Basketball Hall of Famer and
ESPN analyst Ann Meyers breaks down the frontcourt players available in this year’s
draft. Based on the players she has watched over the course of the season and
in preparation for the upcoming WNBA Draft, Ann offers her insight and scouting
reports for the top forwards and centers in the class of 2005.
Batteast, forward, Notre Dame - Such a fluid player who is so smooth on the
court. She just looks like she floats out there. Like many other frontcourt players
coming into the WNBA, she will need to improve her outside shot and ball handling,
but she is good going to basket, has a variety of shots inside and knows how to
get to the basket. An athlete.
Nikita Bell, forward, North Carolina
- Another strong player, more of an inside player who can put the ball on the
floor and get to the basket, is physical, but needs to improve outside game.
Braxton, center, Georgia - A big, strong player with a lot of talent who could
have been a top pick had she not just had a baby. What kind of shape is she in
after being out of the game for awhile? Regardless, she is a banger, a physical
player with soft touch around basket and a variety of moves.
Earley, forward, Vanderbilt - At 5-10, she is strong as a bull. Coming out
of school, her game reminds me of a lot Adia Barnes. But it will be interesting
to see how she is used in the WNBA. She is a post player who can handle the ball
but needs to improve her outside shooting. She has a quick first step and a variety
of moves, yet is not intimidated going inside. She is also a good passer.
Ely, forward, Tennessee - A versatile player, she likes to put the ball on
the floor, is tough to defend inside, and has a lot of inside moves. She also
needs to improve on outside shot. She is strong and is probably more comfortable
playing the four with her back to the basket. However, she probably improved her
chances by playing at the three this season. She is a 12-foot-andin type of player
who will adapt her game at the next level.
Katie Feenstra, center, Liberty
- Great size, good footwork and can go either way inside. She has some good mobility,
but has to get quicker. She also has to get stronger and more physical and use
her 6-8 frame. But she knows what she needs to work on. Teams will want to work
with her because she has such great touch around the basket.
center, Texas Tech - Because of her size and her numbers at a good school
in a great conference, she is going to get looked at. The public probably isn't
as familiar with her, but she had a good senior year and has a variety of moves
inside. You can't always teach that.
Sandora Irvin, forward, TCU
- Probably a Top 3 pick. She is long, plays so well on the defensive end and has
a good inside game. She must get stronger, but she is already strong now, has
good footwork and is efficient around basket. But what a defensive presence. Lots
of teams would love to have a player like that.
forward, Oregon - A strong player with good range for her size. At 6-4, she
can shoot the three and is very strong, but has to get better at ball handling.
She is a player that many people may have not heard about, but she was instrumental
in Oregon going as far as they did.
Sancho Lyttle, forward, Houston
- Still very raw without a whole lot of experience, but she is another pure athlete.
Very long, good defensively and can jump over everyone. She has to improve her
offensive game and will get stronger.
Kristen Mann, forward, UC-Santa
Barbara - At 6-2, she is a strong player who played more inside in college.
She has worked on her outside shot and improved both her 3-point game her inside-15-feet
range. She needs to work on her ball handling, but overall, a solid back-to-the-basket
player, good in the lane and a good defensive player.
center, Minnesota - A Top 3 player with terrific footwork and a physical mentality.
But she is also one of the best passers in the game. I think she must work on
her speed and can be in a little bit better shape for this league. Can she defend
a 4 or a 5 like Lisa Leslie, Lauren Jackson or even a Tari Phillips. Offensively,
she has a soft touch, great hands and goes both ways well with a variety of moves
Jessica Moore, center, Connecticut - A talented player coming
from top program, she has played against the competition at a championship level.
She is still a bit slight and has to improve her outside shooting and get stronger
inside, but she has great footwork, surprises people on defense and is a very
Heather Schreiber, forward, Texas -More of a finesse
player with the outside game, but people will look at her coming out of Texas.
Wecker, forward, Kansas State - A Top 3 to 5 pick. A lot of people compared
her to Katie Smith because she has such strength. She has the ability to put ball
on floor, can shoot the three, goes to the basket well, but needs to work on her
defense a little bit. Can she start in this league next year? Sure - with the
right team. Seattle, Sacramento, Charlotte - teams that need outside shooting.
Williams, forward, Illinois - Another great athlete. She has to improve her
outside game and get stronger. The WNBA is so physical that it will be an awakening
for so many of these players coming out who are not aware of just how quick, fast
and physical the game is. Shots that you thought you could get off in college
are a lot harder in the pros. It's a different ball game.
Overall my top
seven or so picks are White, Irvin, McCarville, Wecker, Wright, Johnson and Braxton.
Of course, it all depends on who is picking… We soon shall see. Tune in to
ESPN2 at noon on Saturday, April 16!