Statistics are wonderful and can often help distinguish between similar players on the basketball court. Sometimes though, stats can tell a story that fails to consider more important attributes such as size, adaptability, knowledge of the game, specific skills and mentality, overall intensity, work-ethic and the ability to play with teammates and make teammates around them better.
So, while looking at 14 top prospects for the 2019 WNBA Draft, Indiana coaches were asked to assess the skillsets of each player – apart from the stats! Here is an alphabetical scouting look at some of this year’s top WNBA draft prospects.
Kristine Anigwe – California, F/C
Anigwe is a 6’4” forward. She is a skilled post player with back-to-the basket finesse moves as well as a face-up game. She is an aggressive player that’s not afraid of contact, and an athletic finisher with a good touch. She has increased her ability to stretch the floor in past seasons. She doesn’t shoot many 3’s, but often makes the ones she does. Anigwe rebounds the ball well, and has good length defensively, with good timing. Her skills are improving and in the same direction WNBA with the ability to make a post move down low and still stretch the floor. Some of her athleticism will be neutralized against athletic post players in the W. Her ability to go to the next counter-move will be crucial.
Kalani Brown – Baylor, C
Brown is a 6’7” lefthanded center. Her length and big frame enable her to finish well at the rim and not be affected by small contact. When she wants to show a post presence, she can be very dominant and hard to move in the paint. She plays a lot of high-low, and is a skilled player who is best at finishing left. Her shooting range extends just outside the free-throw line. She is a solid rebounder but not an aggressive rebounder; she should be able to get more for her size. Tends to get tired and foul. Teams often double her to make her less affective, but that is much harder for teams to do in the WNBA with so many players on the floor that can score around her. This will allow more space to show her post skills inside. Her size will translate to rim protection and great high-low opportunities. Defensively, rotations and the speed of the game at the next level will be an adjustment for her.
Napheesa Collier – Connecticut, F/C
Collier is a righthanded, 6’2” lanky post player. She has a good ability to face up and get to the rim. She has nice footwork for a post player and can utilize her dribble efficiently. She has the ability to rebound and bring the ball up herself, and flow into an offense. For a “4” player, she has good handles and is very skilled, especially working from the elbow. Collier is a passing post and a smart decision maker. She is aggressive on the glass, but not a strong stretch shooter even though she is working on expanding her game beyond the 3pt line. In the WNBA, she will see similar types of “4” players that will have the same type of athleticism, which she doesn’t usually see on a nightly basis in college. She has the possibility to grow her game as a small forward “3” player.
Asia Durr – Louisville, G
At 5’9”, Durr is a lefty guard who may not be very big – but she’s a baller! She can play either guard position and her ability to score is impressive. She can create her own shot off the dribble, or off a screen. She has good footwork and instincts. She finishes well in the paint, mid-range and from deep. That’s her real triple threat. She has the ability to play through double teams and box-and-1s, and not only score but find her teammates and get them the ball in the right moments. She shows a really good basketball IQ as a playmaker on the floor as both an assist-giver and scorer. She is a playmaker that you want the ball in her hands when the game is on the line. Defensively, she is a pretty good on-ball defender and she reads opposing players well. In the WNBA, her ability to create her own shot and find the next pass will be great to add to any roster. She will face faster, longer, bigger defenders night-in and night-out which will make it harder for her to score off the same shots that she is able to create now. She will see more defensive schemes that she will have to adjust to. Her small frame will make it difficult for her at times. Defensively, she’ll have to adjust to pick-and-rolls.
Megan Gustafson – Iowa, F/C
A 6’3” lefty center, Gustafson is a good skilled post. She is a back-to-the-basket player that can face up and make a fundamentally sound move. She has great touch on her hook shots and she finishes at the basket well. She has good hands, she plays smart and reads the defense well. She is a VERY efficient player, but has limited shooting range not stretching outside the elbows and short corners. An aggressive rebounder, she’ll face much bigger posts in the WNBA than she does in the Big Ten. Her ability to take good shots, the right shots, and be efficient in finishing will be a nice addition to an established team. She will have to adjust against bigger and faster posts.
