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WNBA Draft 2011 Prospect Capsule: Courtney Vandersloot - "She’s mesmerizing."

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Gonzaga Bulldogs point guard Courtney Vandersloot is considered the nation's top point guard after an outstanding tournament run. <em>(Photo by <a href="http://112575.photoshelter.com/" target="new">Craig Bennett/112575 Media</a>)</em>
Gonzaga Bulldogs point guard Courtney Vandersloot is considered the nation's top point guard after an outstanding tournament run. (Photo by Craig Bennett/112575 Media)

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!

Buoyed by an incredible NCAA tournament run, Gonzaga captured the hearts of most of America, and in particular, their point guard Courtney Vandersloot.  Helped by NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton, Vandersloot has become one of the most intriguing WNBA prospects entering this year's WNBA draft.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The new owner of the NCAA single season assist record, Courtney Vandersloot is a slender, 5’8" point guard in the true sense of the term.  A second team AP All-American, Courtney makes things happen, mostly very good, when the ball is in her hands.  Adept with either hand, Courtney has a court vision and sense that is hard to find in someone so young.  Comfortable taking it to the basket or pulling up for a jumper, she can score as well as distribute.   Quickness and strength will need to be improved in order to defend the stronger, faster point guards in the WNBA.

 

STATISTICAL STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES

  • ·         #1 in the nation handing out 10.2 assists per game, 3 more per game than the runner-up.
  • ·         #1 in the nation in Assists-Turnover Ratio at 3.08
  • ·         #11 in double doubles, with 18 in 36 games
  • ·         Shot 48% from the floor and 83% from the foul line
  •  ·         After only committing 98 turnovers all season, committed 21 when facing tougher defenses in  the NCAA tournament
  •           For more on Vandersloot's statistical strengths visit SBN Seattle's Feature, The Subtleties That Make Gonzaga's Vandersloot A Great Point Guard.

 STRAIGHT FROM THE PLAYER’S MOUTH

Despite scoring almost 20 ppg, Vandersloot has been a pass first point guard at Gonzaga.  She has great vision and has shown supreme confidence in her teammates’ abilities to finish when she gets them the ball.

Dishin & Swishin: Courtney Vandersloot on the "Pass First" Mentality

Playing in Washington, in the shadow of the Seattle Storm, coming off their incredible season and championship run, it’s easy to see why Courtney would want to continue her basketball career at the next level.

Dishin & Swishin: Courtney Vandersloot on Playing in the WNBA

 

WHAT THE COACHES SAY

Kelly Graves has said that all future players that he coaches will be held up to the on and off the court standard now established at Gonzaga by Courtney Vandersloot.   Here is Coach Graves on his star player, her strengths, and her weaknesses.

Dishin & Swishin: Kelly Graves on Courtney Vandersloot

QUOTE FROM AN OPPOSING PLAYER

Notre Dame, Gonzaga Take Top Honors At Seattle U's State Farm Holiday Classic - Swish Appeal
"Oh man, I love her game," said Diggins. "I might have underestimated her quickness - she's quick. She's quick, she's great with the ball, she's great at finding her teammates, she's great at creating her own shot. And she's dangerous because you don't know if she's going to shoot it or if she's going to dish it. And I think she draws a lot of eyes and I think that's why she leads the nation in assists because she's great at finding her teammates after she picks up the ball."

DRAFT FORECAST

Courtney Vandersloot proved herself to be, in the words of ESPN's Kara Lawson, "the best point guard in the country, and it's not even close."  The numbers are only partially inflated by the high speed, run and run some more offense Gonzaga uses, but there is no denying that Courtney handles the ball exceedingly well.  Her size and strength will be a factor, as even Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves admits that she was bigger and stronger at the start of the season than the end. 

How will playing back to back seasons, and, most likely, year round, effect that?  She has an outstanding pull up jumper, and shot a respectable 38% from three-point range, but she will need to work on consistently making that shot a threat that needs to be respected.  The other issue will be her quickness.   Most WNBA point guards have either strength (Lindsay Whalen) or quickness (Temeka Johnson); can she defend at the next level?