Dec. 25: Updated college seniors' statistics|
Nov. 13: Preseason look at
the top Draft prospects
WNBA Draft Prospects: Potential First Round Picks
January 24, 2007 -- Prior to the start of the college basketball season, the WNBA Player Personnel Department identified a master list of top college seniors to keep an eye on this season in anticipation of the 2007 WNBA Draft in April. With the season now about half over, we check back in with the WNBA's Carla McGhee. A former All-American at the University of Tennessee, McGhee played several years in the WNBA and won an Olympic gold medal prior to joining the league's front office. Among her many responsibilities, she coordinates all college scouting for the league and travels the country to scout of the top talents. Instead of looking at every player, she identifies 14 women who could be first round picks (as of January 23, 2007).
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1. Lindsey Harding, guard, Duke
Right now, because of the way she's playing and the way she leads a team, she'd be my No. 1 pick. She's so mature and she has the ability not only to create her own shot, but she makes other players better. The key is her maturity. If Duke wins the championship, it will be because they have the best point guard in the country. And then, her defense is just astounding. She has the ability to shut down other point guards from trying to get their team going.
The rest in no particular order:
Ivory Latta, guard, North Carolina
She's been up and down. She hasn't been playing as well as she can play, but you have to remember that she's Ivory Latta.
Eshaya Murphy, guard, USC
She has the ability to play 1, 2 and 3. She's quick, she can shoot, she can defend. She has a total, all-around game. Her only downside is that she's in the Pac 10, and the teams and fans on the East Coast and in the South don't get to see a lot of her games because they come on so late because of the time difference.
Noelle Quinn, guard, UCLA
She's been up for all kinds of awards. Obviously she's a go for the draft. Her ability to flat-out score is remarkable.
Carla Thomas, forward, Vanderbilt
I like what I've seen out of her in the years I've coached. She is a workhorse, and she's really honed her ball-handling skills. She can literally cross you over at the top of the key and has the ability to get to the basket with her left or right hand. She clogs up the middle, she's a big body and she can run the floor. She's probably not the quickest, and if she were to go to a team like Phoenix with their pace, they would lug her around the court. But she can grind it out in the post and can step out to consistently nail that 18- to 20-foot shot. And she has three-point range. The thing I like about her is that she's not going to try to do too much. She does what she does and she does it well. She works the whole game. And she's a great rebounder.
Jessica Davenport, center, Ohio State
What can you say? Big body, All-American, probably going to be the Big Ten Player of the Year. She can shoot and she's a lefty. If I have one problem with her, it's that I would want her to show more emotion. She can score, she alters opponents' shots. She's just great. I would say she'll go No. 1, 2 or 3 in the lottery.
Bernice Mosby, forward, Baylor
She used to be at Florida. She's a power forward who runs the floor like crazy. She can score in and out and she can handle the ball. The biggest knock on her has been her maturity off the court. After sitting out a year and transferring to Baylor, she's bought into the Kim Mulkey system. Now her numbers are great and her team is winning. I think she's going to be a great asset to a WNBA team.
Tiffany Jackson, forward, Texas
She's just a solid all-around player. She's been knocked for choking in big games, but she's having a good senior campaign. She's surrounded by good guards. She scores, she has great lateral movement. She can defend on the wing as well as inside. She likes to block shots. She's nice.
Allison Bales, center, Duke
Big body, big girl, but the thing I like most about her is her passing ability from the high post. A team that gets her is just going to be able to pull out their big and run a 1-4 cutting motion, with a high-low passing game. And now she's even finishing. With her on the inside and Lindsey Harding on the outside, Duke is just scary. Look at what they did to Tennessee the other night.
Kamesha Hairston, forward, Temple
She's a contender to go late in the first round, depending on which teams pick on need and which teams go for pure talent. Hairston is near the top of the nation in scoring. I've seen her play on three different occasions and she is smooth. She has the perfect WNBA body. She's a three player who can create her own shot and she can play inside. But the thing that makes her special is that she's so active and tough. Once again, (Temple coach) Dawn (Staley) has pulled another rabbit out of her hat after Candice DuPree last year. A lot of coaches are talking about Hairston, so where she falls will be predicated on who's looking for what, when, and if there are any big trades. If she's not a first-rounder, she'll go at the top of the second round.
Jillian Robbins, forward, Tulsa
Another probable late first-rounder. She's a true power forward. There was a story written about her in USA TODAY, about the fact that she has a child and two jobs and is working like crazy. The only knock on her is that she's had two knee surgeries, but you wouldn't know it by watching her play.
Brooke Smith, center, Stanford
She's a bona fide big girl who loves to play the block. Her nickname is "Old School," because she can take the ball to the hoop, is great with her hook shot with her left and right and also has that old-school up-and-under move. She'd be perfect for a team that needs a player to set up shop down on the block. She wants the ball down low and she will finish. She's not the quickest player out there, but she's smart. Obviously - she's at Stanford, right? She knows the game, plays to her strengths and knows how to make up for what she lacks.
Katie Gearlds, guard/forward, Purdue
She reminds me of Katie Douglas. Like Katie, she's versatile and can play the 3, 2 and 1. When she's on, she's on. And when she's struggling, she's struggling. But she can do it all. The only downside is that people say she plays too cool. It can seem like she's just out there going through the motions some times. I haven't seen it, but some general managers and coaches I've talked to have. Still, I like her and I think she's a first-round pick.
Armintie Price, guard, Mississippi
She's going to be in the top five. The knock on her is that she doesn't have much of a traditional offensive game. All of her offense comes from what she creates on defense. She's among the nation's leaders in steals and was the national Defensive Player of the Year (in 2005). How do you do that guarding such talented offensive players in the SEC? Well, she's on track to do it again this year. She's had triple-doubles, she has been an all-SEC first-teamer. If a club is looking to the draft for someone to jump-start their team, she is the player to do that. She can jump out of the gym.
Finally, here is a look at the rest of the big names and how they break down by conference. As you can tell, the Mid-Majors are well represented. It just goes to show you that the parity in women's college basketball has taken the next step and there are future WNBA players all over the map.
|Alisha Dill - Coastal Carolina||Tiffany Jackson - Texas|
|Rebekah Forsyth||Lynsdey Meddars- Iowa State|
|Chrissy Givens - Middle Tennessee||Bernice Mosby - Baylor|
|Gabrielle Guegbelet- Central CT||Leah Rush - Oklahoma|
|Carmen Guzman - UAB||Kiera Hardy - Nebraska|
|Laura Neaves - Rice|
|Stephanie Raymond - Northern Illinois||Cori Chambers - Georgia|
|Jillian Robbins - Tulsa||Carla Thomas - Vanderbilt|
|Armintie Price - Mississippi|
|Sidney Spencer - Tennessee|
|Linsay Harding - Duke||Dee Davis - Vanderbilt|
|Ivory Latta - UNC|
|Renee Taylor - Miami|
|Shay Doron - Maryland||Jessica Davenport- Ohio State|
|Camille Little - UNC||Katie Gearlds - Purdue|
|Allison Bales - Duke||Brandi Hoskins - Ohio State|
|Gillian Goring - NC State||Victoria Lucas-Perry - Michigan State|
|Eleanor Haring - Oregon||Jazz Covington - Louisville|
|Cameo Hicks - Washington||Jessica Dickson - South Florida|
|Eshaya Murphy - USC||Jenna Rhino - Depaul|
|Noelle Quinn - UCLA||Christina Quaye - Marquette|
|Brooke Smith - Stanford|
|Emily Westerberg - Arizona State|
|Kemesha Hairston - Temple|