Ahead of the 2021 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, we take a closer look at some of this year’s top prospects.
Charli Collier | Forward/Center | 6-Foot-5 | Texas
1. Projected as a Lottery Pick
As soon as Collier announced her intentions to forgo her final season of eligibility and enter the WNBA Draft, she immediately jumped to the top of every mock draft projecting this year’s selections. Her combination of size (6-foot-5), skill and athleticism make her an outstanding prospect to transition well into the WNBA and be able to deal with the size, strength and physicality of the bigs in this league.
Charli Collier declares for the 2021 WNBA Draft.
— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) March 7, 2021
2. The Numbers
Collier finished her junior season with averages of 19.0 points (44th in Division I), 11.3 rebounds (17th), 1.2 blocks and shot 51.1% from the field (50th) in 31 games played. She finished among the top 10 in double-doubles (19, T-2nd), total rebounds (350, 3rd), offensive rebounds (137, 2nd), free throws made (153, 6th) and free throws attempted (191, 7th).
Junior Season Stats (2020-21): 31 GP, 32.6 MPG, 19.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 APG, 51.1 FG%, 31.3 3P%, 80.1 FT%
Texas Career Stats (3 Seasons): 92 GP, 25.5 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 0.6 SPG, 0.4 APG, 46.6 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 79.3 FT%
2020-21 Shot Chart (via Synergy Sports)
3. Synergy Scouting Report
When we take a deep dive into Collier’s game using Synergy stats, we get a closer look at what she does well and what parts of her game are still developing.
The play types stand out when it comes to Collier – post-ups, put backs and cuts as she had more than 100 possessions of each play type and showed great efficiency in each.
In 202 post-up possessions, Collier scored 191 points (0.946 points per possession) and shot 66-128 (51.6%) from the field and earned 74 free throw attempts.
In 121 offensive rebound (putback) possessions, Collier scored 151 points (1.248 points per possession) on 48-85 (56.5%) shooting from the field and earned another 69 free throw attempts. Collier drew a shooting foul on nearly a third of her putback possessions (33.1%) and converted 13 and-ones as she cleaned up misses from her teammates and herself.
In 107 cut possessions, Collier scored 120 points (1.121 points per possession) on 50-87 (57.5%) shooting from the field, earned another 20 free throw attempts, including eight on and-ones.
The numbers here show how strong of a presence Collier can be in the paint, but it doesn’t show how she is expanding her shooting range. Over the course of her career at Texas, Collier shot 48-144 (33.3%) from beyond the arc – a good sign as the ability to stretch the floor and shoot from distance has become a necessary trait for WNBA bigs in recent seasons.
4. Off the Court
Collier is interested in pursuing a career in sports broadcasting and launched her own talk show on Instagram Live in late 2020 – Center Court with Charli Collier.
In January, she secured an interview with fellow Longhorn and one of her favorite players (the reason she wears No. 35) – Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. From the quality of this interview, don’t be surprised if Collier joins the likes of Chiney Ogwumike and Candace Parker as a dual threat of professional player and media personality.
5. What They’re Saying
On a conference call previewing the draft, ESPN college and WNBA broadcaster Rebecca Lobo said the following when asked about Collier’s prospects in the WNBA:
“When you look at Charli, she looks like a WNBA player. She’s big and strong, has a great frame, plays really hard. She added the three-point shot, which a stretch 4 needs to have now in the WNBA. She’s got a good-looking stroke. She’s got decent hands.
“Yeah, I think when you see her performance against some teams, in particular Baylor, it makes you take pause a little bit. But I think you also have to understand the system she was playing in, a dribble-drive offense, what she was surrounded by. A big is in heaven when they are surrounded by shooters because it gives them space to be able to operate. Charli wasn’t necessarily surrounded by shooters this year.
“There’s of course a lot to like about her game. You do have questions when you see some of the struggles that she may have had against her opponents, but you also understand kind of the bigger picture of what she was playing with, the system she was playing and all of those things. Certainly a lot to like about Charli.”
Watch this incredible feature on Collier and her relationship with her father and the game of basketball.
— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) March 21, 2021