A look at five international prospects for the 2012 WNBA Draft, including Drexel senior Kamile Nacickaite, from Lithuania. (Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE)
We've focused primarily on stateside collegians in our recent 2012 WNBA Draft musings. But there might be a few international names to be on the lookout for come draft day in Bristol.
The top-talked about foreign player seems to be one with the most wild-card potential, Damiris Dantas. The 19-year old Brazilian has apparantly made it known that she is unwilling to play in the WNBA until after the 2016 Olympics, so if Dantas' name is called it will be for investment purposes.
The 6-4 center had a busy 2011-2012 on the hardwood, earning bronze medals for Brazil at both the PanAmerican Games and U-19 World Championships. She was also named MVP at the U-19 Worlds after averaging 20.9 points while shooting 45.9% from 2-point range, pulling down 12.6 rebounds and adding 2.0 steals and 1.4 assists a game during the competition. Dantas earned her MVP award after pacing the entire tournament field in both points and rebounds.
Dantas also competed for Brazil at the FIBA Americas, where her squad picked up the gold medal. The 2011-12 European season saw Dantas play in Spain for Real C. Vigo and she averaged 13.1 points and 7.0 rebounds in 26.6 minutes a night through her 25 games played.
In the video below, Brazil's quarterfinal games against Russia at the U19s, Dantas finished with 23 points and 17 rebounds in the 73-71 Brazilian victory.
Nika Baric, a 5-7 point guard from Slovenia, also played in the 2011 U19's, but with more limited success. In that tournament Slovenia lost all three of their games, also playing in Brazil's group. Baric's numbers in those three games accounted for averages of 13.7 points on 54.2% shooting from inside the arc, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 turnovers.
In the 2011-12 basketball season, she competed for Russia's Spartak in both the Russian league and Euroleague seasons. Some of her teammates included American's Candice Dupree, Seimone Augustus and Becky Hammon with coach Pokey Chatman at the helm. Her contribution was definitely more limited on such a powerful roster, and Baric averaged 5.0 points and 2.4 assists in 15.4 minutes during the Russian league games. Her Euroleague stats slipped to 3.2 points and 1.2 assists in 12.2 minutes a night.
But that doesn't leave Baric without a nice highlight reel - here are some clips from the 2010 European Women U18 tournament. Against Spain in the semifinals, she posted 22 points in the first half of action.
Spain's Queralt Casas is a 19-year old, 5-11 small forward. Like Dantas and Baric, Casas also competed in the U19 World Championships. Spain made it to the finals before falling to the eventual champions from the United States. In Spain's nine games, Casas averaged 10.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals a game. She also competed for her homeland in the European Championships U20 competition, and her numbers bumped up to 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.4 steals and 2.0 assists through nine games. In the U20s, Casas was named tournament MVP after leading Spain to the gold medal.
Casas played for Mann Filter during the 2011-12 Spanish season and shot considerably better percentages from the field, despite averaging 9.5 points a night in her 26 games. She hit 47.0% of her 2-points attempts and 30.4% of her shots from beyond the arc. Glaringly, however, she made only 48% of her free throw attempts. Casas also added nominal numbers of 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals a night for Mann Filter.
Here are some clips of the U20 finals against Russia, highlighted by Casas' stellar 21-point output in the championship game.
Farhiya Abdi is a Swedish forward, standing 6-2 tall. She also had a packed basketball season of 2011-12, playing in 54 games in total. Abdi helped Sweden to Division B gold in the 2011 U20 European Championships. She led her team in the finals over Portugal with 21 points in that contest. For the tournament, Abdi averaged 17.3 points and 5.3 rebounds a game to make the all-tournament team. Abdi also played for Sweden in the 2011 World University Games, posting 8.0 points in 16.8 minutes during their tournament run.
In the 2011-12 Euroleague season, she competed in the Czech Republic for Frisco Sika. Abdi played a considerable amount of minutes during the Czech Republic and Euroleague competitions, averaging over 30 minutes a night. Abdi seemed to struggle shooting the ball during Euroleague play, averaging 8.2 points a game but only connecting on 29.5% of her 2-points attempts, 18.9% from beyond the arc and hitting 52.8% of her free throws. In Czech Republic play, Abdi fared considerably better and averaged 14.6 points while hitting 50.6% of her shots inside the arc.
Here are some miscellaneous clips of Abdi from 2011.
Drexel's Kamile Nacickaite, a native of Lithuania, actually finds her name with a WNBA Prospect Profile and is the only foreign-born player this year to do so. Nacickaite, a 5-11 guard, led the Drexel Dragons in both rebounding and scoring posting 17 points and 5.9 rebounds a game in her senior season en route to CAA all-conference honors. Nacickaite drained 38.2% of her 3-point attempts in college, including a 75-of-157 effort as a junior.
In 2008, Nacickaite played for Lithuania in the 2008 U20 European Championships. In her eight tournament games, she averaged 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds while playing 30.9 minutes and was 14-of-38 from 3-point range.
Here is a clip of Drexel against James Madison in the CAA semifinals. Nacickaite scored 16 points and had a career-high 15 rebounds in the game, and was named to the all-tournament team.
Will any of these women get their name called on Monday, who knows? But if they do, now you can't say you haven't heard of them!
For more of our coverage on the 2012 WNBA Draft, visit our "WNBA Draft 2012" section.