to 13-seed Marist. Givens scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished four assists in the 73-59 loss, but the national exposure has helped Givens cause. She is a lock for the first round and is ready for the next level.
3/19: Another game, another dominant performance for Chrissy Givens. Led her team to its 27th straight win, a 40-point victory over Gonzaga in the first game of the NCAA Tournament. Givens led the way with 24 points and moved into fifth place on the school's career scoring list. She also climbed to third for assists after dishing out four assists. The Sun Belt Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the year also had five rebounds and five of her team's 17 steals in the win. Up next, Marist on Monday night and shot at the Sweet 16.
3/12: Speaking of deserving of national headlines, Givens has been getting her fair share in leading this mid-major into the top 25. Middle Tennessee won its conference tournament and has now won 26 straight games. They have the NCAA bid in their pocket and are just waiting to see where they end up. They deserve a 4-seed, but Sun Belt teams typically are not seeded that low, so we'll see what the committee has in store for them.
3/5: The only reason she is not higher on this board is because we haven't seen her play live yet. But we will in the NCAA Tournament. Givens is a big-time player at a mid-major school, but she has the team firmly entrenched in the Top 25. Now everyone in the nation is learning about Givens' game thanks to ESPN and USA Today cover stoties and come NCAA time, we'll see just how good she can be against top competition.
Camille Little (North Carolina):
3/26: Little was not stellar in the 60-51 win over Notre Dame, registering only eight points, five assists and three rebounds to advance to the Sweet 16, but she and her Tar Heels teammates continue to work together as a cohesive unit and move along in the NCAA Tournament. Throughout her career, she has been steady and solid as a calming influence for her team, transitioning this season to more of a wing player who can still rebound and score inside. As Nancy Lieberman said on ESPN's coverage of the G.W. game, Little must continue to work on developing all aspects of her game because she will be a 3 in the WNBA. And it has to help that her boyfriend, Atlanta Hawks rookie Marvin Williams, knows what it takes to make it at the next level.
3/19: Camille Little had another typical Little-like performance in the first round against Prairie View, chugging away for 14 points (12 points in the first half) and 5 rebounds on 6-of-9 from the floor. She scored seven of the first 11 points of the game and the Tar Heels never looked back. Her energy and spark put the game out of reach before the opposition even got on the scoreboard.
3/12: Little did little to stand out during the ACC Tournament and needs a good Tournament to stay on the first round radar. WNBA teams know who she is and are familiar with her game, but fans should start paying attention to her game. She lacks the star power of some of the names above, but will definitely make a team next year.
3/5: Strong post player who always seems to do the little things for North Carolina and thrives on the defensive end. She gets into passing lanes well for a bigger player and comes up with a number of steals that spark her team on the offensive end. Often overshadowed by her teammates as the second-leading scorer and rebounder on her team, Little also was named a Naismith Top 30 Finalist.
Jessica Dickson (South Florida):
3/26: Dickson, the senior all-America scored 24 points and had eight rebounds in a WNIT win over Coppin State last week. Dickson was 10-10 at the free throw line. But their run was cut short and the USF season ended with a tough 73-71 loss to Virginia in the third round of the Womenís National Invitation Tournament on Thursday night. Dickson scored 12 in her collegiate finale and finished her storied USF career with 2,402 points.
3/19: South Florida has a date with Coppin State in the WNIT on Monday. Unlike many of her other Draft prospects, at least she still has games left to play...
3/12: Dickson led South Florida all season, but could not lead them past a hot UConn team in the quarter of the Big East Tournament despite 18 points. South Florida has done all it can to stake a claim for one of the last at-large bids so we should see Dickson at least once more, but if she can lead her underdog team in an upset, she'll make national headlines and finally get more the attention she so deserves.
3/5: The all-time leading scorer at USF, Dickson is both a scorer and a rebounder from the wing position. She always knew she wanted to stay close to home, yet turned down Florida to play at SF. She was the nation's top-scoring freshman during the 2003-04 season, at 18.6 points per game and ESPN.com named her the best wing player in the country. Naturally, she is extremely athletic and is unstoppable if you let her catch-and-shoot. She has a tireless work ethic and wants to always get better. She is the prime reason that South Florida is even competitive in one of the best conferences in the nation.
Katie Gearlds (Purdue):
3/26: Talk about a player on the rise, Gearlds continues to play her way up the rankings in this NCAA Tournament. She was superb in the 76-63 second round win over Georgia Tech, scoring 26 points for the 2-seeded Purdue. But she was even better in the Sweet 16 win on Sunday night in the win over Georgia. She scored 30 points and simply took over the game. She was certainly on the radar now, but in taking over games at this stage of the season, Gearlds proves that she is much more than a one-dimensional player. We cannot wait to see what she will do next.
3/12: Gearlds rises into the top 13 this week thanks to her tremendous performance in the Big Ten Tournament. In the finals, she recorded 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists and earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award in the last college game in her home state.
Others to keep an eye on:
Lyndsey Medders (Iowa State):
3/19: What a leader for her team! People certainly have caught on to Medders this season and it would be unfair to call her a sleeper at this point. She has been everything for her team and is very much on the radar of every WNBA team in need of a point guard. Medders also performed well on the national spotlight over the weekend, tallying 12 points, 10 assists and five rebounds on an off-shooting night in a big opening round win over Washington. She also showed she has range an hit on 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Bernice Mosby (Baylor):
3/5: Mosby transferred from Florida, so might be an old name in a new place for those just catching on. If you are just catching on, where have you been? She is having a great senior season, averaging 18 and 10. Bears fans may miss Sophia Young, who brought the school a national title, but Mosby is plenty good and is the reason why Baylor has stayed in the Top 15 despite losing an immediate All-Star in Young.
Carla Thomas (Vanderbilt)
Cori Chambers (Georgia)
Kamesha Hairston (Temple)
Emily Westerberg (Arizona State)
Jillian Robbins (Tulsa)
Sidney Spencer (Tennessee)
--and about 75 more...