Coach Kloppenburg’s 2009 Draft Breakdown: Part 3

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 GK’s comments on some of the top players, alphabetically.

This is part three of the series. Talk about Renee Montgomery from Connecticut.

Gary Kloppenburg: “Renee is obviously one of the top two or three point guards coming out this year. She’s a very skilled ball handler. She’s a leader on the floor, she sets her teammates up, and is excellent in the running game. She’s got great speed and quickness, and she’s just a deadly, deadly three-point shooter as well. She’s one of those kids, too, that I think can play a couple positions. Although she’s little for the 2, I think she can still swing out there and play on the wing and defend the 2s in our league because of her defensive ability and quickness.”

FB: What keeps her from becoming a great player in this league? What does she need to work on?

GK: “I think she’s very skilled right now. I just think she’s another one I’d put in a can’t-miss category. Now, the question will be how much will you play her at the 2, and where’s she’s going to be the most effective? Obviously she’s a great point guard, but I also think she can develop into an excellent scorer in our league. So, I think her adjustment will be to determine where and how a team will utilize her best.”

FB: Ok, Ashley Paris from Oklahoma?

GK: “Ashley Paris, lets see. She’s improved a lot. She is probably one of the most improved players from last year to this year. She worked hard on her strength and conditioning. She’s working on developing her outside shot, so I like her intensity. She plays hard every night. She rebounds, and I think she’s one of those players that are going to keep developing. I think she has improved a lot. I think she’s trying to develop her perimeter game. It’s still a work in progress, but I think for our level, for her ability to play the floor, and go outside and shoot outside, I think is an excellent move for her to work on that. I think she’s another player who is showing she’s got the work ethic and wants to improve. I think she can be a very good addition to a team in our league.”

FB:Ok, where does she need to get better?

GK: “I think she needs to continue improving her outside shooting and her free throw shooting. She and her sister (Courtney) both get to the line because they’re physical and they bang.”

FB: Ok, let’s talk about her sister Courtney Paris. What makes her different from Ashley?

GK: “Well, she’s a pure center – good size and strong. Courtney is skilled around the basket, finishes really well with her left hand and her right hand. She’s been good for a high double-double for her whole career so she’s just productive. She is not really a great athlete, and she doesn’t jump that well, but she just finds a way. She uses her positioning so well that she’s a great rebounder on both ends of the floor, and she’s an excellent finisher around the basket.”

FB:What is her biggest weakness or area she needs to work on?

GK: “Our game is a faster-paced game, with the 24-second clock. I think getting up and down the floor is going to be an area she’ll need work. If she improves in that area, she’ll become a very good player in our league.”

FB: Ok, talking about players, this player from Baylor has a great name. Jhasmin Player.

GK: “Jhasmin Player, she’s got the best name in the draft! She can play a couple different spots, kind of a 2-3 combo player. She runs the floor well, and can score inside and out. I think the area I see she really needs to improve is her outside shooting. She’s got decent percentages but doesn’t take a lot of them, so I think for her development she needs to keep improving that 3-point range on her shooting. But she’s a tough kid. She can play. She’s one of the reasons Baylor has done so well this year, so she’s definitely a nice one to keep an eye on.”

FB: Where does she need to get better?

GK: “I think her perimeter shooting because she’s going to definitely have to play at probably the 2-guard or maybe some 3 in our league. Her outside shooting, shooting off the dribble and her free throw shooting are areas that she needs to improve on.”

FB: How about another player from the Big XII, Takia Starks of Texas A&M?.

GK:Starks is a high-energy scorer. She gets out and she runs. She can finish. She finds a way to score, so I think that’s her value. She’s kind of one of those energy sparkplug, microwave type of players that can get it going and can score in bunches. She could come in off the bench or just get you points when you need a spark. She’s going to put some pressure on defenses with her ability to score.

FB: Do you compare her to a Tan White, the way you describe her?

GK:She’s similar. She’s an energy player. I see her as like a backup, a sixth or seventh player coming in with the ability to change the tempo of the game, kind of like Sherill Baker. She’s athletic, can really run and finds a way to score. The area she’s got to improve is her outside shooting. I think she’s a little bit streaky as an outside shooter, and her three-point percentage I think she wants to bring that up.