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2022 WNBA Mock Draft
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root_thing



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PostPosted: 06/09/21 6:20 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:

In 2013-14, the National Federation of High Schools participation:

Girls' basketball: 433,344
Volleyball: 429,634

2018-19:

Girls' basketball: 399,067
Volleyball: 452,808

1997-98

Girls' basketball: 454,000
Volleyball: 373,219

So why am I apparently the only one who finds this concerning?

Or maybe all those girls who are now choosing volleyball are losers, and only the good ones still play basketball?


You keep insisting that there is a direct proportional relationship between national participation and the highest levels of achievement in sports. I think that's an erroneous assumption. The fact is it doesn't matter what 99.9% of those people do. They could play basketball, they could play volleyball, they could join the debating team or sign up for chess club. It makes no difference. They will never come anywhere near being pro players in any sport. Those individuals who are special enough to reach the top will find their way to the right sport -- the sport they prefer, the sport they love. Again, there are enough good athletes to go around. We see great athletes fail to make the WNBA every year because they aren't great basketball players. In the end, it's about intangibles like desire, competitiveness, and ambition combined with hard work that make the difference. You coach and referee at the high school level. We can easily see how it hurts at that level because of the sheer numbers needed to fill roster spots. And I'm sure the decline in participation dilutes the pool of middling players who might turn into high school basketball stars. But it doesn't mean that those players would have made it to the WNBA, much less become stars.



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Shades



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PostPosted: 06/09/21 7:06 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:

A'ja Wilson might be a star. Breanna Stewart should be a star, and maybe she is. Not sure.


Might.Want.To.Watch.Games.

Do you realize those are two MVPs that you’re not sure if they’re stars or not?



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Skyfan22



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PostPosted: 06/09/21 10:14 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

I don’t want to corner you Clay. However, I am very interested in your reasoning for this new trend. Please share the insights that everyone else seems to know. It seems to me that the WNBA allows for exposure that no one would get beyond college in volleyball. My fear is, and not completely unfounded, that the W’s embrace of LGBTQ issues has turned players off. We know one final four volleyball player who stated she chose volleyball because of not wanting/fear of being around lesbians. I hope this is not the case in general and this is isolated. I’d be very interested to know if you perceive some sort of vicious racket guiding youth basketball. Cuz I certainly feel it with my 9th grade son.


Rock Hard



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PostPosted: 06/09/21 10:29 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Shades wrote:
ClayK wrote:

A'ja Wilson might be a star. Breanna Stewart should be a star, and maybe she is. Not sure.


Might.Want.To.Watch.Games.

Do you realize those are two MVPs that you’re not sure if they’re stars or not?

With every molecule in my body I hate to agree with Shades. Wilson has a statue of herself at South Carolina because of the love and appreciation that University has for helping them win a national championship. She and Stewart are bonafide stars in this league. If you are looking for a global star on the scale of Michael Jordan. Then no player in the W would qualify for that position.



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ClayK



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 9:57 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

First, notice my distinction between "player" and "star." Is Donovan Mitchell a "star"?

Obviously, Stewart and Wilson are great players. They are better players right now than Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi or Brittney Griner -- but I would argue (and I could be wrong) that the latter three are names and faces that would be recognized by casual sports fans, while I'm not sure about Stewart and Wilson.

Both could get to that point, but I don't see them there now.

And is Rhyne Howard a star? A potential star?

As for choosing volleyball, I've said before that choices are made in middle school, because that's when club coaches force girls to decide on the sport they'll focus on. Middle school is driven by friends, not future careers, and few 12-year-olds calculate future earnings when they decide what sport to play in the summer.

There are several factors (to beat my drum again) that favor volleyball, including uniforms (volleyball tights are more flattering that baggy basketball pants) and the brutal, nasty culture in the stands in youth basketball (as compared to the relatively friendly and collegial atmosphere in volleyball).

But again, no one seems to think this is important, and that having 50,000 fewer girls playing high school basketball than in the past will have any impact on the quality of play. The logic that says none of those 50,000 would be a star escapes me, but again, I could be wrong. I'm the lone ranger on this topic on this board, I know, but talk to club and high school coaches, and you might hear something different.

Here's one name: 6-5 Maggie Mendelsohn of Fremont (Plain City UT). She could be a great player, but her main sport is volleyball. Maybe she'll look at the financial aspect and change her mind (she's a 2023), but right now her elite talent is going in another direction than basketball.



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root_thing



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 11:06 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

If Wilson and Stewart aren't stars despite superior performance, then that's a marketing and public relations problem. How is that the result of middle school girls choosing volleyball over basketball?



