By Spencer Chism
Naz Hillmon: Michigan
One of the best scorers in the country, Naz Hillmon has an excellent floor for a WNBA franchise to build upon. Some drafts have Hillmon going as high as No. 4 overall, while others have her falling to the mid-second round. An extraordinarily efficient scorer, never averaging below 56 percent from the field during her collegiate career, Hillmon should continue to remain efficient while showing she can do the other things modern WNBA bigs can do — rebound, guard the paint, and pass out of the post. Knowing that Hillmon has the ceiling to be a dependable starter in the league in all aspects will certainly cement her as a first round talent, and perhaps even propel her into top five territory.
Maya Dodson: Notre Dame
Currently projected as a fringe third round/undrafted player, Maya Dodson has a great opportunity to interview for a draft spot through her play in March. No. 5 Notre Dame is a dangerous team, especially with the stellar play of Dodson and teammate Olivia Miles throughout this season. While bigs aren’t as valued in recent years in the WNBA draft, Dodson is one that can certainly hang with and routinely punish the best bigs in the country. Coming off an upset over fourth seeded Oklahoma, Dodson should look to keep that scoring momentum going throughout the rest of the tournament by continuing to score at a high clip.
Destanni Henderson: South Carolina
A late first round/early second round draft projection, Destanni Henderson is a dangerous, defensive-minded guard that can punish defenders if taken too lightly. Playing on arguably the best team in the country in No. 1 South Carolina, Henderson can sometimes get buried by the play of her stellar teammates, but she has proven that she can stop anyone on the perimeter on defense. Henderson however needs to step up her scoring this tournament and if she’s able to prove she can disrupt a game on both ends of the floor, there’s no telling how high her draft capital could go.
Lexie Hull: Stanford
As one of the most prolific shooters in the country, Lexi Hull has had to take a big step up this year for the defending champion Cardinal as multiple of her championship teammates made their way to the WNBA during the offseason. Hull has done well to take on that role as a leader on the court, improving her points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game this season. These improvements were only marginal, but they also came with increased efficiency as Hull is now shooting over 41 percent from the field this year — compared to 37.9 percent last year — and over 41 percent from three-point land — as opposed to 35.2 percent last year. Some drafts have Hull going as early as the mid-first round, while others have her going undrafted. There is no reason Hull can’t prove she is a very draftable prospect as arguably the best player leading the defending champions on another deep tournament run. It also doesn’t hurt that Hull had 36 points in her last game in the second round of the tournament, shooting over 50 percent from the field and from the three-pointer line. These are the types of games Hull needs to continue to have to prove she is a valuable asset to a WNBA team.