WNBA Draft eligible international prospects

On Monday, April 16, in Bristol, Connecticut at the ESPN headquarters 2012 WNBA Draft will be conducted.

By now there shouldn’t be any doubts that the first pick will be Stanford power forward Nneka Ogwumike. Following her in no particular order should be forwards Shekinna Stricklen and Glory Johnson from Tennessee, guard Shenise Johnson from Miami and guard Samantha Prahalis from Ohio State. After that it’s a bunch of marginal players who could stick on a WNBA roster only if the situation is right.

You can find more about them on stormbasketball.com, SwishAppeal and Lynx Draft Central.

Then there’s the Minnesota Lynx who have 6 draft picks but realistically only one open roster spot. So you shouldn’t be surprised to see them or really anyone else picking an international player who won’t be expected to come over this summer but will stay overseas to develop.

Only such player on the WNBA prospect list is Lithuanian guard Kamile Nacickaite, but only just because she played college basketball at Drexel.

So let’s take a look at top international prospects who are already playing pro basketball.

First off, only eligible international players are the ones who turn 20 or 21 this year, or to make it easier – the ones born in 1992 or 1991 (take note LA Front Office, so you don’t draft Babkina again). That’s of course if they’re not studying in college in the States.

Secondly, WNBA teams don’t to such extensive scouting of international talents as they do domestically so you’ll see them drafting height more often than drafting skill. Consider the last five drafted guards who hadn’t played college ball – Elina Babkina (ineligible, 22 at the year of draft), Alba Torrens (1.93m (6-4), not sure CT drafted her as a guard), Renae Camino, Erin Phillips (Australian, can avoid annual NT duties), Nuria Martinez (???). All of that over the last 8 drafts. So from the players mentioned below, the posts are the most likely to be drafted.

Damiris Dantas (Brazil)

 Position: Center Height: 192cm / 6’4″  Club in 2011/12: RC Celta Baloncesto (Spain) Date of Birth: 17.11.1992

Stats:
RC Celta 2011/12 in Spanish league: 25 games, 27 MPG, 13.1 PPG (39% 2P, 14% 3P, 62% FT), 7 RPG, 0.6 AS, 1.3 TO, 1 ST, 0.4 BS
FIBA U19 World Championships 2011: 9 games, 35 MPG, 20.9 PPG (45,9% 2P, 10% 3P, 60% FT), 12.6 RPG, 1.4 AS, 1.2 TO, 2 ST, 0.67 BS
2011 FIBA Americas Championship: 6 games, 22 MPG, 10.2 PPG (48,1% 2P, 33,3% 3P, 61.5% FT), 5.8 RPG, 1.5 AS, 0.5 TO, 1 ST, 0.67 BS

Comment:

By many considered the best international prospect in this year’s draft. Is not likely to report this year with Brazil preparing for Olympic games. If you believe what Jessica Lantz on Swishappeal has written then she won’t appear in the WNBA until after 2016. After a strong summer with both youth and senior National Teams, her first European pro season can be seen as a letdown. Has some range, but still has some work to do on three pointers.

Nika Baric (Slovenia)

 Position: Point Guard Height: 169cm / 5’7″  Club in 2011/12: Sparta&K Moscow Region Vidnoje (Russia) Date of Birth: 02.09.1992

Stats:
Sparta&K 2011/12 in Russian league: 23 games, 16 MPG, 4.8 PPG (49.3% 2P, 22.6% 3P, 80% FT), 0.9 RPG, 2.4 AS, 1.5 TO, 0,3 ST
Sparta&K 2011/12 in EuroLeague Women: 20 games, 12 MPG, 3.2 PPG (42.9% 2P, 13.3% 3P, 60% FT), 1.0 RPG, 1.2 AS, 0.7 TO, 0.2 ST
FIBA U19 World Championships 2011: 3 games, 30 MPG, 13.7 PPG (54.2% 2P, 10% 3P, 80% FT), 5 RPG, 3.3 AS, 2 TO, 0.6 ST

Comment:

Was named best young European player in 2010 as well as U18 European Championship MVP. Pokey Chatman saw her play at age 18 and wanted to have her on one of the best European teams who could have almost anyone on their squad. That should say something. This season has been third string point guard behind Becky Hammon and Jelena Skerovic, though fairly often they’ve played with 2 PG backcourt. Three point shooting needs some working on. Being from Slovenia, isn’t expected to be busy in things like EuroBasket Women, not to mention World Championships or Olympic Games. Physical attributes kind of remind Erin Phillips. Takes care of the ball fairly well.

