April 15, 2023
Locked on Women’s Basketball: Ranking top WNBA Draft prospects in college basketball
Who is the top WNBA Draft prospect still in college?
In today’s episode of Locked on Women’s Basketball, co-hosts Hunter Cruse and Em Adler and guest Lincoln Shafer rank over 20 of the best WNBA Draft prospects remaining in women’s college basketball, regardless of class.
Em leads off by explaining the basic ranking system that they use to compare prospects across years:
“We use the 20-to-80 scale that comes from baseball. The basic concept of a 20-80 scale is that the number dead in the middle, 50, is going to be the average grade of a player in who has made it to the majors. And at the WNBA level … it’s a little different. We don’t have minor-league farm systems … So that translates to about an average starter grade would be a 50, right in the middle of your 20-80 scale.
“And what that does is, as you go out from 50, towards the ends of the 20-80, it becomes a normal distribution curve. So you have a certain percentage of players falling within your 45 to 55 range and your 40 to 60 range. And then you … see a smaller percentage of players falling in [each block of 10] outside of that.”
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In the 2023 WNBA Draft, Cruse and Adler ranked eventual No. 1 overall pick Aliyah Boston at 70, which translates to an All-WNBA caliber player. Jordan Horston, the No. 9 pick, was at 50, and No. 2 pick Diamond Miller was at 45. (To see the rankings for other 2023 draft picks, check out Cruse and Adler’s draft board.)
By comparison, every player discussed on today’s podcast is ranked at 45 or higher, and Iowa guard and rising senior Caitlin Clark is the top prospect with an 80 ranking (WNBA MVP-caliber). Here’s Lincoln discussing Clark:
“She’s been the best offensive force in college basketball for her whole time at Iowa so far. She scores the ball at an incredible rate from all areas of the floor. She is one of the best passers in the country. And she has quietly improved a lot on defense … You don’t have that many primary ball-handler prospects who come in at a legit 6′ with length and with her kind of athleticism.”
(For more on Clark, her college career to date and her pro potential, check out our Clark archives.)
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