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undersized_post



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 11:16 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

A few thoughts:

I sort of see the distinction between 'player' and 'star' that Clay is getting at. But my gut instinct is to think that it's the nature of the media coverage, more than actual talent/play, that distinguishes so-called 'stars' from mere 'players.'

Re: volleyball vs. basketball. Does anyone here watch a lot of women's volleyball? I do at the collegiate level, and my impression is that level of athleticism of your average collegiate volleyball hitter (like, 6'1''+ players) definitely seems superior to your average collegiate basketball post player. Volleyball players seem to jump higher, are more agile, and have a more explosive first step. I know this is kinda like comparing apples to oranges, but that's my impression at least.

Now whether or not there has been a depletion of talent from basketball to volleyball over time, I have no idea. I'm just saying that if a few dozen of the top volleyball athletes had chosen basketball instead, the level of post play would be completely different.

Just my two cents, unsolicited (and probably uninformed)...


Davis4632



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 12:45 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

ClayK wrote:
First, notice my distinction between "player" and "star." Is Donovan Mitchell a "star"?

Obviously, Stewart and Wilson are great players. They are better players right now than Sue Bird or Diana Taurasi or Brittney Griner -- but I would argue (and I could be wrong) that the latter three are names and faces that would be recognized by casual sports fans, while I'm not sure about Stewart and Wilson.

Both could get to that point, but I don't see them there now.

And is Rhyne Howard a star? A potential star?

As for choosing volleyball, I've said before that choices are made in middle school, because that's when club coaches force girls to decide on the sport they'll focus on. Middle school is driven by friends, not future careers, and few 12-year-olds calculate future earnings when they decide what sport to play in the summer.

There are several factors (to beat my drum again) that favor volleyball, including uniforms (volleyball tights are more flattering that baggy basketball pants) and the brutal, nasty culture in the stands in youth basketball (as compared to the relatively friendly and collegial atmosphere in volleyball).

But again, no one seems to think this is important, and that having 50,000 fewer girls playing high school basketball than in the past will have any impact on the quality of play. The logic that says none of those 50,000 would be a star escapes me, but again, I could be wrong. I'm the lone ranger on this topic on this board, I know, but talk to club and high school coaches, and you might hear something different.

Here's one name: 6-5 Maggie Mendelsohn of Fremont (Plain City UT). She could be a great player, but her main sport is volleyball. Maybe she'll look at the financial aspect and change her mind (she's a 2023), but right now her elite talent is going in another direction than basketball.


Define a causal women's basketball fan because not every WNBA fan is a college WBB fan and vice versa. A casual women's basketball fan who only keeps with either just the WNBA or college most likely knows who Breanna Stewart and A'ja Wilson is.


root_thing



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 2:04 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Admittedly, I don't follow college volleyball, but I do occasionally watch international competitions which I assume are a collection of each nation's finest players. Are they better overall athletes than basketball players? I wouldn't say it's obvious. Basketball is more of a multi-skill game with a lot of different systems and strategies. Volleyball is generally a straightforward competition based on execution. You can see why the latter might rely more on athleticism. That said, we have to remember basketball rarely requires that players run full speed or jump as high as they can. They are usually encumbered by the need to perform multiple tasks, often switching from one to the other very quickly. For instance, a player trying to rebound is getting boxed out by an opponent. She is not just jumping for the ball, but also fighting for position. While in the air, she has to worry about being undercut, which can lead to injury. I've also heard players say that if you jump too early, you can be nudged out of the way. Then, there are the perimeter players who were focused on defending but suddenly have to transition to rebounding. In most cases, players react late so the ball is already on its way down. Jumping high is unnecessary. On offense, you obviously can't jump as high while holding a basketball. And most players seem to feel more comfortable jumping lightly when they shoot. So, a lot of it is perception. Basketball players don't look as athletic because their athleticism isn't always on display. And again, athleticism alone isn't anywhere near sufficient to perform well as a pro basketball player. We see great athletes fail all the time. Players need a combination of athletic ability, skill, and smarts to succeed.



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PickledGinger



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 2:49 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

My two cents:

1) Another really important factor to this is interest and drive. I find it hard to believe that the players currently in the WNBA were casual enough even in Junior High that it was a hard decision to dedicate to basketball. Sue Bird chose basketball over soccer because it was more fun for her. If a player chooses volleyball over basketball, then why would you think they were ever going to put in the work as a basketball player to get to an elite level in the first place? Sports, first and foremost, are about having fun. You really have to love the sport to get to an elite level. The girls that are choosing volleyball obviously don't LOVE basketball, so on the grand scheme of things - especially related to pro women's ball - I don't see it having a huge impact.

