2005 Shooting Guard Prospects
Shooting guard is usually amongst the deepest positions in any Draft, but the WNBA hasn't seen a tremendous amount of depth there the past two seasons. In Alana Beard last year, the WNBA added a potential superstar, but only one other shooting guard - Chandi Jones - was selected in the first round.
This year sees a somewhat similar situation. Tan White is a star in the making who could end up being the top overall pick this Saturday. Tanisha Wright is also likely to go in the first round, but a third first-round pick would be a surprise. That's not to say there isn't potential beyond those two, but players like Erica Taylor are probably going to have to make their mark in the WNBA from the second round or later.
Storm Outlook: Re-signed Betty Lennox is the Storm's unquestioned starter at shooting guard after winning Finals MVP honors last season. Michelle Greco backed up Lennox, but saw only limited action as the Storm largely used a three-guard rotation. Greco and former Connecticut Sun guard Adrienne Johnson are in the mix for training camp, but a rookie could certainly be added to that group.
The measurements: 5-7, 155
College: Mississippi State
The skinny: Few players put up a stat line over their college career as impressive as White's at Mississippi State - 20.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists. As a senior, White led the nation in scoring at 23.5 points per game and earned the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the top player in the NCAA 5-8 and under. Therein lies the one concern about White at the WNBA level. She is a shooting guard, not a point guard, but would be one of the smaller two guards in the league. Only three starting shooting guards last season were under 5-9 - Kedra Holland-Corn (5-7) and Edna Campbell and Lennox (5-8). If anyone can overcome that, White can. She averaged better than two 3-pointers and four free throws per game as a senior, while contributing on the glass and setting up teammates. The talk around the league recently is that the Charlotte Sting could make White the top overall pick. Whether that happens or not, White will be taken in the top five picks.
The measurements: 5-11, 165
College: Penn State
The skinny: After teaming with Kelly Mazzante to form one of the NCAA's best perimeter duos in 2003-04, Wright stepped into the spotlight as a senior, averaging 19.3 points per game. At the same time, Wright predictably saw her efficiency go down; after shooting 48.3% as a junior, she dropped to 41.4% as a senior, indicating she's probably better suited as a complementary player, the role she'll play in the WNBA. While Mazzante was the bigger star in college, Wright could end up going higher in the draft and is a likely first-round pick. She stands out as a prospect with her defense; Wright was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year each of the last three seasons. A weakness is perimeter shooting; Wright made only 14 3-pointers during her college career.
The measurements: 5-10, 135
College: Louisiana Tech
The skinny: Taylor played only 16 games as a senior after giving birth to a child in December with her husband, professional boxer Jermain Taylor. That should have been Taylor's breakout season after she averaged 13.8 points per game as a junior playing alongside senior forwards Amisha Carter and Trina Frierson, both of them second-round picks a year ago. Out of game shape, her numbers plummeted when she did return, though Taylor deserves plenty of credit for coming back so quickly. Taylor had emerged as a versatile player, a two-time WAC All-Defense pick who averaged 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a junior to add to her scoring ability. Teams may need to be patient with Taylor this season, but that patience could pay off. Did you know? Taylor's middle name is Charlotte, meaning if she went by her hyphenated last name of Smith-Taylor, her full name includes that of Sting forward Charlotte Smith-Taylor. (That might only interest me.)
The measurements: 5-11, 165
College: Florida State
The skinny: Hodges' twin sister, Doneeka, was a second-round pick by the Los Angeles Sparks last year who averaged 1.8 points as a rookie in 24 games. Roneeka is a year behind because she transferred from Louisiana State, where she had teamed with her sister, to Florida State for her senior season. After playing a limited role at LSU, Hodges starred for the Seminoles, averaging 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds during her one season at Florida State. Her field-goal percentage (46.8%) was solid given her go-to role and perimeter game. After White, Hodges and Taylor are the best scoring two guards available in the draft, though other players bring more in other areas of the game. Where that leaves Hodges in the draft will be determined by team needs.
The measurements: 5-11, 150
The skinny: A gritty player who inspired Rutgers boosters to create the Chelsea Newton Scarlet Heart Award, Newton battled injuries throughout much of her career but still was a key player for the Scarlet Knights. Newton will carve out a WNBA career for herself at the defensive end of the court. The Big East's Defensive Player of the Year, Newton has good size for a guard and handled tough defensive assignments throughout her college career with Rutgers' difficult schedule. Offensively, Newton will have to improve her shooting ability to avoid being something of a liability. She averaged only 9.4 points as a senior, connecting on only 11 3-pointers.
|OTHER SHOOTING GUARD PROSPECTS|
Jessalyn Deveney, Boston College - Fine scorer who averaged 16+ ppg the last three years.
Laurie Koehn, Kansas State - NCAA's all-time leader in 3-pointers and a tireless worker.
Caity Matter, Ohio State -Recipient of 2003 Edward S. Steitz Award, presented to best 3-point shooter in country.
Sara Potts, Kentucky -Another shooter (37.7% from 3-point range career) with good size.