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  • WNBA COLLEGIATE DRAFT ON APRIL 9
    By Dave Wohlhueter

    It's that exciting time of the year again for the WNBA, with the prospects of infusing the league with new talent.

    That means it is time for the collegiate draft, and the 2008 version will take place on Wednesday, April 9, the day after the NCAA Women's Final Four in Tampa, FL. The draft will begin at 1 p.m., and the first round will be televised by ESPN2. Subsequent rounds will be televised by ESPNU and NBA-TV.

    This year's draft will mark the third time that the WNBA has held its annual event in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four. Last year it was in Cleveland, and Boston was the site in 2006. In addition to the draft, the WNBA will also hold its pre-draft camp in Tampa.

    The Los Angeles Sparks (10-24) hold the first selection after winning the seventh annual WNBA Draft Lottery on Oct. 23, 2007. The Chicago Sky (14-20) will pick second, followed by the Minnesota Lynx (10-24). The Detroit Shock (24-10) acquired the fourth overall selection from Atlanta via Seattle, and the Houston Comets (13-21) will pick fifth.

    This year's draft is loaded with talent up front, and the depth is the best, possibly ever. Tennessee forward Candace Parker and LSU center Sylvia Fowles are most likely going in the top two spots, but don't forget Stanford guard Candice Wiggins, who would add instant talent to someone's backcourt.

    Los Angeles also has the option of a trade, and there has been some discussion with the Chicago Sky. The deal would be Chicago and LA switching No. 1 and 2 positions, and the Sky would also send all-star forward Candice Dupree to the Sparks. Take it Los Angeles. Dupree is a young superstar. Then, with the No. 2 pick, take either Fowles, the SEC Player of the Year and National Defensive Player of the Year; or Wiggins. Wiggins would be a big hit on the West Coast, and add immediate help in the Sparks backcourt.

    One of the many reasons why Chicago likes Parker is because she resides in Naperville, IL, a suburb of the Windy City. Her talent and versatility isn't bad either.

    Choosing third is Minnesota. The Lynx have received the No. 1 pick the past two years. In 2006, guard Seimone Augustus was selected out of LSU, and was named WNBA Rookie of the Year. Last year's No. 1 selection was guard Lindsey Harding who was a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year until she tore her ACL on July 10. If Fowles would fall to No. 3, it's a no brainer for Minnesota. The Lynx need a post player to help out Nicole Ohlde. Laura Harper has played in a big-time program at Maryland. At 6-4, she is extremely physical, and is a good shot blocker and scorer. Nicky Anosike, 6-4 out of Tennessee, is an excellent rebounder, or if the Lynx really want to go big, they could turn to 6-6 center Sarah Elliot of Kentucky, who also puts the ball in the hoop.

    League runner-up champion Detroit, armed with five picks in the draft, will certainly go for the best player available. Up front, it could be Harper or teammate Crystal Langhorne of Maryland. Turnovers plagued the Shock last year, so a good ball handing guard would help, although it would be tough to break into an all-star backcourt of veterans Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan.

    Houston is up next at No. 5, and the Comets need new blood for a veteran team. How about Jolene Anderson of Wisconsin for the backcourt? She is only 5-8, but has been the Badgers top scorer for years, and is also a good rebounder, especially for her size. Essence Carson of Rutgers would help in the backcourt as a shooter and tremendous worker. Georgia forward Tasha Humphrey is an excellent scorer with 3-pt. ability.

    Picking No. 6 is Washington (16-18), and the Mystics can use another point guard with Nikki Teasley having departed. A center such as Pitt's Marcedes Walker or Kentucky's Elliot would help up front. North Carolina teammates Erlana Larkins and LaToya Pringle are good wing players who play both ends of the floor, an attribute needed in Washington.

    Every year we say New York (16-18) needs more beef inside, and the Liberty will be picking No. 7. Janel McCarville, taken last year by NY in the dispersal draft, was a real find. Another big body wouldn't hurt such as Langhorne or Walker.

    Newcomer Atlanta picks at No. 8, and the Dream has a well-balanced squad. Taking the best player available will be the marching orders.

    Connecticut (18-16) has two of the next four picks. Depth at shooting guard and at center is a must for the Sun. Margo Dydek, the all-time shot blocker in the WNBA, is on maternity leave. There should be talent left to shore up some of the weak points in the Connecticut lineup.

    Rounding out the top 10 is Sacramento (19-15), a team that has four draft choices, but three of them in the third round. In the first round, the Monarchs will probably look for a point guard for a future replacement of veteran Ticha Penicheiro. They must also plan for the future retirement of all-star center Yolanda Griffith.

    This is the time of year when the personnel department earns its pay. It's also exciting trying to figure out what the respective teams will do, or have done.

    Gballmag.com will analyze and grade out how the teams did with their April 9 selections.




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