Stanford forward Chiney Ogwumike is one of college basketball's best players, but WNBA teams aren't going to be able to draft her until 2014. - USA TODAY Sports
The Division I NCAA women's basketball tournament will start this Saturday on March 23. Many of the top seniors who are playing in the tournament will not only try to take their teams as far as they can and hopefully win it all on April 9 in New Orleans, but they also may be hoping to increase their draft stock to WNBA teams. However, in college basketball, there are four classes playing at any one time, and at least some think that the junior class, or in WNBA terms, the 2014 Draft class also consists of many players who may also be very effective at the next level. My question to you all: Is this 2013 Draft Class deeper than next year's 2014 Draft Class?
To put in some talking points for you all to debate on, here are just some of the players who may be considered to be among the top players for the 2014 Draft Class and in no particular order:
1. Stanford F Chiney Ogwumike - After her older sister Nneka graduated and got to the pros as the #1 pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, Chiney has taken her game to the next level statistically where she is averaging 22.4 points and 13 rebounds a game. This season, the Cardinal also didn't miss a beat from last season's Final Four season, where the Cardinal snapped Baylor's 42 game winning streak from last year. Their only losses were to Connecticut and also against arch rival California, both highly ranked teams.
2. Texas A&M C Kelsey Bone - Bone is currently averaging 16.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and is considered to be one of the best junior centers available for the 2014 Draft.
However, she's a redshirt junior (she played her freshman year at South Carolina) and will graduate from college this year. Given WNBA rules, any player who is four years out of college may declare her eligibility for the WNBA Draft before her college eligibility is exhausted. If she goes pro this season, Bone would be a first round candidate, perhaps even as high as number four.
3. Maryland F Alyssa Thomas - Thomas is considered to be the Terps' best all around player, and was a first team All American last season. This season she so far has earned her second straight ACC Player of the Year honors, averaging over 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. She is a jack of all trades type of player and if she keeps this up next season, she should easily be a lottery pick at a minimum for 2014.
4. Connecticut C Stefanie Dolson - Dolson has played solid minutes in her entire career for the Huskies by averaging double digits in scoring in each year with a FG%age rate at nearly 60%. She did that once again this season but has also increased her role as a post playmaker, averaging over 3 assists per game and averaging considerably fewer turnovers than that. In addition she is second on the team in scoring average with over 14 points per game.
5. Baylor G Odyssey Sims - Many consider Sims to be a better point guard than Skylar Diggins in this draft class. In Sims' career, she has averaged at least 12 points per game, her lowest scoring average is this year actually. In addition, she made at least 44% of her shots overall in her college career. Sims has also considerably improved her assist to turnover ratio to 2.7 (162 assists to 60 turnovers in 29 games). After Griner graduates this year and plays in the WNBA, Sims will have a prime opportunity to show what she can do as the number one option on her team.
6. Duke G Chelsea Gray - Though her 2012-2013 college season was cut short due to a dislocated kneecap, Gray still was a major factor in the Blue Devils' season where she averaged 12.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 3.6 steals a game. Even last year, she also had similar statistics all around. Like Sims, many think she also may be a better point guard as a pro than Skylar Diggins.
7. Connecticut G Bria Hartley - She is yet another prospect in the 2014 Draft Class who may be a strong playmaker at guard. Her scoring and shooting efficiency are considerably down this season as opposed to last (9 ppg in 2012-2013; 14 ppg in 2013-2014) in part due to an ankle injury but she is second on the team in assists, dishing 3.7 of them per game. Hopefully in her senior year campaign with Kelly Faris graduating, Bria can play healthy for the whole time and get back to her form in her sophomore year and hopefully even better.
Again, this is by NO MEANS an exhaustive list of prospects, nor am I thinking that one of these players figures to be one of the top two or three picks in the 2014 WNBA Draft. After all even in the 2013 Draft Class, Tianna Hawkins was projected to be a later first round pick in this year's draft at the end of her junior year and coming into this season, but her strong play this season has made her more of a mid 1st round prospect, possibly even as high as the number four pick.
However, there are people who believe that the 2014 Draft Class, while it may not feature a game changer like Brittney Griner, may still feature a number of impact players who could help a number of WNBA teams immediately in a positive fashion.
So here is your chance to say how good you think this class is. Is it not as strong as the 2013 class? Is it just as strong? Stronger? Or is it too early to tell because there still is another season left for these prospects? Which prospects in the current JUNIOR class do you think figure to be impact players or solid starters in the WNBA?
Which WNBA Draft Class is stronger, 2013 or 2014?
The 2013 Draft Class is stronger. (27 votes)
The 2014 Draft Class is stronger. (29 votes)
Both classes are about the same in overall strength. (8 votes)
It is too early for us to tell. (6 votes)
70 total votes