From now until the WNBA draft on April 11, 2011, Swish Appeal will be providing you with information, quotes and audio clips on some of the top prospects. We hope you enjoy them, and they help you prepare for the new crop of WNBA players entering the league this summer!
A 6'0 forward who has won just about every conceivable award for an NCAA women's player to win, Maya Moore will be the number one draft choice Monday afternoon, and begin a professional career with the fanfare and anticipation that hasn't been seen since Candace Parker or Diana Taurasi entered the league. We know she can score, but as Geno Auriemma said above, after the team Notre Dame earlier this season, it's more than just the points she scores.
Can she handle the pressure of being the "next big thing" and the "savior of the league" as the others did? We shall see, but there is no reason to doubt her.
Adept both in the paint and out on the perimeter, Maya Moore is as complete a prospect to enter the WNBA in quite some team. She still can improve her handling of the ball, and she's been known to be out of position on defense occasionally, but she has a quickness and anticipation on both ends of the court that have helped overcome any weaknesses. Two NCAA championships, multitudes of All-American and Player of the Year awards, a possible Rhodes Scholar, and as nice a kid as I've ever met. Maya is the complete package.
STATISTICAL STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
- 1st in UConn history in scoring, with 3,036 career points
- 2nd in UConn history in made three-pointers (311)
- 2nd in UConn history in rebounds (1,276)
- Averaged 22.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game, 2.3 steals per game, and 4.0 assists per game
- Four straight final fours, two national championships and undefeated seasons, 90 game winning streak
- Do I really need to go on?
STRAIGHT FROM THE PLAYER'S MOUTH
One thing that impressed me about Maya Moore, while covering UConn this year, was her constant grasp of the "big picture." She never seemed overly impressed about records, she always was concerned about the team improvement and the W. Even when she broke the school scoring record, she shared her moment by talking about the UConn fans and the moment, not her success.
When she crossed the 1,000 rebound level, you will hear the same theme...Lucky to play all these games, embracing the coaches' philosophies, and wanting to continue to impact the game and help her team.
While Maya Moore was always willing to give you her time for an interview or quote while she was at UConn, getting her to talk about her future and the WNBA was darn near impossible!
In the end, as senior note approached, I was finally able to get Maya Moore to think about her place in history, when I asked her about her number being added to the wall at Gampel Pavilion with the other "Huskies of Honor."
WHAT HER COACH SAYS
Geno Auriemma, most will agree, is never at a loss for words. This is especially true, when he was asked over the career about the amazing accomplishments of Maya Moore. One impression that Coach Auriemma left with me after covering the Huskies this season, is that as much as we enjoy watching Maya in games, it's the practice work where he is truly impressed by her. Something we don't get to see. Notice the respect in his voice, as he breaks down Maya's jump shot, and discusses why it is different and so successful.
The respect he had for his star also can be heard here, when he discusses her breaking the school scoring record, especially when he considers the great players he's had at UConn before Maya Moore.
WHAT OPPOSING COACHES SAY
Doug Bruno of DePaul University coached against Maya Moore for four years, and also coached her in USA Basketball as both a head coach and an assistant coach. Other than Coach Auriemma, Coach Bruno probably knows Maya Moore and her game better than any other coach out there.
Van Chancellor is the Hall of Fame Coach who has had Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson on his teams. So when he discusses Maya Moore's skills and talents, he certainly has the experience and background to be an authority on great women ballers.
WHAT HER TEAMMATES SAY
The number one draft choice in the WNBA draft is going to be under a microscope from inside and outside the locker room. So in the case of Maya Moore, who will be the number one choice we all assume, I thought it would be good to show what her teammates thought of her as well as the coaches and broadcasters.
WHAT THE BROADCASTERS SAY
ESPN's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude played against Maya Moore while at Stanford and now has covered her games for ESPN and Stanford radio. Ros is full of respect for the All-American.