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2006 Power Forward Prospects

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Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com | March 31, 2006
It wasn't a great start for the Class of 2005's power forwards. Of the eight power forwards storm.wnba.com previewed a year ago, only four were even drafted. Just two made opening-day rosters, though one, Oregon product Cathrine Kraayeveld, was picked up later in the season by New York and ended up having a fairly productive rookie campaign. Janel McCarville was the only first-round pick, made the top overall selection by Charlotte after starring at the University of Minnesota. But McCarville battled back injuries early in her WNBA career and was never able to find much playing time in a crowded Sting frontcourt, averaging just 11.1 minutes per game.

Storm Outlook: The Storm has a pretty fair power forward in perennial All-Star Lauren Jackson. In free agency this off-season, the Storm added veteran Wendy Palmer as a backup for Jackson, giving them depth at power forward. Still, a power forward would be a reasonable pick for the Storm, especially if that player had the ability to play either small forward or center.

SOPHIA YOUNG

WNBA.com profile
The measurements: 6-1
College: Baylor
The skinny: A native of the West Indies, Young was lightly recruited at best entering Baylor. Four years, a national championship and a Big 12 Player of the Year award later later, Young is one of the most coveted players in next week's WNBA Draft. An exceptional athlete, Young is quicker than almost any defender she faces, causing matchup problems. Her height will limit her somewhat at the power forward position in the WNBA, but Young plays bigger than 6-1 because of her leaping ability and can also play on the wing. The Big 12's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, Young was a First Team AP All-America pick and is unlikely to last past the fourth pick of the Draft.

CANDICE DUPREE

WNBA.com profile
The measurements: 6-2, 165
College: Temple
The skinny: Playing for Houston Comets guard Dawn Staley at Temple, Dupree has developed into one of the college game's top players. Dupree has been the A-10's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year each of the last two seasons. Not particularly big for a post, Dupree still has put up big numbers, including 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game over the course of her career. Concerns about Dupree's slight frame hurts her WNBA stock somewhat, but her decision not to attend the WNBA's Pre-Draft Camp has fueled speculation that she's moving up draft boards.

KIM SMITH

WNBA.com profile
The measurements: 6-1
College: Utah
The skinny: A native of British Columbia, Smith had an incredible career at Utah, winning or sharing Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors each of her four years in college. Smith averaged no worse than 15 points and six rebounds per game in her four seasons, peaking at 19.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a senior. Smith's polished game and excellent shooting ability were a perfect fit for the precise motion-based offense run at Utah under long-time coach Elaine Elliott. Smith is just 6-1 and not an exceptional athlete, but she's very long and would pose matchup problems at power forward by spreading the floor on offense (she hit 38.0% from downtown in her college career, though just 33.3% as a senior). Smith had three double-doubles in four NCAA Tournament games, including 26 points and 11 boards against Arizona State, to boost her stock.

LIZ SHIMEK

WNBA.com profile
The measurements: 6-1, 210
College: Michigan State
The skinny: The Spartans all-time leading rebounder, Shimek had an outstanding senior season, stepping up to replace the production lost when guard Kristin Haynie and center Kelli Roehrig graduated off of Michigan State's 2005 national runner-ups. As a senior, Shimek averaged 17.9 points and 8.3 rebounds, shooting 54.3% from the field. Yet another undersized power forward at 6-1, Shimek is considered a borderline first-round pick who could be a wild card next Tuesday. She has some ability to play out on the perimeter, but was at her best in the paint in college as a creative post scorer.

LATOYA DAVIS

WNBA.com profile
The measurements: 6-1
College: Texas Tech
The skinny: A reserve her first two seasons at Texas Tech, Davis really came on as a senior, averaging 18.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. A force in the paint at (wouldn't you guess it?) 6-1, Davis shot 60.2% during her college career and was named First Team All-Big 12 as a senior. The good news for her WNBA career is that Davis is also capable of stepping off the block and playing at the high post.

OTHER POWER FORWARD PROSPECTS
Ambrosia Anderson, BYU - Co-MWC Player of the Year in 2005-06 (with Smith) averaged 17.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game; has 3-point range.
Dalila Eshe, Florida - Only a key player as a senior, but averaged 14.2 points and 7.1 rebounds and has good size (6-3).
Crystal Kemp, Kansas - All-Big 12 First Teamer averaged 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds as senior; wears #40, just like Shawn Kemp (no relation).
Brooke Queenan, Boston College - Widebody averaged 14.9 points and 8.0 rebounds but foul trouble is an issue.
Abiola Wabara, Baylor - Young's teammate will skip last year of eligibility (she's already 24) and enter the Draft; great defender reminiscent of Sacramento's Hamchetou Maiga.