Vanessa Ble (Spain)

 Position: Power Forward/Center Height: 190cm / 6’3″  Club in 2011/12: Gran Canaria 2014 (Spain) Date of Birth: 12.08.1991

Stats:
Gran Canaria 2014 2011/12 in Spanish league: 26 games, 36 MPG, 8.9 PPG (37.5% 2P, — 3P, 65% FT), 10.7 RPG, 1.5 AS, 3.1 TO, 1.7 ST, 0.5 BS
Gran Canaria 2014 2011/12 in EuroCup Women: 10 games, 36 MPG, 9.3 PPG (50.8% 2P, 0% 3P, 64.6% FT), 8.7 RPG, 2.0 AS, 3.2 TO, 1.6 ST, 0.3 BS
2011 European U20 Championships: 9 games, 23 MPG, 6.3 PPG (41.8% 2P, –% 3P, 50% FT), 7.8 RPG, 1.1 AS, 2.2 TO, 2.2 ST, 1.0 BS

Comment:

Final year of draft eligibility. Excellent rebounder for her age – finished second in Spanish league in rebounding ahead of the likes of Erika de Souza and Ann Wauters. Shot selection should come with more experience. As is the case with most Spaniards would be very likely to appear every couple of years due to a strong NT.

Queralt Casas (Spain)

 Position: Shooting Guard Height: 180cm / 5’11”  Club in 2011/12: Mann Filter Zaragoza (Spain) Date of Birth: 18.11.1992

Stats:
Mann Filter Zaragoza 2011/12 in Spanish league: 26 games, 27 MPG, 9.5 PPG (47% 2P, 30.4% 3P, 48% FT), 3.4 RPG, 1.5 AS, 1.8 TO, 1.4 ST, 0.1 BS
2011 European U20 Championships: 9 games, 25 MPG, 11.8 PPG (43.9% 2P, 11.8% 3P, 73.7% FT), 5.9 RPG, 2.0 AS, 1.6 TO, 3.4 ST, 0.2 BS
FIBA U19 World Championships 2011: 9 games, 28 MPG, 10.0 PPG (37% 2P, 37.5% 3P, 56% FT), 3.6 RPG, 1.0 AS, 2.1 TO, 1.7 ST, 0.1 BS

Comment:

Was named U20 European Championship MVP in 2011. One of the more interesting guard prospects in European women’s basketball. Has showed some significant improvements from the first season with Zaragoza to now. Not being a can’t miss guard prospect like Alba Torrens would mean her chances of being drafted are very slim.

Alina Iagupova (Ukraine)

 Position: Shooting Guard Height: 181cm / 5’11”  Club in 2011/12: Regina Basket Bar (Ukraine) Date of Birth: 09.02.1992

Stats:
Regina Basket Bar 2011/12 in Ukrainian league: 28 games, 32 MPG, 24.1 PPG (57% 2P, 24.4% 3P, 61.6% FT), 8.6 RPG, 3.1 AS, 2.7 TO, 2.8 ST, 1.1 BS
2011 European U20 Championships: 9 games, 25 MPG, 16.6 PPG (41.3% 2P, 18.2% 3P, 56.9% FT), 7.4 RPG, 5.6 AS, 6.2 TO, 2.3 ST, 1.3 BS
EuroBasket Women 2011 AQT: 4 games, 20 MPG, 6.5 PPG (64.3% 2P, 0% 3P, 57.1% FT), 5.3 RPG, 0.8 AS, 3.3 TO, 1.3 ST, 0.3 BS

