Who will be the Fever’s top draft pick?
Who will the Indiana Fever select with its top pick in the WNBA Draft, scheduled for Monday, April 14 at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN2?
That is the prevailing question being asked these days when the upcoming draft is mentioned. As always, of course I don’t know. But, with the Fever holding the No. 5 pick, I can tell you who will likely be available – and it’s an elite, narrow field.
We are only days from watching the NCAA Final Four unfold in Nashville and on that stage will be most of the very top picks available for choosing atop the WNBA draft. Each of Maryland, Notre Dame, Stanford and UConn has at least one top-rated senior who should be chosen very early. So my suggestion to Fever fans? Watch or listen to the Final Four (ESPN or Westwood One Radio) on Sunday and Tuesday if you’d like more insight into Indiana’s possible first selection.
Who are the top players? Without relying on a generic list someone has published and without consulting Fever coaches or executives, I conducted my own informal and unofficial survey of national media. I queried a group of writers and broadcasters who have routinely covered the women’s college game throughout the 2013-14 season. Given that Indiana owns the No. 5 pick, I asked the question, “who are the five best seniors that you expect to go atop the upcoming WNBA draft.” In theory, Indiana will draft one of those players.
The results of my candid, anonymous survey were pretty consistent. Remarkably consistent. They were so remarkably consistent that the seven ballots I received were nearly unanimous in the same five players: Chiney Ogwumike (6-4, F, Stanford), Odyssey Sims (5-9, G, Baylor), Alyssa Thomas (6-2, F, Maryland), Kayla McBride (5-11, G, Notre Dame) and Stefanie Dolson (6-5, C, Connecticut).
One ballot listed Bria Hartley (5-8, G, Connecticut), another Final Four participant with the unbeaten Huskies. Another listed Natasha Howard (6-3, F) who led Florida State into the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Another listed Louisville guard Shony Schimmel (5-9) who guided the Cards to an Elite Eight battle with Maryland.
So there you have it. Five players as virtual locks to be selected in the opening picks of the April 14 WNBA Draft, plus three other highly regarded names who could slip into the top five picks. Five of those eight players will be active in this week’s Final Four … and one or more could possibly slide to the Fever with the No. 9 selection, also.