The Future on Parade
One of the BasketCases' favorite things about living here in the National Capital area is that every year we have the opportunity to see so many college basketball stars . . . without having to travel far from home. Great teams and great players parade through here every winter. And if you're a WNBA fan, this is also a terrific place to check out some future pros! This season, with the Mystics having the #2 pick in April's College Draft (along with four other picks), we have a special reason to scout the college talent.
The conferences represented by college teams in the DC area include not only the ACC, but also the Big East, the A-10, the CAC and others. As a result, thanks to our home teams and their opponents, those of us lucky enough to live here get to see quite a few of the best college players in the country, many of whom are likely future WNBA stars.
This college season is no exception. As we've been poring over the schedules of the local schools, it's clear that, without stretching our travel budget, in the next few months we'll have the chance to see many of the college seniors who are WNBA prospects, including a number who are likely to be selected in the first round of next April's draft. In fact, except for Oklahoma's Paris twins, it appears that just about all of the likely top draftees can be seen here this season.
First, of course, there are our home girls, Maryland's Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman, who, barring-injury-or-disaster, are slam dunk WNBA first-rounders. And, thanks to the tough schedule played by the Terps, a number of other top pro prospects will also make their way onto the court at Comcast this season. Another home girl, 6'4" Senior C/F Jessica Adair, who plays (with her twin!) for George Washington in the Atlantic-10 Conference, is a preseason Wooden Award candidate and, quite possibly, a future WNBA'er. And while the Georgetown Hoyas may not have any seniors this season likely to turn pro, their membership in the Big East does mean that a lot of really good teams do come through the doors of McDonough.
So, mark your calendars now with the BasketCases' Scouting the Seniors list:
Friday, December 19, 2008: Auburn at GW. Take a break from holiday shopping and head on over to the Smith Center for this pre-conference matchup, your chance to see Jessica Adair and Auburn's 6' 4" guard DeWanna Bonner. DeWanna may not exactly be a household name, but if she turns up in the WNBA next summer, remember that you heard of her here first!
Saturday, January 17, 2009: Louisville at Georgetown. This is your chance not only to come out and say hi to former Maryland Associate Head Coach, now Cardinals Head Coach, Jeff Walz, but also to watch Jeff's superstar, Angel McCoughtry, a 6'1" Forward who many are projecting to be the overall #1 pick in next April's draft.
Sunday, January 25, 2009: UNC at Maryland. Comcast will be packed for this matchup between these two ACC foes, and those in attendance will get to see the Heels' senior, Rashanda McCants (yes, little sister of Rashad), not to mention, of course, KT and Marissa.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009: Pittsburgh at Georgetown. The Panthers not only have one of the most likeable coaches around in hug-meister Agnus Berenato, they also have Shavonte Zellous. Maryland fans already know (unfortunately!) how talented this young lady is. It's not easy to forget the 26 points she put up on the Terps in Pittsburgh last Sunday. We think it'll be worth heading over to McDonough to see her play in person.
Saturday, January 31, 2009: Connecticut at Georgetown. The Big East's UConn Huskies only play the Hoyas here in alternating years, so this is the DC-area's every-other-year chance to see the country's currently (unanimous!) #1 ranked team in person. This season WNBA fans can get an up-close look at Huskies' senior, Renee Montgomery (who, like KT, could be in the running to fill the 1-spot for the point-guard-challenged Mystics).
Thursday, February 12, 2009: Virginia at Maryland. The Cavaliers played close games against the Terps last season, and we don't expect that to be any different this year, thanks in part to UVA senior Aisha Mohammed (and senior Lyndra Lyttles, if she's academically eligible for the second semester). Both are possible future pros.
Sunday, February 15, 2009: Rutgers at Maryland. While the Scarlet Knights will not be playing at Big East rival Georgetown this season, they will be playing at Comcast in a non-conference (ESPN2) match-up, giving us all an opportunity to scout 6'4" Center Kia Vaughn.
Sunday, February 22, 2009: Duke at Maryland. As Terps fans already know, the Blue Devils have two seniors on their roster who are pro prospects, Chante Black and Abby Waner.
The players we've highlighted are just the seniors. But there are are plenty of other student-athletes on these and other teams, soon to be strutting their stuff in our area, who will likely wind up making a living playing basketball after they graduate. (Can you spell Maya Moore?) And you can catch them this winter, right here. There's really no better place to live if you're a basketball fan!