Peters Fits What Lynx Looked For In 2012 Draft
Email / Twitter
Devereaux Peters admitted Monday she was surprised the Minnesota Lynx took her third overall in the 2012 WNBA Draft. Excited as she was to join the defending champions, the 6-foot-2 forward out of Notre Dame simply didn’t expect to be taken so high.
“It was a complete and total shock,” Peters said.
But in talking with Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, the selection went according to plan. Reeve said the team has watched Peters extensively for two years while with the Irish and had the skill set they were looking for: A selfless player who can rebound the basketball, play solid defense and have the ability to both be a role player and learn from the veterans on the depth chart early in her career.
Not to mention Peters is coming from a Notre Dame squad that went to two straight NCAA championship games and has a genuine excitement about joining the organization. She’s a player that drastically changed the way the Irish played while on the floor, Reeve said, yet was willing to let Skylar Diggins and Natalie Novosel do the majority of the scoring.
“The separator for us is Devereaux would be excited to come join the champion and understand, again, she deferred again at Notre Dame,” Reeve said. “The adjustment isn’t going to be that great for her.”
Peters’ main objective in her rookie season will be to learn from Taj McWilliams-Franklin, the 14-year veteran who joked with Reeve on Monday that the team will need to replace her in the future.
“I got an e-mail from Taj today saying, ‘Coach, I’m old,’ and we ought to think about replacing her at some point,” Reeve said. “So we took her advice and we thought Devereaux Peters best resembles Taj.”
A two-time BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and All-BIG EAST First Team member, Peters finished her career as only the second player in school history to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 150 blocks and 150 steals. She finished her career averaging 10.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.7 steals in 22.3 minutes per contest.
As a senior last season, Peters helped lead the Irish to their second NCAA Championship game in as many seasons. She was a finalist for the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year as well as an AP All-American honorable mention. Johnson finished the season as the only BIG EAST player to rank in the top ten in the conference in the three major defensive categories, ranking first in rebounding, third in blocked shots (2.0 bpg) and ninth in steals (2.0 spg).
“I’m just extremely excited that I got picked by Minnesota,” Peters said. “I can’t wait to get out there and start training camp and do whatever I can to already continue the amazing squad they have over there.”
Reeve and Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith said Peters will need to improve her scoring as well as cut down on her fouls. She’s been known to get into foul trouble during her college career. Reeve said she’s improved greatly in her senior season.
“We really think she’s a winner,” Griffith said. “We really think she fits so well into our system and is going to be able to come in from Day 1 and do the things we need to do to be successful.”
Rounding out the draft
Peters was the headliner on a day in which the Lynx had six draft picks—two in the first round, three in the second and one in the third. The Lynx took center Damiris Dantas out of Brazil with the 12th pick, forward Julie Wojta from Wisconsin-Green Bay with the 18th pick, forward Kayla Standish from Gonzaga with the 19th pick, guard Nika Baric from Slovenia with the 20th pick and guard Jacki Gemelos from Southern California with the 31st pick.
Griffith said the team’s biggest goal for this year’s draft, particularly with all its draft picks, was to build for the future. With only one roster spot open heading into camp, being able to defer picks for future seasons was an important piece of the puzzle.
That way the Lynx can hold onto players’ rights with hopes they will develop and join the team down the road.
“More than anything what is significant is we have nine of the 11 [players from last year] back,” Reeve said. “Often times what happens to championship teams is you have free agency and then maybe a key piece, whether it’s a starter or a bench player, you might lose those pieces.”
Dantas, Baric and Gemelos all are deferred picks—Dantas and Baric being international players, and Gemelos coming off a knee injury in December. Griffith said the timeline for these players possibly coming to play for the Lynx is not an immediate concern. The biggest thing will be agreeing on both sides when the right time will be.
“That all depends on their development, their situation with their national teams, and it’s something we talked about,” Griffith said. “There is some discussion even after the 2016 Olympics. That’s not a timeline that scares us, either. We’re talking about 19-year-olds. Even after the Olympics, they’re just 24.”
Meanwhile, Reeve said she expects both Wojta and Standish to compete with the rest of the players at camp and fight for that lone open roster spot.
She said Wojta fared well in all the statistical ratings the Lynx give players, and that her tenacity as a defender and versatility on the floor will give her a good chance to compete for a roster spot.
“She plays the 4, but she will be a 3 in the WNBA and I think you’ll find she’s a great competitor,” Reeve said. “And we fully expect her to come in here and try to make our decision on the final roster spot very difficult.”
Standish is a face-up power forward who can pass, Reeve said, and she’ll get her shot to show the coaching staff what she can do.
“She’s a great player that has had a really nice career and messed up my pool in both years in the field of 64,” Reeve joked. “So I’m a believer in Gonzaga.”
Meet the Lynx last 5 draft picks
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.