Swish Appeal 2011 WNBA Draft Prospects: Five More Notable Players

Drafting is not a science and we definitely didn't mean to suggest that our list of top 13 college prospects for the 2011 WNBA Draft excludes the possibility of any other prospects.

Although we took our best shot at narrowing the list to 13, a lot of things can change between now and April that completely change the draft status of some players.

So in the process of covering games across the country, we'll obviously see players beyond that list of 13 who might be considered strong prospects by the end of this season.  And although we will likely continue to highlight our top 13 throughout the season, that certainly doesn't mean the next five players aren't on people's radars.

In no particular order, with a link to the player's bio provided by the school website:

  • Danielle Adams, 6'1", F/C, Texas A&M

    There might have been a little dissent in the ranks about omitting Adams from the list: on the one hand, she was ninth in the nation using petrel's BoxScore Wins metric to measure productivity. Beyond the numbers, Adams has shown that she is probably among the more versatile forwards in the country.

     

    Adams like a guard in post player's body - Mechelle Voepel
    In Adams, Blair got another versatile player named Danielle to replace departing senior Danielle Gant from last season. In some respects, Adams is a larger version of Gant.

    "Her individual skills are as good as any player I've had," Blair said of Adams. "Her passing ability is outstanding. How she can see the floor -- against Texas Tech, she stripped the point guard and went coast-to-coast and finished the layup. She's got that sixth sense about where people are on the basketball court.

    However, there might still be some questions about Adams' pro potential. A main one is the matter of how well her game might translate to WNBA performance given not only that everyone is versatile, but also as strong and athletic. In addition, she's only played one season of Division I basketball after transferring from Jefferson College as a JUCO star so it will be interesting to see how teams respond to her this season now that they know what she's capable of.
  • Angie Bjorklund, 6'0", G, Tennessee.

    Obviously, Tennessee fans (and beyond) know that Bjorklund has had a successful college career.

    Lady Vols Basketball 2010-2011: The Future is Here Today - Rocky Top Talk
    Angie Bjorklund (or, as we often refer to her on this site: 3jorklund), is the premier deep threat on the team and one of the best three-point shots in the entire country. At 6'-0", she is tall for a guard in women's college basketball and often proves to be a handful for an opponent to effectively guard on the perimeter. Her shot has often been the spark that has turned a tight match into a solid victory for the Ladies, and the mere threat of her outside scoring makes it very difficult for opponents to tighten down on interior defense - an asset that becomes deadly for players to be discussed shortly.

    The question for Bjorklund as a draft prospect might be what she can do at the next level beyond shooting the ball, especially considering that there are a number of dynamic guards available in this draft that might bring something different to the table that a team needs. That said, if a team feels like they need a shooter, Bjorklund might be selected higher than our list suggests.
  • Dawn Evans, 5'7", G, James Madison

    Evans' ability to score will certainly catch the eye of WNBA scouts, but at 5'7" the question will be how well she can run an offense at the next level and particularly how well she can run an offense compared to Sarah Miles, Danielle Robinson, Jasmine Thomas, and Courtney Vandersloot.
  • Ify Ibekwe, 6'2", F, Arizona

    What Ibekwe offers is a player with outstanding instincts around the paint, a tenacious rebounder, outstanding defender, and the ability to step away from the basket as well and put the ball on the floor to score.

    Pac-10 Week in Review: What Shall We Make of Washington’s Early Success? - Swish Appeal
    Even with that knowledge in advance and despite a very good defensive effort from Washington, Ibekwe pulled down 15 rebounds, six of which were offensive.

    The best way to describe Ibekwe's performance against Washington is active -- both on the glass and as a scorer. Although she actually did not have a strong shooting game going 5-17, she demonstrated what makes her such a dangerous player.

    Around the basket she is able to use a variety of fakes and quick dribble moves to creatively work her way around defenders. However, what was more surprising watching her for the first time was her ability away from the basket.

    Again, the issue for Ibekwe will be how she measures up against the other - taller - post prospects available, but there's no doubt she has the athleticism and intangibles to compete with WNBA talent.

  • Jeanette Pohlen, 6'0", PG, Stanford

    By virtue of being in the spotlight at Stanford over the last few years, Pohlen will get consideration as a draft prospect along with the long list of point guard prospects including Evans, Miles, Robinson, Thomas, and Vandersloot. The most notable thing is that Pohlen tends to attack the basket considerably less than the other point guards available, but there should be absolutely no question that she can run an offense.

    How Pohlen Contributed to Stanford's Final Four Win Despite Poor Shooting - Swish Appeal
    The simplest way to look at Pohlen's performance as a point guard is to note the 5 assists and 0 turnovers, which is quite easily identified as a solid assist-to-turnover ration. But the fact that she played 40 minutes at the point guard position and managed to finish with no turnovers - especially given Oklahoma's mix of defensive pressure using their athletic guards - is actually outstanding. The value of balancing assists and turnovers so well in big minutes is what John Hollinger's pure point rating accounts for. In the Oklahoma game, Pohlen posted a pure point rating of 8.33, which is in the elite range of point guard performances for women's college basketball players. Sure, she didn't do much other than set up others and take care of the ball, but on a team like Stanford and a night on which Nneka Ogwumike had an other-worldly performance - she accounted for 50% of Stanford's overall production - Pohlen played her position very, very well. That's noteworthy for a person who is not necessarily a born point guard.

    What Pohlen might lack in standout athleticism, she could make up for with poise and an outstanding feel for the game. It's conceivable that people might knock Pohlen for being a "system point guard" who executes Tara VanDerveer's well-oiled machine at Stanford. That critique obviously leads to a very easy current WNBA player comparison - which I will avoid at this point - but she could well surprise some people and be a more productive player than some of the flashier point guards people currently consider "ahead" of her.

Related Links:

Swish Appeal's Top 13 WNBA Draft Prospects In The NCAA

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