With the additions of Jewell Loyd and Amanda Zahui B to the 2015 draft, predicting what will happen on draft night has become all the more entertaining and all the more difficult. We know the top two picks will be Loyd and Zahui B but we don’t know who will go #1 and what trades might happen that could completely change which team winds up with which player. As a result, instead of trying to create another mock draft I have decided to list who I believe to be the 10 best players available in order from 1-10. This list in no way reflects draft order, team need, team style or player position. It is simply a list of who are the 10 best available players with the most potential to succeed in the WNBA over the course of their careers. Included with each player is a video link and a list of some of their accolades from this past season.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
1. Jewell Loyd 5’ 10" Junior Guard. Notre Dame
19.8PPG 5.3RPG 3.0APG 1.5SPG
Accomplishments: ESPN player of the year, WBCA All-American
An elite shooting guard with the ability to make contested shots from all over the court, Loyd is a true franchise changing, superstar prospect. Her athleticism and creativity make her one of the most exciting players to watch, while her skills and work ethic make her the type of player veterans want to play with, coaches want to coach and general managers dream of adding to their roster. Her talents and on court style also make her highly marketable, something every team owner loves as it means new fans will be drawn to their franchise.
2. Amanda Zahui B 6’ 5" Redshirt Sophomore Center. Minnesota
18.8PPG 12.9RPG 4.1BPG 1.4SPG
Accomplishments: 2015 B1G player of the year, WBCA All- American
Standing 6’ 5" tall with a wing span to match, Zahui B would be a WNBA prospect just by her sheer size and stature. When you also take into account her strength and ability to dominate opposing teams, her international experience and her skill set that includes great footwork and range to the three point line, she becomes a prospect on par with Brittney Griner. Her on court demeanor and intensity also stand out. In an era where showing emotion is rare, Zahui B stands apart as her intensity and fire on the court often seem to equal the energy of an entire arena full of screaming fans.
3. Elizabeth Williams 6’ 3" Center/Forward. Duke
14.5PPG 9.0RPG 3.0BPG 1.5SPG
Accomplishments: WBCA national defensive player of the year, WBCA All-American
While not as tall or strong as Zahui B, Elizabeth Williams is equally skilled down low and has a full four years of experience competing against the best the NCAA has to offer. Her defensive instincts and length allow her to make up for her being slightly undersized at the center position, while her footwork and craftiness make her a tough assignment for any opposing team to try and stop offensively.
4. Dearica Hamby 6’ 3" Forward. Wake Forest
20.3PPG 10.7RPG 2.3APG 1.7SPG
Accomplishments: First team All ACC. All time leading scorer at Wake Forest
Until this week Hamby was the player with the most potential to become a superstar at the next level. Standing 6’ 3" tall with an above average wingspan gives her the ability to match up with any post player in college and quite a few in the WNBA. What makes her special is her ability to guard the perimeter. Hamby is able to stay in front of most point guards in the half court meaning that she can serve as a defensive stopper against nearly anybody in the WNBA. Add to it her athleticism, ability to get the ball and score over permanent double teams, plus her range to the three point line and you are looking at a player who could play all three front court positions offensively, and guard all five positions defensively. Now THAT is rare.
5. Samantha Logic 5’ 9" Point Guard. Iowa
13.4PPG 8.1APG 7.0RPG 1.9SPG
Accomplishments: WBCA All American, All time assists leader at Iowa
Samantha Logic might have the highest basketball IQ in all of college basketball. Her passing and court vision are second to none and the way in which she can make every one of her teammates better by her mere presence is uncanny. The most impressive thing about Logic as a player tho is how she can singlehandedly take over a game, wether it be with assists, scoring or rebounding. Whatever her team needs to win, she delivers. Her style of play and skill set are also exciting to watch and are so similar to Jason Kidd that at times it’s spooky.
6. Brittany Boyd 5’ 9" Point Guard Cal
13.4PPG 6.8APG 7.1RPG 2.9SPG
Accomplishments: WBCA All-American. All PAC-12 first team.
Brittany Boyd is is a nightmare for opposing teams. Trying to guard her is near impossible. Dare her to shoot and she either hits a cutting teammate with a pass for an easy layup, or she hits the shot herself. Play her close and she will blow by you and turn your teams rock solid defense into swiss cheese. Try to score on her and you are in for a LONG night. Her feet and hands are quick enough to stay in front of and strip anyone and she is strong enough to take contact and not give an inch. Add in her speed in the open floor and her willingness to gamble in the passing lanes to get fast break points and you can almost see the opposing coaches temple throbbing from the headache Boyd creates. Oh, and don’t forget that she led Cal in rebounding even while they featured the PAC-12 player of the year Reshanda Gray. Asprin, anyone?
7. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis 5’ 11" Forward/Guard UConn
14.9PPG 4.2RPG 2.7APG 1.1SPG
Accomplishments: WBCA All-American, NCAA all time 3 pointers made record holder
The most prolific three point shooter in NCAA history, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ signature skill might not be her best attribute. While shooting nearly 50% from deep is incredible, their have been many other great shooters. What sets KML apart from them is her passing and court vision. Opposing teams make a habit of face-guarding her to prevent her from getting her shot off. This means that while she might not be able to get off her own shot, their will be a teammate who is either open or receiving only single coverage when they demand a double team. When KML sees where the ball needs to go she gets it their quickly, deceptively and efficiently giving her team many easier shots at the rim. If her defender steps back even an inch to prevent the pass well...her record breaking 398 made three's speaks for themselves.
8. Reshanda Gray 6’ 3" Power Forward Cal
17.4PPG 7.1RPG .9BPG 56.8FG%
Accomplishments: PAC-12 Player of the year
The best way to describe Gray’s game is raw power. Stronger than she looks (and she looks strong to begin with) with great hands, she operates down low with a ruthlessness and strength that left most of the players who guarded her wishing the game was over the second she touched the ball. Capable of scoring nearly every basket against double and triple teams whose soul mission was to stop her no matter how hard they had to hit her, Gray consistently put up great numbers on offense and solid numbers on defense. She is even capable of all out dominance when the mood strikes her. Not many players can say they have scored 43 points in a PAC-12 conference game. Gray can.
9. Isabelle Harrison 6 3" Power Forward. Tennessee
12.2PPG 8.6RPG 1.2BPG 47.1FG%
Accomplishments: First team all ACC
Highly skilled and agile, Isabelle Harrison would be MUCH higher in these rankings if it were not for her repeated knee injuries. It is rare to find a player with her combination of length, agility, footwork, skill and IQ. Especially when you consider that she displayed all of those attributes in one of the toughest conferences in the country and well into the NCAA tournament each year. She is also the leader of the last class ever recruited and coached by Pat Summitt. A woman who knew a thing or two about creating winners and instilling the value of hard work into her players.
10.Crystal Bradford 6’ 0" Guard/Forward Central Michigan
19.6PPG 8.6RPG 3.5APG 2.5SPG
Accomplishments: Central Michigan's all time leader in points, rebounds, blocks and field goals made
Versatile, dominant, mismatch, all words that can accurately describe Crystal Bradford’s style of play. Standing at 6’ 0" with the size of a small forward, Bradford possess the speed, quickness and court vision of a guard and the rebounding and shot blocking ability of a post. Few players have ever been so dominant over an entire conference in the way Bradford was this past season, even fewer at the guard or wing spots. Bradford’s versatility and flat out ability to outplay her opponents is what sets her apart from all others at her position.