Comment:

Let’s get this out of the way – she will not be drafted. But that doesn’t mean she’s not among the top European prospects. Over the past 4-5 years she has been one of the top players in European Youth Championships with the most impressive performance coming in 2010 U18’s where she averaged 32.6 points per game. With her ability to get to the basket comes the disability to efficiently take care of the ball. With all of the chances she gets to attack with the ball she really has to work on long distance shooting. Another thing that works against her is her still playing in Ukraine – one of the bottom tier European leagues – where she’s the best player at 20 years old. One can only guess how she looks against legitimate professional players.

Farhiya Abdi (Sweden)

 Position: Small Forward Height: 188cm / 6’2″  Club in 2011/12: Frisco IMOS Brno (Czech Republic) Date of Birth: 31.05.1992

Stats:
Frisco IMOS Brno 2011/12 in Czech league: 30 games, 30 MPG, 14.4 PPG (50.5% 2P, 22.4% 3P, 64.1% FT), 6.7 RPG, 1.8 AS, 2.8 TO, 2.2 ST, 0.1 BS
Frisco IMOS Brno 2011/12 in EuroLeague Women: 13 games, 31.2 MPG, 8.2 PPG (29.5% 2P, 18.9% 3P, 52.8% FT), 5.8 RPG, 0.7 AS, 1.9 TO, 1.1 ST, 0.5 BS
2011 European U20 Championships: 7 games, 26 MPG, 17.3 PPG (53.2% 2P, 15.0% 3P, 75.7% FT), 5.3 RPG, 1.3 AS, 2.0 TO, 1.9 ST, 0.6 BS

Comment:

Consistency hasn’t been the name of Abdi’s game early in her career. Her first season with Frisco Brno in EuroLeague Women can be seen as planting the seeds of doubt about how her game will translate in the big time pros. Throughout the season she struggled with shot selection against opponents like Sonja Petrovic, Essence Carson, Nicole Powell which wasn’t the case in youth competitions and to an extent also in Czech league, which isn’t known to be the most competitive. On the plus side she has a nice frame for wing player and coming from Sweden is not expected to be busy in European Championships with the National Team for at least some 4-6 years.

Alena Hanusova (Czech Republic)

 Position: Power Forward Height: 190cm / 6’3″  Club in 2011/12: Frisco IMOS Brno (Czech Republic) Date of Birth: 29.05.1991

Stats:
Frisco IMOS Brno 2011/12 in Czech league: 35 games, 31 MPG, 16.1 PPG (58.5% 2P, 40.0% 3P, 87.3% FT), 6.5 RPG, 1.0 AS, 2.3 TO, 1.1 ST, 0.5 BS
Frisco IMOS Brno 2011/12 in EuroLeague Women: 14 games, 28.9 MPG, 9.0 PPG (36.4% 2P, 28.6% 3P, 82.4% FT), 5.1 RPG, 0.4 AS, 2.6 TO, 0.6 ST, 0.5 BS
EuroBasket Women 2011: 7 games, 6 MPG, 2.6 PPG (50.0% 2P, 100.0% 3P, 50.0% FT), 2.0 RPG, 0.3 AS, 0.4 TO, 0.0 ST, 0.0 BS
2011 European U20 Championships: 8 games, 26 MPG, 14.0 PPG (47.4% 2P, 60.0% 3P, 83.8% FT), 6.9 RPG, 1.3 AS, 1.5 TO, 0.8 ST, 1.0 BS

Comment:

Is mentioned here mainly because Farhiya Abdi has also been mentioned. She’s in her second/final year of eligibility. Having a look at her and Abdi playing side by side, she’s the Frisco Brno youngster that passes the eye test more often than Abdi. Besides that her numbers in all competitions are better than Abdi’s. But with her nationality and the strength of Czech NT comes the probability she would show up maybe for a couple of seasons.

