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Later Draft Picks Add Physicality, Versatility to Fever Roster

By Wheat Hotchkiss

The Fever used their second and third round picks in the 2013 WNBA Draft to add a pair of SEC forwards to their training camp roster. Here’s an in-depth look at what each player brings to the organization.

Second round pick Hassell has the tools to make it

With their second pick and the 21st overall selection, the Fever selected forward Jasmine Hassell from the University of Georgia.

The 6-foot-2 forward from Lebanon, Tenn. was a first-team All-SEC selection and led the Bulldogs to the Elite Eight in 2013. A three-year starter in the post, Hassell amassed 1,404 points and 597 rebounds in her four years at Georgia.

Though second round picks aren’t given guaranteed contracts, Fever president and general manager Kelly Krauskopf said Hassell has the tools to make it in the WNBA.

“Physical, strong, reminds us a little bit of (Erlana) Larkins,” Krauskopf said. “She’s a 6-2 power forward that can score, was their go-to scorer for the post, and is a rebounder, physical banger. You have to have that if you’re going to make it as a post in this league.”

As a senior, Hassell averaged a team-high 12.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 53.1 percent from the field. As a junior, she garnered second-team All-SEC honors, averaging a team-high 13.0 points per game and ranked second on the team with 5.7 rebounds.

Hassell demonstrated her toughness in the middle of her senior season, when she suffered a broken nose against Alabama on Jan. 10, but still managed to score 21 points. Despite the injury, Hassell didn’t miss a game. In fact, just three days later, she scored 19 points in a 42-40 over South Carolina and garnered SEC Player of the Week honors.

In the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Hassell played a pivotal role in leading Georgia to its first Elite Eight appearance since 2004. In the Sweet 16, Hassell scored 13 points as the Bulldogs upset top-seeded Stanford.

After the Cardinal took a 55-52 lead with 2:54 to play, Hassell hit three straight jumpers, the last one at the 1:05 mark giving Georgia a lead they would not relinquish.

In the Elite Eight, Hassell faced off against the Fever’s 2013 first round selection, Layshia Clarendon. Clarendon’s California squad got the better of that particular matchup, holding off Hassell’s Bulldogs 65-62 in overtime. Clarendon had 25 points and four assists, while Hassell contributed seven points and four rebounds while battling foul trouble.

Hassell’s selection adds more frontcourt depth for the Fever’s upcoming training camp, where several players will compete for a roster spot. Prior to the draft, the Fever signed forwards Jessica Breland, Shyra Ely-Gash, Laura Harper, and Bernice Mosby.

Krauskopf said she expects fierce competition as those players battle in camp to try to earn their place on the Fever roster.

“There’s basically one roster spot,” Krauskopf said. “You’re looking at about four or five players that are trying out for that one spot … For us, we feel like it’s wide open and we’ll see what happens.”

Third round selection George offers versatility

With their third round selection and the 33rd overall pick, the Fever selected forward Jennifer George from the University of Florida.

George was a two-time All-SEC selection in her time with the Gators, earning first-team honors in 2012 and second-team in 2013. She finished her career as the school’s all-time leader in games played and amassed 1,257 points, 915 rebounds, and 191 blocked shots.

Her junior season was her breakout year. George led the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The Gators advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and George was an honorable mention selection to the WBCA Division I Coaches’ All-America Team.

As a senior, George battled injury problems, playing through two shoulder dislocations. Nonetheless, she remained productive, averaging 11.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She also amassed a team-high 66 steals and 56 blocked shots, earning her a place on the All-SEC Defensive Team.

Krauskopf said George is a versatile player and her defensive prowess will provide a good challenge to the Fever’s veteran players in training camp.

“She’s a big-time rebounder,” Krauskopf said. “She’s a player that is very active, she can guard threes, can play the four. She’s very athletic and should add depth for the camp.”

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