Prior to the 2021 WNBA Draft, draft-eligible collegiate players had a decision to make: opt-in to the draft or return to school on an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the Colorado Buffaloes’ Mya Hollingshed, that decision hinged on one factor: unfinished business.
Hollingshed, a 6-foot-3 forward from Houston, Texas, could very well have been in the mix to make a WNBA roster as a 2021 draftee, but chose to return to Colorado after missing out on the NCAA Tournament. She’ll now get one more shot to lead her team to the Big Dance, as well another season’s worth of material to add to her statistical resume. This chance at additional team and individual success should only benefit Hollingshed in the eyes of WNBA scouts; here’s what we’ve seen so far from the Buffaloes star.
Honors and statistics
An Adidas and Under Armour All-American in high school, Hollingshed first started garnering major attention in the Pac-12 as a junior, when she was named to the preseason All-Pac-12 team as an honorable mention. Hollingshed received similar honors prior to her senior season in 2020 and earned an All-Pac-12 nomination at the conclusion of the season in 2021.
Hollingshed was once again named to the preseason All-Pac-12 team prior to her fifth season at Colorado, as well as the Wooden Award Top 50 Watch List for the 2021-22 season. She led the Buffaloes in both scoring and rebounding during her junior (13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game) and senior (15.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game) seasons, totaling 15 double-doubles during her first four seasons at Colorado.
How she helps the Buffaloes
Hollingshed is typically the tallest player in Colorado’s starting lineup, but she’s far from your typical collegiate back-to-the-basket center. An athletic, wiry frame and a silky-smooth jumpshot make Hollingshed’s game unique — both appealing to watch and to coach for the Buffaloes’ staff.
“It’s nothing for her to go 18-for-20 from three in a shooting drill,” Colorado head coach JR Payne said of Hollingshed. “She’s become really versatile and that allows us to play off of her.”
It’s true: At 6-foot-3, Hollingshed moves and shoots like a guard. Though a post-up game is part of her offensive repertoire, she’s far more effective facing up from beyond or just inside the perimeter, where her quick first step allows her to blow by most other players her size — and she can shoot over just about everyone else. According to Synergy Sports, Hollingshed shot 63.6 percent in isolation scenarios (albeit in a small sample size) as a senior while knocking down 56 percent of her midrange jumpshots, the latter figure good enough for the 97th percentile.
Defensively, Hollingshed has the lateral movement to be an impact player almost anywhere on the court. Her quick feet and long arms give Payne confidence to play her in a variety of aggressive ball screen coverages. Hollingshed can both discourage dribble penetration by pick and roll ball handlers and also recover in time to keep her own defensive assignment from getting deep post position. This strength was on display in the Buffaloes’ season-opening victory over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls — watch Hollingshed show against Cowgirls guards, then scramble back to make a play or grab a defensive rebound in the video below:
Such versatility and athleticism will surely appeal to WNBA scouts, though what Hollingshed currently does for Colorado is, of course, much more difficult at the pro level. A more consistent 3-point shot will help her chances of getting drafted next spring; for as good of a midrange shooter Hollingshed is, she connected on roughly 31.6 percent of her long-range attempts during her first four years at Colorado. Making those shots more often would help answer questions about what Hollingshed’s ideal WNBA position is; while she plays mostly as a power forward or center for the Buffaloes, WNBA coaches may look at her frame and decide she’s better-suited for the perimeter.
Watch her play
Conference play in the Pac-12 doesn’t begin until late in December, but there will still be ample opportunities to watch the Buffaloes until then. Their next game will come against the Marquette Golden Eagles on Friday and will be streamed for free on the Colorado live stream page on the Pac-12’s website. Colorado’s Dec. 17 game against the SMU Mustangs will also present an interesting challenge to Hollingshed in particular; SMU forward Savannah Wilkinson has recorded a double-double in each of her first two games this season.
All statistics and team records for the 2021-22 season are current through Nov. 16, 2021.