Apr 12, 2017
Stop me if you've heard this before...a team wins a national championship, and has three of their top players go into the WNBA draft immediately afterwards.
Yes, the 2017 WNBA draft is nearly a repeat of 2016. when UConn won the national championship and followed that with Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, and Morgan Tuck going one, two, three in the draft.
It appears Kelsey Plum is going to prevent that top slot from going to a South Carolina player this year, but it is a legit possibility that the next three players drafted could be from Dawn Staley's national championship Gamecock squad.
It is a pleasure to welcome national championship coach Dawn Staley back to Dishin & Swishin to briefly discuss her team's championship, but really more to the point, to discuss her top WNBA prospects.
Each may be the best in the draft at their respective positions; Alaina Coates is a pure post, Allisha Gray a versatile wing with inside/outside game, and Kaela Davis is more of an outside threat from the wing position.
Whoever drafts Coates is going to have to be a little patient, as ankle surgery will delay her start date for her pro team. When she is ready though, she, as Rebecca Lobo said in a recent teleconference, is pro game ready.
"She already has a pro size, she has a pro body," Lobo said. "She has a pro skill set in terms of what she can do when she gets the ball on the block. She also has a nice soft touch out to 10 feet or so."
Gray's entry was a bit of a surprise; in fact in the podcast, Staley admits she did not expect Gray to leave. LaChina Robinson in that teleconference explained why she could be a great choice for a team like Chicago (second pick) because of her versatility.
"Allisha Gray's versatility, her ability to rebound the ball, she can shoot the three, she can handle," according to Robinson. "She's a good decision maker. I was really impressed with the way she played, especially in the NCAA Tournament, filling in at the power forward spot when Alaina Coates was out. She's a tremendous asset to any team."
Davis needs to level out some of her inconsistencies, but she has shown to be an explosive scorer, with the ability to change the game.
"She's 6'2", she's explosive, she can get to the rim when she wants," Robinson said. "She can shoot it. She comes from basketball pedigree, obviously, with her dad having played in the NBA. She plays for a demanding coach like Dawn Staley so she understands the rigors and all that goes with it. You know, I just think that if she stays healthy and continues to get better, she'll be an All-Star one day in the league."
Don't sleep on the last part of the podcast though, when Staley discusses if transferring, playing a year and leaving may be the women's basketball version of the men's game "one and done" phenomenon, and her thoughts on the transfer epidemic hitting the game.
There you have it, three podcasts in three days, with seven of the invited draftees for the 2017 WNBA draft.
Prepare your mock drafts, and see who your favorite team selects!
Enjoy the podcast!