The WNBA draft is coming up quickly and we all know who the big-name players are. Now it is time that we look at the players that are flying under the radar and will help WNBA teams become successful.
Erica Ogwumike: SG 5-9 (Rice)
Erica Ogwumike is the younger sister of Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, who both play for the Los Angeles Sparks. The Youngest Ogwumike averaged 19 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this season. She shot 45 percent from the field but only 17 percent from three-point land. Ogwumike’s three-point percentage has gone down every year in her four-year college career. But that is not the big part of her game.
Ogwumike is more of a slasher and mid-range player like her sisters. At her size, she is an outstanding rebounder, and when she grabs the rebound, she can push the tempo. Ogwumike would fit on a team that is looking for a scoring two-guard that is willing to go in the paint and rebound. But she must improve on that three-point shot.
Juicy Landrum: 5’8 PG/SG (Baylor)
Landrum can flat out shoot the three. She shot 42 percent from beyond the arch this year for Baylor. In December against Arkansas State, Landrum set an NCAA record making 14 three’s in one game. Landrum’s averages were 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this year.
Landrum would fit on a team looking for outside shooting and floor spaces. A team like the Las Vegas Aces, who needs shooting badly, could use a player like Landrum’s shooting ability to take much pressure off of players in A’ja Wilson and Angel McCoughtry. Landrum will be a solid WNBA player for whoever drafts her.
Kaila Charles: 6’1 SG/SF (Maryland)
Kaila Charles was dominant this past season for Maryland and is arguably one of the most underrated talents of this year’s draft class. Charles is a player who can torch the defense anywhere on the floor. Her strong suit is inside the three-point line where she can hit the mid-range jumper or penetrate to the rim to get a high percentage shot.
Charles also has a great basketball IQ and understands where she needs to be when moving off the ball. Her attention to detail is what can help her become a successful WNBA player. According to Draft Site, Charles is expected to fall at the 23rd spot in the draft by the Atlanta Dream. With the team in rebuild mode, it will be interesting what the organization can do with a young gifted player like Charles.
Kiah Gillespie: 6’2 Forward (Florida State)
The Lady Seminoles had a very dominant season thanks in part to Kiah Gillespie leading the way for the team. Gillespie is a dominant double-double machine who can score the ball and crash the glass as well. With her toughness and tenacity that she shows on the court, she can make a big difference for a team that takes her in the draft.
Gillespie lives underneath the basket. She is skilled in the post and her size gives her an advantage against her defenders down low. Although she is skilled in the post, she also has the ability to step outside the arc on many occasions and drain a three-pointer. With the way the game is evolving with skilled bigs and their play, Gillespie will fit right in alongside all of the others in the WNBA.
Gillespie is projected to go 10th overall by the Phoenix Mercury per Draft Site. With the team looking to have a bounce-back season after a horrendous 15-19 record a season ago, Gillespie could potentially be a difference-maker for the Mercury and they could make a good run out in the West with her impact to the team.
It’s amazing how much talent is coming out of this draft class. And we want to make sure everyone gets the recognition they deserve for their hard work and dedication that was put into their craft. Every player will get an opportunity to be drafted by a franchise that they can potentially make a huge difference with.
We cannot wait to see what the future holds for these ladies and what an impact they can make for the game of basketball.