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2013 WNBA Draft prospects from the Spokane region of the NCAA Tournament

Finishing up the look at 2013 WNBA Draft prospects in the recently completed NCAA Tournament, we look at a group of players from the Spokane region that we haven't discussed much.


One of the interesting wrinkles in the California Golden Bears' run through the Spokane region to the 2013 Final Four was that they actually ended up drawing a string of teams with similar statistical profiles in that they weren't terribly efficient scoring teams that looked to make up for that inefficiency in other ways (forcing turnovers in particular).

Cal just proved over and over again that they were better at compensating for their weaknesses than other teams, despite the fact that their path could hardly be called easy and could well have been different had a couple of higher seeds won.

But another interesting aspect of Cal's run, at least from a WNBA fan's perspective, is that Cal's run featured a few matchups between guard prospects in the 2013 WNBA Draft. And if you didn't know who Layshia Clarendon was or what she was capable of, that makes her tournament performance all the more impressive.

In facing the Smith twins against South Florida, Adrienne Webb of LSU, and Jasmine James of Georgia, Clarendon emerged as clearly above any of them. Nevertheless, a number of players in the Spokane region showed a little something that might have impressed WNBA scouts.

Chynna Brown, 5'8", guard, Texas Tech Red Raiders

NSR rating: 3rd round | Player profile

Here's why Brown caught my eye: she's an extremely athletic guard with an outstanding offensive rebounding percentage of 8.06% and a steal percentage right at 4%. She has a crossover move that is hard for any defender to stay with. Add to that a 46% 2-point percentage with a 42% 3-point percentage and you have a solid perimeter scoring prospect, though perhaps dime-a-dozen in this particular draft.

However, the red flags for her actually begin with her scoring numbers: Brown has an extremely low free throw rate 14.9%, which is generally the sign of a guard who spends a lot of time taking jumpers. That's not entirely a problem as someone who makes the percentage she does, but guards with low free throw rates don't always fare well. The other issue is her size: at 5'8", she might have to fill the point guard position to make a pro roster and her pure point rating of -3.10% isn't encouraging in terms of ball handling efficiency.

Talia Caldwell, 6'3", center, California Golden Bears

NSR rating: Not ranked | Player profile

Caldwell is one of very few players who NSR doesn't have rated as a draft pick that I'm including anyway and the reason for that is probably evident after watching her for a few minutes: she's dominant rebounder.

Heading into the postseason, she led a very good rebounding team with an offensive rebounding percentage of just over 16%. Yet what makes Caldwell especially interesting as a prospect is that she's one of those players who has improved quite dramatically over the course of her career - it's unclear how significant that is to a player becoming successful in the WNBA, but at the very least it shows the type of discipline, drive, and work ethic that might help a player become successful eventually.

Jasmine Hassell, F, 6'2", Georgia Bulldogs

NSR rating: N/A | Player profile

What was most impressive about Hassell in the tournament was how easily she scored against pretty strong defenses in both Cal and Stanford. On more the one occasion she made defenders look like practice dummies and she showed the ability to get very good position on he block.

The potential problem for a prospect like Hassell is that she relies heavily on a power game in college and it's reasonable to wonder whether things will come as easily for her in the post in the WNBA. Statistically, her low pure point rating (-5.35) caused by an extremely low assist ratio (3.5%) is a red flag that was hard to ignore throughout the season, but also not as bad as it would be if she had a high turnover ratio.

Jasmine James, G, Georgia Bulldogs

NSR rating: 3rd round | Player profile

James was particularly impressive against Cal and it's not unreasonable for Georgia fans to wonder whether things would have turned out differently had she not fouled out of the game.

She sort of fits the mold of scoring college point guard who could become a more efficient distributor in the pros when she's responsible for less of a scoring load and her athleticism really showed up in her steal percentage (4.36%). The problem is a very low scoring efficiency (44.64% true shooting percentage) and low offensive rebounding percentage (2.62%), which sort of undermine the rest of her profile.

