UConn women’s basketball’s three seniors — Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Evina Westbrook and Christyn Williams — all renounced their final year of college eligibility and entered their names in the 2022 WNBA Draft, the league announced on Monday.
While there’s little surprise in the decision, this announcement makes it official. All three players spent four seasons in college but had an extra year due to the COVID-impacted 2020-21 campaign.
Nelson-Ododa, Westbrook and Williams will likely all be drafted, but when and where is still up for debate. ESPN’s latest mock draft has Williams as the last pick in the first round with Westbrook going with the first pick in the second round and Nelson-Ododa following two picks later, while CBS Sports has Westbrook going ninth and Williams going 11th.
The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings anonymously surveyed three league general managers about a host of prospects, including the trio from UConn. They’re highest on Nelson-Ododa and believe she still has a lot of untapped potential because of her wingspan and passing ability.
“I really like her,” one GM said. “Another 6-5 player that still hasn’t developed her overall body strength. I think she’s got some nice skills, and right now she plays that pinch-post area for them. She may be the best passing big in the draft in that she can pass from the high post, from the pinch-post. She has those long arms to rebound. She might have the biggest wingspan in the draft. I think she has a lot of potential if she gets stronger.”
As for Westbrook, her stock seems to be trending down after a tough end to her redshirt senior season in which she lost her starting role down the stretch and scored 6.3 points while shooting 36.1% from the field in the NCAA Tournament.
“Westbrook is a utility guard,” a GM told Jennings. “She can play almost every position, but she doesn’t do anything great. I don’t know that she’ll be picked in the first round.”
Meanwhile, Williams seems to be viewed as a high-floor, low-ceiling type player based on the comments from two of the GMs.
“Christyn is a solid two-guard in our league who can spread the floor and can play in the pick-and-roll,” one executive said. “She can’t really play the one, and she’s can’t really play the three, so she’s a straight two. But she has played at a high level in high school and a very high level in college.”
“I would’ve liked to have seen her have a better season heading into the NCAA Tournament, but her floor (as a player) is probably a decent player in the league,” another mentioned. “But what changes about her? What makes her be more consistent? Do you value that? It really depends on what team she gets drafted. Efficiency — that’s the name of the game and that would be concerning about her.”
The 2022 WNBA Draft will be held on Monday, April 11 at Spring Studios in New York City.
UConn isn’t losing its entire senior class, though. Last week, Dorka Juhász announced she will return to Storrs for her final year of eligibility.