2014 WNBA Draft recap: Top undrafted players

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Someone has to be left out of the WNBA draft and here are five notable prospects.

If you don't feel a little something for the players who go undrafted, maybe there's no need to read on - even with 12 player rosters, the harsh reality of the WNBA is that there just isn't a spot for everyone.

But seeing careers that have been built of hours of blood, sweat, and tears come to an unceremonious halt - or at least put on hold in the U.S. - is one of those things that can be painful to watch happen.

Yet by its very nature of being a 36-pick process, players of varying degrees of worthiness are always left out of the WNBA draft and, thus, someone who probably should've gotten drafted manages to fight their way through training camp onto a regular season roster.

It's always difficult to identify those undrafted players who will end up on rosters because if it were that easy they probably wouldn't have been passed on 36 times. Nevertheless we try and undoubtedly one of you will seize the moment to look really smart and go on the record identifying one of the lucky undrafted future roster players.

So without further ado, five undrafted players who might have reason to feel a bit snubbed right now.

Ariel Edwards, F (6'3", Penn State)

I wasn't sure Edwards would get drafted and my total lack of attention to her sort of reflects that. But at some point in this drafting players you're choosing from a set of players with wildly waving red flags, some of which obviously - whether you're looking at statistics or game film - have no chance of competing in today's WNBA. What makes Edwards immediately stand out is that I'm not entirely sure she had a problem so severe that she shouldn't have been drafted. To the contrary, Edwards might have more upside than others drafted for the same position.

As a 6-foot-3 combo forward at Penn State, there isn't much reason not to like Edwards as a prospect. She has a developing three point shot, shooting 39.8% over the course of her career on 113 attempts. Her free throw rate of 35.45% was solid as was her 2-point percentage of 45.94%. Defensively, with her length and agility - despite some problems with foul trouble - there seemed to be some room to grow into a solid contributor on both ends.

The problem for Edwards though is that she just didn't have an exceptional strength that stands out and even some of the players who will ride into training camp in red ships with multiple red flags do in fact have something they can point to as one major strength. Given some of the players drafted ahead of her, it would be interesting to know where teams had her rated but she's someone who had probably earned herself the honor of a pick who might benefit from going into the league as a free agent.

Valencia McFarland, PG (5'4", Mississippi)

Valencia McFarland was quietly one of the better point guards in the nation this season and it's a shame that she didn't get drafted for her efforts.

She's someone that the guys at Rocky Top Talk and I have discussed; M Robinson took note of her in the SEC Tournament. So without rehashing anything, the bottom line is that she probably would've benefited from simply playing on a better team. Fair or not, it's rare for a player on a team that goes 2-14 in conference to catch the eyes of WNBA GMs on draft day; McFarland may have been a victim of her surroundings, a diamond in the rough who needs a chance to play with some elite teammates before closing the book on her career in the U.S.

Haley Peters, F (6'3", Duke)

Am I surprised that Peters didn't get drafted? Maybe not because she fell in a range of prospects I was uncertain about. But is it mildly surprising that a 6'3" forward who shot 39.9% from the three point line over her career didn't get drafted in this year's draft? Yes.

There were a number of forwards of similar size who could only have been drafted as "stretch fours" but are less efficient in that role who were drafted. And I'd think that has to be mildly disappointing for Duke fans, even if you didn't think she'd make a roster. If there was reason to believe that GMs just weren't interested in high-IQ stretch fours this year, Peters might not be on this list. But the number of teams that did go that route and passed on Peters is interesting.

Aaryn Ellenberg, G (5'7", Oklahoma)

Of the players on this list, Ellenberg is probably one who I was most certain would get drafted because her major red flag is one that didn't deter GMs from drafting other players this season: she shoots a lot of threes. She's also just 5'7" - which would suggest that she'd have to play point guard to make it in the WNBA - and was really a pure scorer in college.

The thing is that she is lightning quick and has the ability to score from deep off the dribble, which one might have thought would give her a shot at not only getting drafted but also making a roster in the right situation.

Hallie Christofferson, F (6'3", Iowa State)

Welp.

Christofferson suggested in her gust blog for Swish Appeal the other day that she wasn't entirely sure she'd be drafted. Unfortunately, her uncertainty was justified.

As she was one of the players on our preseason watch list - and the only not to get drafted in the first two rounds (I SEE YOU GENNIFER BRANDON), which is a bit of an improvement on the past couple of years - I have more to say about Christofferson. For now, I think she'll serve as this year's example of a player who might have ended up in a perfectly fine position as an undrafted free agent.

I actually happen to believe Christofferson is more talented than her senior year suggested and that Phoenix is a great fit for her skillset so she could be one to continue watching during training camp.

For more on the top WNBA prospects of 2014, check out our 2014 WNBA draft prospect watch storystream.

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