Coach Kloppenburg’s 2009 Draft Breakdown

With the 2009 WNBA Draft scheduled for April 9, spent some time with Indiana assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg to get his take on some of the nation’s top college prospects. will run a 4-part feature on these prospects, with Kloppenburg’s comments on some of the top players, alphabetically.

This is part one of the series. Let’s start with Chante Black out of Duke.

Kloppenburg:“Chante Black is good size, long and athletic and runs the floor extremely well. She probably runs the floor as well as any of the centers in this draft. She’s got some nice low post moves, a nice little turn-around jumper from the elbow and the low block. She’s a good rebounder. I think she has the potential to be a very good shot blocker as well.”

FB: What is something she needs to improve on for the next level?

GK: “I would say, she’s a finesse center and for our level she’ll just need to step up and get a little bit stronger, be ready to really bang with some of the bigs in our league. I think that will be her major adjustment.”

FB: Ok, what about DeWanna Bonner from Auburn?

GK: “Bonner may be the best pure athlete in the whole group. She’s a very unique player in that she’s about 6’4, very long, extremely athletic and maybe end-to-end the fastest player in the draft. A lot of people say she’s very thin but you know that’s what they said about Reggie Miller when he came out of college, and he’s a Hall-of-Famer. So, to me she’s just an excellent basketball player. She can play outside, inside, and she can cause a lot of problems with matchups because of her quickness, speed, ability to put the ball on the floor and her ability to get to the free throw line.”

FB: Is there something she needs to work on for the WNBA?

GK:“You know she is light. I think when teams get her on the floor, they’re going to really take her down in there and exploit her. At this next level she’s going to have to get stronger, so she can at least hold her own when she gets those matchups against some of the more powerful forwards in our league.”

FB: Marissa Coleman from Maryland?.

GK: “She is a nice, all-around, versatile player. She can score inside and out. She passes the ball well. She can shoot the three, plays hard. She can defend. She’s just worked hard to develop a versatile, complete game.”

FB: Ok, where can she improve then?

GK: “I think that at our level she’ll need to be able to defend those quick threes [small forwards]. In our league the twos and threes are so athletic and so quick. I think that’s going to be her major adjustment.”

FB: Danielle Gant, from Texas A&M?.

GK: “Gant is a very good, all-around player. I think they may have played her in every position down there, and she’s one of those players that can kind of play every position. You can put her inside. She can handle the ball outside, so she’s sort of the utility player that you can throw in there and have her guard anywhere from one through four.”

FB: Obviously a lot of good things in that, but where can she improve?

GK:“Her challenge in our league will be to find a role on the team, where can she fit in and contribute. But she’s one of those kids who is kind of the survivor where, if she’s given the chance in the right situation, she could find a way to help a team.”

FB: Ok, Briann January, Arizona State?.

GK: “Well, I think she’s really proven herself now, with helping to get her team to the Elite Eight. She’s really flown under the radar a little bit this year because of being on the West Coast. She’s a combo guard, and now she’s been thrown in to playing the point. Early in the year she played more at the two, but she’s doing an outstanding job now at the point. She’s distributing, she’s hitting open shots, she’s just a tough, tough-minded player.”

FB: Where does she make her game better?

GK: “I think she’s one of those kids that is going to just keep getting better. She’s a hard worker. I think just coming in to our league and just learning, she’ll keep improving. The one area that I saw this year with her, that she could improve, is her assertiveness to score. I think she can score, but some of the games I watched she deferred a little bit because she is so unselfish. I like her game. She reminds me a little bit of Candice Wiggins, however Wiggins is trying to score almost every trip down. This kid has that ability to score, but I think she defers a little bit too much. So I’d like her to be a little more assertive at the next level.”