Top 6 2012 Draft Class preseason update

May 15, 2012 12:35pm
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Pick 2012 WNBA DRAFT – ROUND 1
1 Los Angeles — Nnemkadi Ogwumike
2 Seattle — Shekinna Stricklen
3 Minnesota — Devereaux Peters
4 Tulsa — Glory Johnson
5 San Antonio — Shenise Johnson
6 Phoenix — Samantha Prahalis

A quick update on top 6 draft picks in this year’s 2012 WNBA draft and how they might factor into their respective teams this season.

1. Nnemkadi Ogwumike: The consensus top player on every team’s draft board moves down the California coast from Silicon Valley to Hollywood. Although WNBA training camps are brief, Candace Parker has already declared Ogwumike “one of the most athletic players I’ve played with or against in my entire career.” After the Sparks preseason game against Japan coach Carol Ross said, “Nneka is playing with a lot of energy and really uses her athleticism. She brings a real spark to the team.” This new Spark has now lead them in scoring in 2 of their 3 preseason games and logged the most game minutes. If she’s not starting by mid season I’d still imagine Ogwumike logging starters minutes and being on the floor in crunch time very early in the season.

2. Shekinna Stricklen: After missing the Storm’s first preseason game due to her commencement ceremony at the University of Tennesee, Stricklen came back to score a game high 15 points and play a game high 30 min in the Storm’s win over Los Angeles in their 2nd preseason game. While Stricklen won’t have the impact of Ogwumike, she will be expected to contribute right away with a very different Seattle roster this season. Don’t count out what playing for coach Brian Agler and with PG Sue Bird can do for a young player like Stricklen.

3. Devereaux Peters: Peters, the 2-time Big East defensive player of the year out of Notre Dame, is not going to find many minutes on this Lynx team. That said, she is under the tutelage of Taj McWilliams-Franklin, and some added toughness around the rim can only be a good thing for a Minnesota team not needing another scorer. In our Minnesota preview, Mike Peden shared his expectations for the rookie. “With the injury to Amber Harris, combined with some uncertainty about her making the final roster this season, Peters could log more minutes than most think. Harris’ work ethic has been questioned a lot, as many wonder why such a highly-praised post spent most games watching from the bench.”

4. Glory Johnson: By virtue of losing their top two scorers from a team that won 3 games, Tulsa’s Johnson is going to be expected to contribute early and often this season. Coaches has been working with Johnson as she has improved her shooting range  ”I’m learning to face the basket more. I was comfortable with it before, but I hadn’t been doing it much in college. Now, that’s my game. I go outside, I go inside. It’s a little different, but Coach Klop has been helping us a lot before practice and after practice getting a lot of work in, learning new mores, getting my shot straight and developed.”

5. Shenise Johnson: Many mock drafts had Johnson going anywhere from 2nd to 4th, so when she fell to the Silver Stars at 5, coach Hughes wasn’t going to pass up the Miami guard. Against Indiana, the 5th overall pick led the Silver Stars with 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting. While there is a lot of talent in this backcourt, Johnson is already making the case for her share of playing time. From an interview to be posted in the coming days, Silver Stars Nation’s HFH speculates that Johnson “can be an impact player from the start and come right in and contribute much the same way our rookie class did last season.”

6. Samantha Prahalis: The point guard out of Ohio State is just what the Mercury needed to help replace Temeka Johnson in running their up-tempo offense. While it’s still too early to tell, look for Prahalis to come off the bench as she learns to play at the speed of the pro game. After the Mercury’s preseason win over the Japanses national team, coach Corey Gains said  “she’s got a lot to learn. There’s spurts of stardom there, but you don’t need spurts, it takes time, her gift the thing she has is passing, is something that can’t be learned, it’s a gift.”

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