Kayla Pedersen

Name: Kayla Pedersen
Height: 6'4"
Position: Power Forward
Class: Senior
School: Stanford
School Bio: Kayla Pedersen



Bio

As one of the draft's smartest players, forward Kayla Pedersen is the prototypical Stanford player: Versatile, does all the intangibles and can shoot the three-ball (121 treys for her career). Pedersen is a key player on a Cardinal team that has already knocked off Connecticut once this season and may have to do so another time to win the NCAA Championship. As a senior, Pedersen is averaging 12.8 points, a team-leading 7.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. She has started all 145 games of her career, highlighted by three straight trips to the Final Four.



Coach Reeve's Thoughts

Skilled forward who can pass, rebound and score.



An Outside Look

Graham Hays, ESPN.com

She's a power forward, she's a small forward, she's a shooting guard. If you asked her to drive the bus, she'd probably read the manual in a night and pass the test the next morning. Pedersen may well be one of the five or six most talented players in the nation, but she's spent her entire career at Stanford playing alongside others in that same discussion, from Candice Wiggins and Jayne Appel to Nnemkadi Ogwumike. The result is that rarest of basketball prizes a player good enough to influence a game with 20 shots or five shots.


Michelle Smith, Left Coast Hoops

Does Kayla remind you at all of Jayne Appel in terms of her ability to do the little things that help clubs win ballgames?
Kayla has been a do-everything player for Stanford throughout her career. While Jayne Appel was a constant presence in the post, Pedersen began her career as a low-block player and will finish it out on the wing. She can handle the ball, she can shoot the 3, but she's also got a great game around the basket and is a strong rebounder. She has one of the most versatile games in the country.

How have you seen Pedersen's game develop over her career at Stanford?
Pedersen's development has come in her move to the perimeter. She's widened the range of her offensive game tremendously.

Do you think Kayla will be able to hit the three-point shot consistently at the next level? How have teams defended against her ability to knock down the outside shot this season?
Kayla should be a good perimeter shooter at the next level in that she is not hesitant to take the shot when open and also works well off screens. She's active without the ball, which should give her opportunities for open looks.

What position do you see Pedersen playing at the next level?
Pedersen's size and strength could make her a '4', but Pedersen could be a strong '3' player for someone because she has perimeter skills and could create mismatches.

What would you consider to be Pedersen's strengths on the court?
Pedersen is the ultimate cool customer. She is both durable and unflappable.


Elliot Almond, Mercury News

Does Kayla remind you at all of Jayne Appel in terms of her ability to do the little things that help clubs win ballgames?
Kayla and Jayne have entirely different styles. They are completely different ballplayers. But they share a common thread in that both have a killer instinct. Sometimes their biggest contributions are, indeed, the "little things" that lead to victories. It could be the textbook screen or perfect box-out. Getting a rebound when the team needs it the most. I would say Kayla has this gift even moreso than Appel. They call her the "Assassin" because her expression never changes. You cannot tell if she just scored as game-winning 3-pointer or made an errant pass by her face.

How have you seen Pedersen's game develop over her career at Stanford?
She was ready to go from the first day. But she didn't stop trying to improve. It has been interesting watching Pedersen's development this season without Appel in the post. Kayla has mastered every position. She doesn't play the point but she often brings the ball down court when needed. What is so amazing this season is how Pedersen has been able to be a post presence on rebounding but a devastating wing on offense. She only got to this point through great improvement.

Do you think Kayla will be able to hit the three-point shot consistently at the next level? How have teams defended against her ability to knock down the outside shot this season?
Because of Pedersen's desire to keep improving there is no reason she'll have trouble shooting well in the pros. In fact, with school out of the way, I suspect she'll even improve her shooting. She has become a true wing this season. She's not a power forward, except when it comes to crashing the boards. Pedersen also has developed a quick first step that has allowed her be effective in driving the lane. Opponents probably could shut her down completely from outside but would risk allowing Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike 25 each in the paint. Pedersen almost always lets the game come to her. She rarely forces her shot. And when it's not going well, she's the one with double figures in rebounding. One big question, however, is how she will react to a different offensive scheme. Tara VanDerveer's triangle offense has allowed Pedersen to find open shots from outside.

What position do you see Pedersen playing at the next level?
Kayla's probably going to be more effective on the wing if she's in the WNBA. It probably will depend on the makeup of the team, but with her shooting range and willingness to rebound she gives a coach a lot of options when placed at the wing.

What would you consider to be Pedersen's strengths on the court?
When considering the two of them (Pedersen and Pohlen), their biggest strength is an unwillingness to give in. They just will do anything to help their teams win. We could describe that as attitude. Individually, each has specific attributes. Pedersen: Versatility, silky shooting touch, great ballhandling skills for a 6-4 player, great instincts for the ball and rebound timing and an uncanny knowledge of the game.


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