Coach Kloppenburg’s 2009 Draft Breakdown: Part 2

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 four-part feature on these prospects, with Kloppenburg’s comments on some of the top players, alphabetically.

This is part two of the series. Talk about Devanei Hampton from Cal.

Gary Kloppenburg: “Hampton is a strong, good-sized center. She has the ability to score. She’s pretty much an inside player. To me, she’s got to rebound better with her size and physical ability. I’m just going by her rebound numbers. I think she needs to come in and really emphasize her rebounding. You’ve got to be in on every rebound. I think that will be her area to improve on, as well as her free throw percentage because I think she can get to the line.”

FB: Jillian Harmon, from across the Bay Area at Stanford. Maybe she’s another player a little under the radar?

GK: “Harmon – she and Stanford – they’re an excellent team. I mean they were the last team to beat Connecticut last year, and even though they lost [Candice] Wiggins, they may be a bit better. They may be even better this year, and she’s a high-energy player, kind of an all-purpose player. She can defend, she shoots the ball well, and she can run the floor.”

FB: How does she get better?

GK: “She’s got to make the adjustment to the athleticism in our league. You know, be able to defend, mostly. But she’s a high-energy kid, she’s one of those players you want to have on your team. She’s going to work, always going to play hard, plays with a lot of heart and toughness.”

FB: Talk about Camille Lenoir, from Southern Cal (USC), another Pac-10 player.

GK: “Linn saw her, and I saw her out there, too. I went to see her play because we had heard about her and you know, she’s one of those flying under the radar in the West. You don’t really get the coverage of those West Coast teams, but she’s a nice, similar type of a guard to A’quonesia Franklin in that she’s small and stocky, but she can really handle the ball. Plus, she’s an excellent shooter. She can shoot the mid-range shot. She can shoot the three, and she’s very good in the screen and roll. She’s one of those kids that flies under the radar but might have the chance of making it with the right type of team that needs a good backup point or forward.”

FB: What is a weakness in her game?

GK: “In the game I saw, she had some trouble against the bigger, quicker guards, so I think making that adjustment would be a key. In our league, she would usually have a bigger guard on her, so knowing and learning how to exploit and use her quickness is improvement; and keep improving on the screen and roll. I could see her as somebody that could be an excellent screen and roll point guard.”

FB: How about Lyndra Littles of Virginia?

GK: “Littles is a very skilled big guard. She’s probably a two guard, a skilled guard, she handles the ball well, and can shoot off the bounce. She’s kind of a go-to player. She takes a lot of shots for them. She’s a good three-point shooter, she gets to the line. She’s a good rebounder at that guard spot, so she’s one of those kids that I think has the chance to be a decent player in our league because of her athleticism and skill level.”

FB: What does she have to do to cement that role in the WNBA?

GK: “I think with her, she’s kind of inconsistent. The knock on her is she doesn’t play hard all the time. So I think that’s where she’s got to step it up. She has to find that intensity every night because you can’t take nights off in our league. Every night you’re going against a great player at that position, so I think that is where she really needs to improve if she comes into our league.”

FB:Ok, Angel McCoughtry, Louisville?.

GK: “This kid is probably one of the top, top players coming out of this draft because she is so skilled. She’s got the combination of athleticism, skill level, toughness and heart and those are great qualities to have and be successful in our league. She obviously has proven to be one of the top players. She’s tough during the close games. She wants the ball, and she can make plays. She is one of those go-to players. When I saw her play in the Big East tournament, she reminded me a little bit of [Sheryl] Swoopes because of her ability to be lightning quick, shoot in the gap, see gaps in the passing lanes, and she can score in a variety of different ways, as well.”

FB: What does she need to do to play like Sheryl Swoopes?

GK: “I think it’s just going to be making that adjustment to this level. I would say she’s going to be a very, very good player. Now, whether she can get to the superstar type level, I think that’s going to depend on making that adjustment to playing against the bigger, better players, but she’s going to be a good player. How good? That will probably depend on the system she gets into, and her continued development. We’ve heard good things about her work ethic so I say she’s pretty close to being a can’t-miss prospect.”

FB: How about Aisha Mohammed, another player from Virginia?

GK: “She’s a bruising rebounder. She averages almost 10 rebounds a game, almost 13 points a game. She’s going to pound you and bang inside. She’s got some decent touch around the basket. She’s a pure, physical, tough rebounder who could be a good role player for a team. Coming in, she’s going to board the ball. She’s got to improve her free throw shooting, and I think be able to develop a mid-range jump shot.”