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2008 Power Forward Prospects

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Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com | April 7, 2008
Storm.wnba.com is taking a look at the top prospects for Wednesday's WNBA Draft on a position-by-position basis. Today, we move into the frontcourt with power forwards. Tennessee's Candace Parker is the likely No. 1 overall pick. She could be joined in the top five picks by North Carolina's Erlana Larkins and Maryland's Crystal Langhorne, while six power forwards are potential first-round picks. Power forward could be a spot for the Storm to look to add depth in the draft behind Lauren Jackson.

Also see: PG Prospects | SG Prospects | SF Prospects

CANDACE PARKER
From: Tennessee | Height: 6-4 | Born: 4/19/86
Key Stats - PPG: 21.4 | RPG: 8.5 | APG: 2.6
The question was not if Parker would be the top player available in the WNBA Draft but instead when. A fourth-year junior, Parker could potentially have been eligible for last year's draft but opted to wait until this year to enter with her graduating class, forfeiting her final year of eligibility at Tennessee. Parker has nothing left to prove at the NCAA level, having earned multiple Player of the Year awards the last two seasons. Tomorrow, she will look to win a second straight NCAA title, having played through a dislocated shoulder suffered in the regional final. Already, Parker has starred on the U.S. National Team, and she enters the WNBA as ready to contribute as any rookie in league history.

ERLANA LARKINS
From: North Carolina | Height: 6-1 | Born: 4/2/86
Key Stats - PPG: 13.5 | RPG: 9.5 | APG: 3.1
Larkins leads the second echelon of players available in the draft after the consensus top three of Parker, Sylvia Fowles and Candice Wiggins. She could still go amongst the top three picks if the Lynx decide to stay put and address their needs in the frontcourt. At 6-1, Larkins is undersized for a modern pro forward, but she stands out because of her ability to play in the aggressive, up-tempo style favored by the Tar Heels and for her passing ability - more than three assists per game as a senior. Still, the NCAA Tournament showed why Larkins might have a tough adjustment to the WNBA level. In two regional games, Larkins combined for just 12 points on 4-of-23 shooting, though she did grab 23 rebounds.

CRYSTAL LANGHORNE
From: Maryland | Height: 6-2 | Born: 10/27/86
Key Stats - PPG: 17.3 | RPG: 9.4 | APG: 1.3
After Fowles, Langhorne is probably the best post scorer available in the draft. The lefty's polished moves and touch inside have allowed her to shoot 60%-plus from the field the last three seasons, including an incredible 70.7% mark as a junior. Langhorne is also strong on the glass (she's Maryland's all-time leader in both scoring and rebounding), but less of a factor on the defensive end, blocking only 54 shots in four seasons. Still, Langhorne could go as high as the top five.

TASHA HUMPHREY
From: Georgia | Height: 6-3 | Born: 12/29/85
Key Stats - PPG: 16.7 | RPG: 9.1 | APG: 2.1
Humphrey's career at Georgia started brilliantly but ended with a sense of unfulfilled expectation. She was voted Co-Freshman of the Year by the USBWA along with Wiggins (Parker missed that season), but never improved much from that performance statistically. Considered a likely lottery pick entering her senior season, Humphrey is now expected to go in the second half of the first round, possibly to the nearby Atlanta Dream. Humphrey still has all the requisite skills to be a dominant force in the paint, along with the ability to step away from the basket and score. Will she put them together more consistently at the WNBA level? We'll see.

CRYSTAL KELLY
From: Western Kentucky | Height: 6-3 | Born: 9/15/86
Key Stats - PPG: 22.6 | RPG: 10.5 | APG: 1.9
During her final home game at Western Kentucky, Kelly had her No. 42 jersey retired and promptly dropped the same number of points on Louisiana-Monroe to set a school record. The WNBA will represent a step up in competition as compared to the Sun Belt Conference. In the NCAA Tournament, Kelly had 17 points and seven rebounds in Western Kentucky's first-round loss to UTEP, but the Hilltoppers were beaten by 32 points. However, reports were positive from the WNBA's Pre-Draft Camp.

OTHER POWER FORWARD PROSPECTS
Lauren Ervin, Arkansas - Double-double player suffered torn ACL in SEC opener and will not play 2008 WNBA season.
Jackie McFarland, Colorado - Two-time All-Big 12 First Teamer finished career second in school history in scoring.
Lindsey Pluimer, UCLA - Pac-10 Scholar Athlete of the Year can play both forward positions in mold of Kristen Rasmussen.
JoKeirra Sneed, Louisiana Tech - First-Team All-WAC pick averaged a double-double and pulled down 18 boards in matchup with Tennessee.
Krystal Vaughn, Virginia Commonwealth - First-team all-CAA performer led the Rams to a 26-8 record, the best record in school history.