Point guard Samantha Prahalis, a 2012 All-Rookie selection and Rookie of the Year runner-up, has been signed by the Atlanta Dream along with four other training camp signings as announced by the team in a release.
"As we focus on building a championship contender, it is imperative that we add versatile players in free agency and through the draft who will provide quality depth at all positions," said Dream Executive Vice President and General Manager Angela Taylor. "We are pleased that Courtney Clements has agreed to return to the Dream, and are excited that former first-round pick and WNBA All-Rookie Team member Samantha Prahalis will be joining us as well.
"All five players have competed at high levels in college and overseas, and bring something special and unique that will enhance our roster and complement our core players, making our training camp extremely competitive."
Prahalis, who was widely considered the best point guard in the 2012 WNBA draft, finished seventh in the WNBA in assists to counter-balance finishing 10th in turnovers during her rookie season with a 7-27 Phoenix Mercury team (that was rewarded with the first pick in the 2013 draft and the right to select 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner). SB Nation's Kris Habbas wrote of her rookie season that, "For a small period of the season the debate could be made that Prahalis, no matter the teams difference in wins and losses, was the better rookie (than Nneka Ogwumike."
On the Mercury's release of Samantha Prahalis
Since the Phoenix Mercury released Samantha Prahalis last year, some WNBA fans have used her as an example of the problems with 11-player rosters.
Unfortunately, things deteriorated in her second season as Prahalis, who had a DRtg of 109 in her rookie year, played just 11 games before her "alarming" release by the Mercury and later the New York Liberty. Prahalis was the second of 46 All-Rookie selections since 2005 to not last through at least their second season on a roster, the first being Marta Fernandez who left the league to represent her country in the 2008 Olympics.
Prahalis will now compete with veteran Olympian Celine Dumerc and 2011 draft selection Jasmine Thomas, whose pure point rating last season (-0.03) was the same as Prahalis' rookie year rating (-0.03), for minutes in Atlanta's point guard rotation. Also a relatively high-usage point guard in both college and her rookie year, Prahalis joins a Dream roster with high-usage perimeter players Matee Ajavon and Angel McCoughtry.
As we reported previously, the Dream have also signed former Baylor guard Jhasmin Player. The other three signings announced today were the team's undrafted 2013 rookie Courtney Clements, 6-foot-4 Brazilian center Nadia Gomes Colhado, and 2012 draft prospect Jacki Gemelos, who played for current Dream coach Michael Cooper and continues to pursue her dream of playing professional basketball after a college career marred by injury.