Megan Huff – Utah, C
Huff is a former volleyball player and a 6’3” post-up-and-stretch-post. She has the dual ability to post up, as well as face up and take players to the rim aggressively and finish. She consistently knocks down the long-range shot. She is an aggressive rebounder and lengthy defender. She can stretch the floor with her perimeter play which is the direction the league is going, but she will see much bigger and more athletic players in the W than in the Pac-12.
Sabrina Ionescu – Oregon, G
Ionescu is a 5’11 righthanded, scoring point guard. She is a smart player who has the ability to play the “1” or “2.” She has great floor vision, she’s a good leader and she controls her team well. She scores well off catch-and-shoot opportunities and makes good decisions off the dribble. She is good at getting her teammates involved and does well at finding her teammates. She’s also a rebounding point guard. She won’t be able to get all the shots off that she gets in college when she plays against the quicker, taller guards she will face in the WNBA. Her handles will need to tighten up to be able to use pick-and-rolls. Defensively, she takes smart angles can help her to not get beat often. She is a draft-eligible junior who could be a top-five pick if she declares for the draft.
Paris Kea – North Carolina, G
A 5’9” skinny guard, Kea is a smooth player who almost looks like she doesn’t try hard. She is a good passer with good vision and has a turn-on factor where she can just put her team on her back and lead them in whatever is needed in the moment. She’s a really savvy, smart player. She has a nice, low and quick crossover, and a high forehead release on her shot. She shows good agility and knocks down the 3 consistently. In the WNBA, She will struggle to get some of the same shots she gets now and her handles need to grow against good on-ball defenders.
Teaira McCowan – Mississippi State, C
A 6’7” righthanded center, McCowan is a back-to-the-basket post who has great potential and a big ceiling to grow. Good drop-step finisher and turns well to the middle to finish over defenders. She is athletic for her size, she’s a great rebounder and has nice touch at the rim. She hasn’t shown many other skills away from at the rim. In the WNBA, she will see more big posts her size that will take away her right hand and force her to use her left. She’ll see many more defensive post moves that she will not simply be able to score over only because she is taller. She’ll need to adjust to the speed of the game, but her length will be able to make up for some of that. Rim protection will be a good impact to deter shots.
Katie Lou Samuelson – Connecticut, G/F
At 6’3”, Samuelson is a tall, right-handed guard. She is a deadly catch and shoot 3-point shooter, and in general a very long player with a good ability to shoot over people. She has a nice finesse game. She’s not a banger and struggles to finish with contact, overall she doesn’t play with a lot of physical strength. She’s an average defender, but her length makes up for a lot. Her ability to play multiple positions is an advantage in the W. A guard at her size and skill is not very common. Being a deadly shooter is also a huge advantage, though she will find it much harder to finish at the rim in the W – even when contact is normal. She will need to improve her handles.
Jessica Shepard – Notre Dame, F/C
Shepard is a 6’4” righty forward and a great passing post player. She has tremendous court vision, she’s an excellent rebounder and has great outlet passes. She’s a smart player that understands the game and is aggressive on the boards on both sides of the floor. She’s a good finisher at the rim and she’s really transformed her body to help her play faster and more agile. Her passes and outlets and post passing will be a great help in the fast-paced WNBA style of basketball – not many posts have her great passing abilities. In the WNBA, she’ll have to defend more athletic “4s” and much bigger “5s” which will be a challenge.
Alanna Smith – Stanford, F
Smith is a 6’4” righty from Australia and a true stretch forward. She has shown some 3-point flashes with really big 3s. She has been a killer 3-point shooter! She’s shooting extremely well this season and she’s an excellent catch & shoot player. She’s smart. She’s not great off the dribble but has excellent size for getting to the rim on shot-fake drives. She tends to be foul prone and will have to adjust to guarding “3s” and “4s” in our league.
Breanna Turner – Notre Dame, F/C
Turner is a 6’3 righthanded forward who is a great shot-blocking defender. She has the ability to play at the “4,” or at the “5” when playing small. She has good athleticism and timing and runs the floor well on both sides of the ball. She finishes well at the rim. She’s a face-up player, not a banger. She has limited range and is not a stretch player. She has long arms, though, and is a very consistent rebounder. In the W, she’ll see many athletic, like-sized players that will be able to neutralize some of her advantages. Defense is her biggest asset, as well as her ability to run in transition. She will need to increase her passing and screening skills to be a strong contributor on the offensive side of the ball.