2010 Center Prospects
Stormbasketball.com is taking a look at the top prospects for Thursday's WNBA Draft on a position-by-position basis. For the top players on the board, Storm Head Coach Brian Agler offers his insider take as well as a comparison to a current WNBA player. Today we wrap things up with centers.
Key Stats - PPG: 18.4 | RPG: 9.5 | BPG: 2.3
Bio: By consensus acclaim the top prospect in the 2010 Draft, Charles has split national player of the year awards with her UConn teammate Maya Moore, taking home the AP and USBWA honors as well as Big East Player of the Year. A phenomenal talent, Charles has truly come into her own during her junior and senior seasons, leading the Huskies to an undefeated record in that span.
Coach Agler says … "Obviously great with her back to the basket. Gets to the free throw line. Tremendous hands, tremendous rebounder. Really has elevated her game here the last couple of years. Finishes well with either hand."
WNBA comparison: "A smaller version of Lisa Leslie."
Key Stats - PPG: 13.6 | RPG: 8.7 | BPG: 1.6
Bio: A star from the moment she arrived on campus, the only thing Appel's college resume is missing is a championship, which she will try to collect tomorrow squaring off with Charles and UConn. After offseason knee surgery, Appel has had something of a down senior season, with teammate Nnemkadi Ogwumike emerging as the Cardinal's go-to player. Still, Appel's polished skills make her an elite prospect and the possible No. 2 overall pick.
Coach Agler says … "Excellent passer for a post player, great hands, finishes left to right. Plays primarily with her back to the basket. Great footwork. Runs the floor, has tremendous endurance. Physically strong."
WNBA comparison: "I don't know if we have anybody in our league like her right now."
Key Stats - PPG: 18.1 | RPG: 11.4 | BPG: 2.1
Bio: A three-time All-Big Ten First Team pick, Smith closed her career as the Illini's all-time leading scorer and one of just three players in conference history with at least 2,000 points and 1,00 rebounds. While her rebound and block totals testify to Smith's comfort level in the paint, she's also dangerous when she steps to the perimeter on offense, having shot 39.5 percent from beyond the arc this season
Coach Agler says … "Physically strong player. Great rebounder, great hands. Can step out and shoot the three-point shot. She's been hampered by injuries but is somebody who has managed to play well."
WNBA comparison: "Jessica Davenport with three-point range."
OTHER CENTER PROSPECTS
Allyssa DeHaan, Michigan State - At 6-9, DeHaan would be the second-tallest player in league history after Margo Dydek and the tallest active player. As you'd expect, she's a terrific shot blocker who held the NCAA's career record briefly before being passed by St. Mary's junior Louella Tomlinson. Lack of strength limits DeHaan, especially on offense.
Diana Delva, Hartford - Developed into the American East Player of the Year as a senior playing for former WNBA guard Jen Rizzotti.
Chanel Mokango, Mississippi State - Native of the Congo is a late bloomer who didn't start playing basketball until age 15. Very athletic for her size, she has the potential to continue to improve and was invited to attend the WNBA Draft in Secaucus, a good sign for her draft hopes. (Smith was not.)
Abi Olajuwon, Oklahoma - Daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem has come into her own as a senior after backing up the Paris sisters her first three years and losing weight last summer. Still a big presence in the paint, Olajuwon is strong on the glass but may have issues defending WNBA posts.