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(1) ALIYAH BOSTON (SOUTH CAROLINA)
In her senior season with the University of South Carolina, Aliyah Boston is putting the finishing touches on her position as a generational talent. She is the clear first pick in this year’s WNBA Draft, as the most pro-ready player and the best available two-way player, who could turn into a franchise player at the next level.
Boston is a skilled scorer from several levels. She has great footwork and finishing touches in the paint, as well as a smooth mid-range jumper. Her three-pointer is rather stiff, and Boston does not take many threes, but she can hit the occasional open shot from behind the arc. On the other end of the floor, Boston has already proven that she can anchor an elite defensive system and protect the paint. Both her offensive and defensive skill sets should translate well to the WNBA level.
(2) HALEY JONES (STANFORD)
Haley Jones is a big combo-guard who can act as both a playmaker and a scorer. Her assist numbers increased with every season, and she can recognize teammate’s movements well. As a scorer, Jones is great at getting into the paint, but it would benefit her to develop other moves than her preferred crossover to beat more players off the dribble. On the defensive end, Jones closes out well and is a solid help defender who can use her athleticism to guard every position.
All in all, Jones is a great prospect with lots of potential. To become a more complete player, however, she needs to improve her outside shot and on-ball defense, but Jones is made for versatile, position less basketball, making her an asset to any team.
(3) DIAMOND MILLER (MARYLAND)
Diamond Miller is a solid two-way player who can thrive in a fast-paced environment. Miller is a talented offensive player and scorer, especially in transition, as well as a good passer. One thing she should work on offensively, however, is the ability to adjust to defenders when she drives to the basket.
As a defender, Miller has great lateral quickness and can stay in front of ballhandlers. She contests shots well and certainly has solid defensive potential at the next level, but Miller needs to improve her help defense and become a better rebounder. If Miller also improves her outside shot and reduces her turnovers, she can be a well-rounded prospect to develop in the WNBA. Her injury history might cause teams concerns about drafting her, but if she manages to stay healthy for the rest of this season, she should be at the top of the draft.
(4) JACY SHELDON (OHIO STATE)
The Ohio State guard is a versatile scorer who can play on or off the ball equally well. Off the ball, Sheldon shows great movement and awareness for picking the right open spots. She combines that with a smooth catch-and-shoot jumper and efficient driving ability, shooting around 50 percent from the field for her college career. Sheldon can also act as a solid playmaker, as she has tight handles and can deliver strong passes to cutters and rollers. On defense, Sheldon is a great off-ball defender who sees opportunities to grab the ball well and averages six steals per game as of now.
Some of Sheldon’s weaknesses include that she is strongly focused on her right hand instead of using her left when the situation calls for it, and that she sometimes finds herself out of position after providing help defense. Nevertheless, Sheldon has great potential and could be a lottery pick, even though it might take her some time to adjust to the speed and physicality of the WNBA.
(5) CHARISMA OSBORNE (UCLA)
Charisma Osborne is one of the most skilled perimeter defenders in this class, who navigates over screens well and can stick with her assignment. As an offensive player, Osborne has tight handles and a smooth jumper. While she sometimes struggles to finish her drives, she is able to draw help defenders away from her teammates, recognize the movement and deliver the pass for a better shot.
Osborne already has the size and speed to compete in the WNBA, where she might be best suited to take on the role of a defensive-minded secondary ballhandler.
(6) RICKEA JACKSON (TENNESSEE)
The Tennessee Lady Vols forward is one of the most dynamic big players this class has to offer. She can play either forward position or go to work in the paint on both ends of the floor. On defense, she shows great footwork as a post defender and knows when to help out her teammates in the paint. One flaw in Jackson’s defense is that she tends to ball-watch and loses her assignment, but that is something she can easily work on.
On the offensive end of the floor, Jackson is a prolific scorer who can create her own shot and take advantage of mismatches. Currently, she is shooting efficiently from the field at 55.3 percent but before this season, her field goal percentage has been closer to 40 percent. To be considered a reliant scoring option for WNBA teams, Jackson has to keep up this efficiency.
(7) AIJHA BLACKWELL (BAYLOR)
Aijha Blackwell is still more of a developmental project, but her upside and potential are certainly intriguing. She is an energetic finisher who is not fazed by contact and can get to the free throw line a lot. All in all, Blackwell is one of the strongest rebounders and scorers in this class, no matter where she is on the floor. She is a true three-level scorer, even though her three-point shot is a little slow.
Besides her offensive upside, Blackwell also has great defensive potential. She does not always box out, but she is agile, fights over screens well, and can guard isolation situations. With that she has all the tools to become a wing stopper even at the next level.
(8) JORDAN HORSTON (TENNESSEE)
Jordan Horston is an energetic guard who runs the floor well and gets back on defense. Other than that, her skill on the defensive end of the floor, is Horston’s biggest asset. She puts excellent pressure on the ball and is top tier in disrupting passing lanes. Horston is also a solid rebounder and could become one of the better wing defenders out of this class. As of now, she cannot stay with quick guards, but with some focused training that might still change.
