A guard or a big?
That was the question for the Aces.
Until Notre Dame junior guard Jackie Young declared Monday for the WNBA Draft, which begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday in New York and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPNU.
“She’s slid up into our conversation now,” Aces general manager Dan Padover said Tuesday. “We’ll have to really evaluate that tonight and tomorrow.”
The Aces have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft for the third consecutive season and have spent the past several weeks sifting through their options as they look to add to their talented young core.
“There’s no A’ja Wilson in this draft. We’re sitting here with the No. 1 pick looking at, OK, what is what,” said Bill Laimbeer, the Aces’ coach and president of basketball operations. “There are multiple choices at the top that can be had, depending on who’s picking.”
Young did a little bit of everything for the national runner-up Fighting Irish and provides a certain toughness on the wing that the Aces lacked in their inaugural season.
Louisville guard Asia Durr averaged 21.2 points in her senior season and is the most gifted scorer in the draft.
The Aces also have fielded trade offers for the pick and could move it for an established veteran to complement the core of Wilson, Kayla McBride and Kelsey Plum.
But that seems unlikely.
“Teams have called. Nothing has been like, ‘Oh, my god, let’s go do this,’ ” Padover said. “There’s always a chance something crazy could pop up, but as of now, I don’t see us moving down.”
The Aces had considered pairing Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan in the frontcourt with Wilson, but since have zeroed in on Durr and Young.
“The most intriguing part about her (Young) is she has a physicality on both sides of the ball that we don’t have on the perimeter,” Padover said. “She can walk in and be a solid WNBA defender that does a lot of little things.”
Padover also spoke highly of Durr and her ability to create scoring opportunities off the dribble, adding that “she’s just an all-around scorer, which you can never have too much of in our league. … Sometimes you need a player you can throw on an island and can go get a shot, and she can.”
Other top prospects include Baylor’s Kalani Brown and Connecticut’s Napheesa Collier, but they haven’t been part of the ongoing conversation regarding the No. 1 pick — the team’s only selection in the three-round draft.
“Where we’re at with the team, you think about need. But our goal is to always take the best player available,” Padover said. “I think it’ll end up being one of the two guards.”
Top WNBA draft prospects
Kalani Brown, Baylor — The 6-foot-7-inch center averaged 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds for the national champion Lady Bears and was a second-team All-American.
Napheesa Collier, Connecticut — The 6-1 forward averaged 20.8 points and 10.8 rebounds en route to first-team All-America honors.
Asia Durr, Louisville — The 5-10 scoring guard averaged 21.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists and was a first-team All-American.
Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State — The 6-7 center averaged 18.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks and was a first-team All-American.
Jackie Young, Notre Dame — The 6-0 guard averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists for the national runner-up Fighting Irish and was a third-team All-American.
Sam Gordon Review-Journal