Olesia Malashenko (Ukraine)

 Position: Power Forward Height: 189cm / 6’3″  Club in 2011/12: Vologda-Chevakata (Russia) Date of Birth: 21.02.1991

Stats:
Vologda-Chevakata 2011/12 in Russian league: 26 games, 20 MPG, 7.7 PPG (40.9% 2P, 23.7% 3P, 79.5% FT), 3.0 RPG, 1.1 AS, 1.7 TO, 0.8 ST, 0.4 BS
Vologda-Chevakata 2011/12 in EuroCup Women: 12 games, 20 MPG, 9.8 PPG (50.7% 2P, 32.1% 3P, 76.9% FT), 3.3 RPG, 1.0 AS, 1.2 TO, 0.9 ST, 0.4 BS
2011 European U20 Championships: 9 games, 34 MPG, 16.9 PPG (46.6% 2P, 33.3% 3P, 80.6% FT), 9.9 RPG, 2.0 AS, 2.2 TO, 0.7 ST, 1.0 BS

Comment:

After an impressive outing with Arras in EuroCup Women in 2010/11 was a personal favorite to be drafted in 2011. Wasn’t the case. If I had to guess, the height is probably the issue. Since she doesn’t seem to have grown over the year it’s not likely she’ll get picked in 2012 either. Still a very nice European young post player who can shoot from all over the floor.

Astan Dabo (Mali)

 Position: Center Height: 203cm / 6’8″  Club in 2011/12: Reims Basket Feminin (France, 2nd league) Date of Birth: 30.05.1992

Stats:
Reims Basket Feminin 2011/12 in French second league: 22 games, 26 MPG, 11.3 PPG (54.4% 2P, –% 3P, 51.4% FT), 12.5 RPG, 1.1 AS, 2.9 TO, 1.1 ST, 0.6 BS
2011 FIBA Africa Championship: 7 games, 9 MPG, 3.6 PPG (55.6% 2P, –% 3P, 55.6% FT), 2.6 RPG, 0.3 AS, 2.0 TO, 0.3 ST, 0.1 BS

Comment:

Originally suggested by Kevin Brown on Rebkell’s. Her being chosen would literally be drafting height. But there could certainly be much worse ways to waste draft picks than to take a gamble on 2.03m tall 19 year old.

Azania Stewart (Great Britain)

 Position: Center Height: 195cm / 6’4″  Club in 2011/12: University of Florida (USA, NCAA) Date of Birth: 13.03.1989

Stats:
Florida 2011/12 in NCAA: 33 games, 25 MPG, 6.3 PPG (50% 2P, 0% 3P, 67.3% FT), 5.5 RPG, 1.1 AS, 1.7 TO, 1.2 ST, 2.1 BS
EuroBasket Women 2011: 6 games, 20 MPG, 4.2 PPG (57.6% 2P, –% 3P, 50.0% FT), 4.5 RPG, 0.5 AS, 1.8 TO, 0.8 ST, 0.7 BS

Comment:

Is eligible after graduating University of Florida this year. Had a nice showing in NCAA tournament against Brittney Griner. As you can see above, 1992 hasn’t been generous with girls that have size so for someone looking to pick and stash an international player for a couple of seasons to develop in Europe, she might be one of the few big girls that fits that bill.

 

PS. Now that I’ve written this you can expect a miscellaneous tall girl from Bosnia and Herzegovina to be selected and none of the above.

  • Michelle

    At what time is the draft for us? And will you have a link monday :)?

  • Luuuc

    Draft time is 2:00pm USA Eastern Time, which is 6:00pm GMT, or 8:00pm MST (Michelle Summer Time).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1324066140 Francisco J. Cortés Pérez

    Last year were elected international players like Elina Babkina (1989). I think this year are ellegible players like Marta Xargay (1990).

    • Jānis Kacēns

      I already explained in the article. Babkina was ineligible and her pick was voided.
      International players, that have no college eligibility, can be drafted in the year they turn 20. Players are eligible for two drafts, so if a player was undrafted in the year she turned 20, she can be drafted in the year she turns 21.