Offensively, Horston struggles with shot selection and turnovers, which is something she will need to work on to have constant success at the next level. She has a good floater and was able to put up good numbers throughout her college career. In the WNBA, however, she will not get as many opportunities to try and score, so she will have to pick her shots wisely.
(9) DYAISHA FAIR (SYRACUSE)
The Syracuse guard is a dynamic and shifty ball handler who can pester other guards on defense. Fair has elite handles, uses screens well, and is a solid playmaker and passer. Good help defenders can stifle her attacks in the paint, though, and oftentimes she plays the kick-out pass too early. Other than that, Fair can score from all three levels as a high-volume shooter, but at times she struggles with inconsistency, shooting only 38.3 percent on field goals this season.
On the other end of the floor, she is a good defender in zones, understanding the spacing very well, but she does not function quite as well in a man-to-man defense. In isolation situations, Fair is easily beaten off the dribble by opponents, but she still has solid potential on both ends of the floor.
(10) ASHLEY JOENS (IOWA STATE)
Ashley Joens is already Iowa state’s all-time leading scorer, but still opted to return for a fifth season under Covid-19 rule changes. Last year, her chances in the WNBA Draft were unclear, making another year at college the safer choice, but this time around most coaches and experts peck her to be a first-round pick. After five season of college ball, Joens will be one of the more experienced players in the draft.
Joens is a versatile offensive player who has a good three-point shot, moves well off-the ball, passes the ball well and can post up mismatches. For a guard, she is also a good rebounder, but her dribble seems a little stiff sometimes, and she needs to develop other moves to add to her stepback. Her biggest weakness, however, is her defense. While she navigates screens well, her feet are rather slow, and she provides little to no help defense. Especially the latter, is a fixable issue, though, as Joens is a prospect that still needs some work despite a prolonged college career. Luckily, she is a competitive, hard worker willing to put in some extra effort.
(11) CELESTE TAYLOR (DUKE)
Celeste Taylor is in no way a finished product yet, but she has plenty of potential to offer to WNBA teams looking for players to develop. Taylor has a smooth mid-range pull-up jumper, which is her biggest offensive asset. She is always active and moves a lot after passing the ball. This often leaves her open for catch-and-shoot opportunities. Other than her pull-up shot, her catch-and-shoot motion is a little slow, though, but that can be fixed. Likewise, Taylor needs to work on her drives, as she often struggles to get through paint defenders to the basket, and her turnover rate.
On defense, she is a more complete player, getting over screens and staying in front of ball handlers to cut off their attacks. While it is not quite clear yet how well or how quickly, Taylor can adjust to the WNBA level, it is obvious that she still has plenty of room for improvement in the future.
(12) GRACE BERGER (INDIANA)
The Indiana guard has shown great playmaking skills over her college career, creating for her teammates and herself at a high level. Berger is a calm, composed facilitator who can anticipate other players’ movements, and she selects her own shots very well. She has a nice mid-range pull-up shot but at this point in her development, she has not found her three-point shot yet, making her game rather two-dimensional.
On the defensive end, Berger is very switchable, jumps passing lanes well and can hound ballhandlers as a point of attack defender. While her handle needs to get tighter, Berger could become a decent defensive-minded secondary ballhandler at the WNBA level.
(13) ELIZABETH KITLEY (VIRGINIA TECH)
At the collegiate level, Elizabeth Kitley is one of the best true centers in the nation, but this type of players often struggles to transition to the WNBA. Kitley has a solid offensive game with an efficient scoring ability from the field. She has a good turnaround jumper, but can also face up and attack defenders off the dribble or act as a decent pick and roll screener. Against stronger post players, however, Kitley often struggles and, in the WNBA, she will encounter plenty of those, which raises some concerns about her transition to the next level.
On the defensive end, Kitley has the potential to become a solid rim protector. She uses her length well to contest shots and averages almost two blocks a game. On the other hand, her footwork as a post defender is rather slow, however, and she tends to be jumpy, which is dangerous in the WNBA. Nevertheless, Kitley could make a solid prospect for teams looking to add some size to their roster.
(14) STEPHANIE SOARES (IOWA STATE)
The Iowa State big might be somewhat of a hidden gem in this draft class. Averaging 3 blocks per game, Soares is one of the better rim protectors in this group and to top that off, she grabs almost 10 rebounds a game as well.
On offense, Soares shoots well from the field at 54.4 percent and also has a decent three-point shot, which allows her to draw bigger defenders out of the paint and stretch the floor. Soares is not a flashy player, and we will have to see how well this skill set can translate to the professional level, but the potential is certainly there.
(15) MADI WILLIAMS (OKLAHOMA)
Madi Williams is a dependable rebounder and scorer. She runs the court, can finish through contact and has fluid shooting motions. Especially her drives to the basket are elite, even though she sometimes dribbles too far into the paint and gets stuck. That can be worked on, however, meaning that William still has a solid upside as a scorer.
Defense, however, is not one of her strengths. She moves her feet rather slowly, which results in ball handlers beating her too easily, and she struggles to provide effective help defense. Her offensive potential does not make up for the lack of defense, but it still makes her an interesting prospect.