Azura Williams’ decision to forego her final year of NCAA eligibility and enter the WNBA Draft meant there are three UConn Huskies with draft aspirations in 2018. By the looks of it, all three could be first-round picks. All three will be attending the festivities on Thursday, April 12th in New York City.
Here’s a review of where mock drafts see the former Huskies as professional prospects.
F - Azura Stevens
Associated Press: No. 4 overall - Chicago Sky
“[Stevens] causes havoc for opponents on both ends of the court.”
Hero Sports: No. 3 overall - Chicago
“She’s offensively aggressive, has a great frame and is a true rim protector at 6-foot-6.”
High Post Hoops: No. 4 overall - Chicago
“[Stevens] will be too tantalizing to pass up in this spot.”
DraftSite: No. 2 overall - Indiana
An intriguing addition to this year’s field, Stevens looks like she won’t last past the fourth overall pick. Most mocks see A’ja Wilson going first and Kelsey Mitchell going second to Las Vegas and Indiana, respectively, and then Chicago owns the next two picks. It seems like Stevens will likely end up in one of those three cities.
F - Gabby Williams
Associated Press: No. 6 overall - Dallas Wings
“The most athletic player in the draft, can guard nearly any position.”
Hero Sports: No. 6 overall - Dallas
“A versatile and highly athletic guard/forward at 5-foot-11 who can score, rebound well and is capable of defending multiple positions.”
High Post Hoops: No. 7 overall - Washington Mystics
“Gabby Williams understands what she can and can’t do at this point. And the combination of her work ethic and obscenely high basketball IQ leaves me optimistic she can add that shot. She is comfortable at 15-18 feet already, and her free throw shooting, north of 70 percent three years running, is another positive indicator of what her shot can become.”
Draft Site: No. 7 overall - Washington
Williams is far and away the best athlete in the draft class, and this athleticism will allow her to have success in the WNBA, especially on the defensive end where she can guard all five positions with relative ease. While Williams is not knockdown shooter, she is a competent scorer in the post, can dominate the glass on both ends and will almost certainly never be asked to carry for scoring load wherever she ends up. Landing in Washington means Williams could play alongside Elena Delle Donne to form one of the most exciting and talented front courts in the game.
G - Kia Nurse
Associated Press: No. 9 overall - Connecticut Sun
“She’s a solid guard who would give the Sun another good defender and a smart offensive player who knows how to win.”
Hero Sports: No. 9 overall - Connecticut
“[Nurse] gives Curt Miller and the Sun another offensive threat and consistent defender.”
High Post Hoops: No. 9 overall - Connecticut
“Kia Nurse has skills that extend well beyond a glue guy persona. She shot 44.9 percent from three this year, and that’s in line with her career rates, after shooting 46.2 percent last season. She can create her own shot. She’s got good size for a WNBA 2. She can handle point guard duties when necessary, with an assist percentage of 18.7 last year.
And though it got lost in the ultimate outcome, that Kia Nurse steal late in regulation against Notre Dame was vintage Kia: the necessary, smart play, anticipating, helping her team at the critical juncture.”
DraftSite: No. 8 overall - Indiana Fever
The consensus on Nurse is late first-round pick. Nurse might not be flashy, but her size, tremendous defensive skills and her ability to knock down 3-pointers will make her a steady contributor in the WNBA from the get-go. While Nurse may not have the ceiling or scoring ability of some of the other guards in the draft, Nurse could easily be one of the top contributors in this draft class by the time the 2018 season comes to an end.