The 2020-2021 college hoops season is less than a month old, and we are all witnessing the adaptability of many programs as we navigate uncertain times. As the athletes deal with additional health protocols in the midst of a pandemic, virtual learning, paired with competing at high levels, there are adjustments for everyone.
Looking ahead, one thing we do know is that the New York Liberty will have the No. 1 pick for the second consecutive year.
With the NCAA granting an additional year of eligibility due to the impact of COVID-19, this list could look a lot different if some decide to return to their programs.
Let’s get into some of the names we may hear during WNBA Draft night!
- New York Liberty – Charli Collier – Texas, 6-5 C
Defense. Length. Size. Scoring. Those are reasons why most mocks will have this junior standout as the top pick in 2021. Already boasting a 44-point performance in this young season, Collier is currently averaging 25ppg and 11.8rpg. Her 6’5” frame would be a nice addition for the Liberty’s post presence if she were to declare early.
- Dallas Wings – Awak Kuier – Finland, 6-4 C
The Wings are already a young team, and will get even younger should they decide to keep all of their picks. Kuier is an intriguing talent that provides size and mobility for Dallas and additional body in the post for a Wings team that finished the season 10th in rebounding. Recently starting her professional career in Europe, she’s still one of the youngest players in this draft with a high ceiling.
- Atlanta Dream – Rennia Davis – Tennessee, 6-2 G/F
Davis can score at all levels. She’s a versatile player with guard skills in a forward’s body. Her senior season has seen her numbers dip across most statistical categories, but that’s expected to change as the season progresses for one of the senior leaders of a Lady Vols team. Davis has career averages of 14.7ppg and 7.8rpg. She’s a physical player with the fiery edge that matches the intensity of the current Dream roster.
- Indiana – Dana Evans – Louisville, 5-6 G
It’s easy to see why Evans was on nearly every watch list to begin her senior season. The reigning ACC Player of the Year is the leader for one of the nation’s top teams. Evans has tacked on a few extra points to her scoring average five games into this season with 21ppg and 4.6apg. What need will Indiana look to address in this draft? Will they look to add another guard to their rotation and bring Evans home?
- Dallas – Arella Guirantes – Rutgers, 5-11 G
Guirantes was considered a favorite for a few teams in the 2020 draft but opted to return for her senior season. She’s currently averaging 19ppg, 7rpg, and 3.5bpg in just two games to start the season for the Scarlet Knights, Guirantes is a sizeable guard that is able to produce offensively along with the ability to rebound well which could provide a spark for the Wings off the bench.
- Phoenix – Aari McDonald – Arizona, 5-6 G
The Mercury may not have to go too far for their next guard. McDonald provides a complete game on both ends of the court which makes up for her size. Currently averaging 21.8ppg, 5.5rpg, and 4.5apg, she’d be able to learn the ropes from a veteran backcourt presence of Taurasi, Diggins-Smith, and Hartley and while transitioning from college to the pros.
- Dallas – Michaela Onyenwere – UCLA, 6-0 F
As stated earlier, the Wings finished in the bottom half of the league for rebounding last season. Onyenwere has averaged over 7rpg for her college career and has shown a propensity for tracking the loose balls. She’s not the biggest threat from beyond the arc as a guard, but Onyenwere is a physical player with the ability to defend multiple positions.
- Chicago – Lindsey Pulliam – Northwestern, 5-10 G
Coach Wade may opt to add even more speed and athleticism to his guard rotation by having Pulliam relocate just 30 minutes away from nearby-Evanston to downtown Chicago. A four-year starter for Northwestern that’s played no less than 30mpg, Pulliam is well on her way to becoming a 2K point scorer for her career.
- Minnesota – Natasha Mack – Oklahoma State, 6-4 F/C
Mack made quite the D1 debut with 17.6ppg and 12.5rpg on her way to being named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. With injuries in the post over the past couple of seasons, Mack will provide additional defensive size down low for Coach Reeve’s squad.
- Los Angeles – Vivian Gray – Texas Tech, 6-1 G/F
Gray was a Top-50 recruit in 2017 that shocked many when she opted to sign with Division 2 Fort Lewis. Fast-forward two seasons where she was one of the nation’s Top 25 scorers at Oklahoma State, she’s now capping off her college career in Lubbock with averages of 17ppg and 7.8rpg. She’ll provide solid size for a wing player in the Sparks’ rotation with the ability to impact both sides of the floor.
- Seattle – N’dea Jones – Texas A&M, 6-2 F
Jones could be one of the most exciting and improved players to watch this season. With more offensive responsibility due to Chennedy Carter declaring early in last year’s draft, Jones has experienced a bump in both her scoring and efficiency to start the season. She connected on two shots from deep on just seven attempts all last season. She’s already made two on three attempts so far in 2020-2021 for the Aggies. Seattle’s front court is anchored by Stewart and Howard, but drafting Jones for post depth could be beneficial for the defending WNBA Champs.
- Las Vegas – CeCe Hooks – Ohio, 5-8 G
Guard play was an issue for the Aces all season that potentially cost them their first WNBA Championship. Will that be an area of emphasis for Coach Laimbeer in the 2021 draft? Hooks is the reigning 2x MAC Defensive Player of the Year. Averaging a career high 24.3ppg to go along w/ 8rpg to start her senior season, she’s the true embodiment of a two-way player. While not the largest player, Hooks is an aggressive player that isn’t afraid to attack the paint and absorb contact. Averaging nearly 12 attempts per game from the charity stripe, that fits right in with the Aces’ system as they’ve led the league in free throw attempts this past season.
Other notable potential picks: Erin Boley (Oregon) Tiana Mangakahia (Syracuse), *Evina Westbrook (UConn), *Destanni Henderson (South Carolina), Chelsea Dungee (Arkansas), Kysre Gondrezick (West Virginia), Destiny Slocum (Arkansas), DiDi Richards (Baylor), Unique Thompson (Auburn), Ameshya Williams (Jackson State), Mallory McGwire (Boise State), LeLe Grissett (South Carolina), Janelle Bailey (North Carolina), Ali Patbergh (Indiana), and Dijonai Carrington (Baylor) just to name a few.
*eligible junior for the 2021 WNBA Draft due to age