By Chris Le
Southwest Tennessee guard and 2007 Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association Player of the Year, Ashley Shields (5’10”), was selected 8th overall by the Houston Comets in the WNBA Draft. The All-American, who averaged 22.4 PPG, 11 RPG, and 7 APG, became the first player from a community college to be drafted in WNBA History.
What, you don’t care about women’s basketball? Yeah, me neither.
But I just thought it surprising that a professional team would use a lottery pick to draft a player, regardless of how exceptional, from such a weak pool of talent; it’s a fairly huge gamble. I’m trying to think of a similar situation in other sports, but nothing comes to mind. Sure, there have been numerous community college athletes who have transferred to Division I schools, and many were ready to jump directly to the pros from a JC—O.J. Simpson comes to mind, who attended City College of San Francisco before heading to USC. However, I doubt many teams would’ve drafted “The Juice” straight out of CCSF in the top 10 despite JC All-American honors.
There’s simply a huge disparity in the level of competition. And though I don’t watch much of women’s college basketball, I would believe the same applies. Then again, high school kids who dominate short, athletically-challenged teenagers jump to the league (or used to) all the time and still succeed. Perhaps level of competition isn’t much of an indicator.
P.S. – I can’t believe I actually wrote an article about the WNBA.