Taleya Mayberry, G, 5'6", Tulsa Hurricanes

NSR rating: 3rd round | Player profile

Mayberry gave the Stanford Cardinal fits in the first round of the tournament with her speed on both ends of the floor and could get a look from a team in need of ball handling help late in the draft. Although she's not an efficient distributor, a lot of that was because Tulsa relied on her so heavily for scoring. Nevertheless, despite a 29.61% usage rate, Mayberry posted a really strong 1.93 points/empty possession rating and got to the free throw line at a very high rate (41.87%). As a mid-major prospect, those numbers shouldn't be taken at face value and the fact that she had a low assist ratio of just 14.70% (for a point guard) might reflect limited potential as a distributor.

Andrea Smith, 5'8", guard, South Florida Bulls

NSR rating: 3rd round | Player profile

Andrell Smith, 5'8", guard, South Florida Bulls

NSR rating: N/R | Player profile

I'm not grouping these two players together solely because they're twins - they happen to fit a similar profile as draft prospects too.

Both players are high-volume, low-efficiency shooters - both have usage rates over 27% and 2-point percentages under 42%. However, what separates them is that Andrell played point guard and that might actually help her case a bit: as a high usage point guard with an assist ratio of just over 20% and a points/empty possessions ratio of 1.41 she might have a fighting chance based on the track record of point guard prospects in recent drafts.

Laura Sweeney, F, 6'2", Villanova Wildcats

NSR rating: 2nd round | Player profile

When we initially discussed junior statistics for draft prospects at the beginning of the season, Sweeney was near the top of the list for two reasons: she was a major contributor to her team and efficient while doing so. Although she didn't end up being a major factor in the Wildcats' first round loss to the Michigan Wolverines, she showed off some of what has made her such an effective college post: she has solid footwork, a nice shooting touch, and Michigan's best answer for containing her ended up being foul trouble.

Statistically, she has become a more efficient scorer in her senior year (58.32% true shooting percentage) and a 29.4% 3-point percentage. She has an extremely well developed inside-outside game and her athletic indicators are even stronger: her steal percentage of 5.4% is 18th in the nation and her block percentage of 5.6% is 38th.

All that said, the red flag for her as an interior player is that she has a very low offensive rebounding percentage (5.64%) and, with few exceptions, scoring college interior players haven't fared well in the WNBA. Still, as a player with scoring skills that she has it wouldn't be impossible to imagine her competing for a spot on a roster.

Joslyn Tinkle, F, 6'3", Stanford Cardinal

NSR rating: 2nd round | Player profile

Tinkle is certainly one of the better 3-point shooters the power forward spot (32.2% down from 39.7% in her junior year) and was a decent passer for Stanford in high-low situations with Chiney Ogwumike, as indicated by an 11.63% assist ratio. Certainly a team looking for a "stretch four" could give her a shot, but it's hard to project a WNBA role for her.

Tinkle has struggled in matchups with more athletic teams and has a low offensive rebounding rate (6.56%), which typically makes it tough to make it in the WNBA. When you combine that with a very low free throw rate of 11.57% she projects as a spot up shooter who with a low 3-point percentage. Still, on a WNBA team where she isn't the second leading scorer, it's also not inconceivable that she'd become a more consistent 3-point shooter in the right situation.

Adrienne Webb, 5'9", guard, LSU Lady Tigers

NSR rating: N/A | Player profile

What Webb has going for her is a strong 2-point percentage of 47.98%, a good number for a scoring guard. Combine that with a low turnover ratio (9.8%) and you have a rather reliable player with the ball in her hands.

The problem is that she's mostly a scorer offensively: despite that low turnover ratio, she still has a low pure point rating (-2.68) because of a relatively low assist ratio (6.41%). But when you compare that as a shortcoming to those of other comparable players in the draft, it's not the worst problem to have. That she's coming from a program with players who have at least been coached to defend combined with her ability to knock down shots could help her compete for a spot at the next level.

Other prospects discussed previously:

Alex Bentley, G, Penn State Lady Lions

Layshia Clarendon, G, California Golden Bears

Taelor Karr, G, Gonzaga Bulldogs

Chelsea Poppens, F, Iowa State Cyclones

Adrian Ritchie, G, Green Bay Phoenix

Jenny Ryan, G, Michigan Wolverines

For more on the 2013 WNBA Draft, visit our draft prospects storystream. For more on the 2013 NCAA Tournament as a whole, visit our NCAA section.