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|Posted: 11/25/19 1:09 am ::: Will Evina Westbrook EVER play for UConn?
|Evina Westbrook is being required to sit out this season at UConn. She has two years of college eligibility left. Will she actually use any of them at UConn, and if so, how many?
Evina is already 21. She'll be 22 next September, before the next college season even starts, which also makes her old enough to enter the 2020 WNBA draft in April.
I recall reading that her ambition is to play in the WNBA, preferably at point guard and preferably securing as high a draft spot as possible. Being the starting point guard on an elite team such as UConn would likely have helped that goal. But time's a-wasting, for basketball athleticism peaks at about age 27, and playing for UConn might not burnish her resume much at all.
While Westbrook did not have an eye-popping two-year career at Tennessee, it was pretty good, and everyone will remember that she was the number 1 or 2 ranked player in her high school class. Therefore, in the relatively weak 2020 WNBA draft, it's possible she could be drafted in the first round even without playing at all at UConn, while still getting her degree in May.
But, you say, wouldn't she be better off playing at least one year at UConn to burnish her skills as well as her resume? Crystal Dangerfield will be graduating, so wouldn't Westbrook slide right into UConn's starting lineup at point guard in 2020-21?
No, not necessarily.
Something happened after Westbrook transferred to UConn: Paige Bueckers signed up to show up in Storrs for 2020-21. And Pistol Paige is a better player than Westbrook. While it's possible that Geno might start both Westbrook and Bueckers, having them share the point and off-guard slots like Bird and Taurasi once did, there's no guarantee that Westbrook will start. For one thing, Geno might not want to have a three guard lineup, given that Christyn Williams is likely a lock starter. If Westbrook suspects she may not start next season, much less being the star of the team, she may very well decide that a season at UConn won't enhance her resume much, if at all, and that she's better off jumping to pro ball as soon as possible.
Even if Westbrook plays at UConn for the 2020-21 season, it's difficult to believe she'd stay and play the 2021-22 season too. It's widely expected that the uber-hyped guard, Azzi Fudd, will sign with UConn for 2021-22, Pistol Paige will still be there in the back court, as will senior Christyn Williams. And Westbrook would then be 23 years old. Surely Westbrook would enter the 2021 WNBA draft, especially if Satou Sabally and/or Chennedy Carter had entered (early) in 2020.
Geno knows all this, which surely increases his disappointment in the NCAA's refusal to grant Westbrook a waiver. He wanted her mainly for THIS season, and now he may have her for none.