Name: Briann January
Height: 5'8"
Position: Guard
Class: Senior
School: Arizona State



Dynamic and explosive point guard whose combination of top-notch skills and athleticism place her among the most coveted players in the draft at her position. January was named the Pac-10's first-ever Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. One of the leading assist-makers in ASU history, she has improved her offensive game in 2008-09 to include a more consistent three-point shot. As of Jan. 26, January has connected on 46.1% of her attempts from beyond the arc. A great floor leader and general, her draft stock is on the rise, much like her Sun Devil team. It's a good bet that she'll be one of the first three point guards taken in the 2009 WNBA Draft.



"January is a combo 1-2 guard and a good defender."



Graham Hays, Women's Basketball Contributor for ESPN

It’s sometimes difficult to steal the spotlight away from Stanford and California in the Pac-10, but January is quietly polishing off a brilliant career in Tempe. She’s an ideal candidate to play with talent in the WNBA, with a point guard’s pass-first mindset but also the outside shot and penetration ability to make defenses respect her. There’s not much separating her from Montgomery and Toliver, other than attention.



Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic

January brings a lot of defensive energy to floor, along with an ability to stretch defenses with her three-point shooting ability. What do you think is January's biggest strength at the college level and what does she need to work on the most when she makes that transition from the Pac-10 to the WNBA?

January is very unselfish, sometimes to a fault. She recently became the Arizona State career assists leader, breaking a record that stood since 1986. "Setting my teammates up for awesome moves or awesome finishes, that gets me more hyped up than making a shot myself," she recently told me. She was the inaugural Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and typically draws the toughest perimeter assigment on a team that specializes in defense. She is quick, helping her to penetrate and get to the line, but also thin and will need to get stronger to absorb pro pounding. Also she needs to continue to develop her scoring mentality.

January has improved her numbers across the board in this, her senior season; as of January 23, averaging a career-high 12.1 ppg, 5.5 apg and 2.3 spg, while shooting a career-best 45.6% from beyond the arc. What has been the biggest reason for her improvement in 2008-09?

"This whole year I've tried to change my game mentality from more of a pass first, which I've been forever, to more like a score first mentality," she told me. "Just looking for my shot initially and taking what the defense gives me." She's been successful to some degree, hitting seven 3-pointers in one game and regularly cranking up her offense in the second half to help put teams away.

What has impressed you most about January in her four years at Arizona State?

Her stellar character and commitment to being a great teammate stand out even above her physical talents. She will grade out extremely high on intangibles when it comes to the draft.

In what area can January help a WNBA team out the most in come April's draft?

Don't expect her to bring a 20-point scoring average. She is a combination guard at Arizona State, who plays more off the ball but handles it especially well in transition. Most people I've talked to see her being a point guard in the WNBA with scoring ability. She would be good with a team that pushes the ball and wants to score in transition and should have a more than respectable assist/turnover ratio.

How does January compare to some of the other top collegiate senior point guard prospects, including UConn's Renee Montgomery, Maryland's Kristi Tolliver and Kansas State's Shalee Lehning?

I'm going to pass on this one because I haven't seen enough of the others to make a comparison. But I believe she is at or near the top of draft eligible college guards and is the best prospect straight out of Arizona State in the WNBA era (Kym Hampton is from ASU but played overseas for many years before joining the league at its inception). Her stat lines in the boxscore aren't always dazzling, but she's always making a contribution on both ends of the floor.





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