2) As far as the eye test is concerned, the level of play accross the board in women's basketball is demonstratively better than it was 5, 10, 20 years ago - with a deeper pool of high-end talent. Wilson and Stewart are superstars in this game. The fact that they may not be household names is a failing of marketing, sports media and societal bias.



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GlennMacGrady



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 3:14 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

So, in the 2022 draft, the top picks should be Breanna Stewart, A'ja Wilson and a volleyball player. Or is that not what mocking the draft means?
ClayK



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 4:40 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

"1) Another really important factor to this is interest and drive. I find it hard to believe that the players currently in the WNBA were casual enough even in Junior High that it was a hard decision to dedicate to basketball. Sue Bird chose basketball over soccer because it was more fun for her."

True, to a point -- but you tend to love what you're good at, and if an elite athlete chooses basketball over volleyball in seventh grade, she'll love it. If she chooses volleyball, she'll love that instead.

But the "fun" word is the key. Youth basketball tournaments are not as fun because of the conduct of fans and coaches, and the much more cutthroat atmosphere, on and off the court.

And this has changed dramatically over the years.

I may be wrong on this whole thing, but isn't it all concerning that more and more girls choose volleyball than basketball? And isn't it likely that a few truly elite athletes -- like Maggie Mendelson -- might choose basketball if there were an effort to make the culture more positive? Or, at the very least, do some serious research as to why basketball is no longer the most popular sport for girls?



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pilight



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 5:46 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

In ball sports they don't need to specialize that early. They should play both basketball and volleyball at least through high school.



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Luuuc
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PostPosted: 06/10/21 6:05 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Who are the true star players in the world of women's volleyball? I'm a casual sports fan and I would not have a clue.
I never see volleyball covered on the evening sports news, the news websites I frequent, or the rare times I look at a newspaper. More girls play volleyball than basketball yet the sport has fewer stars than the WNBA's Taurasi, Parker & Griner? There must be something intrinsically wrong with the sport of volleyball for that to be the case since they're getting 53% of the athletes. I'm very concerned for the sport.



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 6:23 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Luuuc wrote:
Who are the true star players in the world of women's volleyball? I'm a casual sports fan and I would not have a clue.
I never see volleyball covered on the evening sports news, the news websites I frequent, or the rare times I look at a newspaper. More girls play volleyball than basketball yet the sport has fewer stars than the WNBA's Taurasi, Parker & Griner? There must be something intrinsically wrong with the sport of volleyball for that to be the case since they're getting 53% of the athletes. I'm very concerned for the sport.


A lot of colleges do have Volleyball teams. There are (or have been in recent years) women's pro leagues in the US, but they seemed pretty fly by night. Kind of like all the various WBB leagues before the WNBA came along. My take is that after their High School or college days are over volleyball players move on with their lives like the 99.9 % of women college basketball players who never even get a look from the WNBA or foreign pro leagues. It's not clear the WNBA has helped grow the ranks of High School players - as ClayK has shown girls basketball participation has dropped for more than 20 years while volleyball has grown.


ClayK



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 6:50 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
In ball sports they don't need to specialize that early. They should play both basketball and volleyball at least through high school.


Of course they don't to specialize, and they shouldn't ...

But club coaches tell parents (seeking scholarships, as well they should) that girls need to pick a sport. Volleyball coaches, who charge large amounts and make a living as club coaches, put lots of pressure on girls to quit playing basketball. They say, incorrectly, "While you're playing basketball, you're falling behind the girls who are playing my club."

And parents don't know, so they believe the coaches, and write the checks. And the girls play club volleyball in the winter.

It is true that there is a greater professional opportunity in basketball, but few are focused on that in middle school. D-1 volleyball teams have 12 scholarships; women's basketball 15, but volleyball scholarships can be partial, so more women can receive some support (and not all basketball scholarships, which must be full scholarships, are awarded).

Because of the value of a college scholarship ($250,000 or so), that's the focus, and there's no real difference between volleyball and basketball that the parent of a 12-year-old can see.



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pilight



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PostPosted: 06/10/21 7:03 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Speaking of parents, many of them steer their daughters out of basketball because it is perceived as a lesbian sport. Volleyball doesn't have that reputation.



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PostPosted: 06/11/21 12:36 am    ::: Reply Reply with quote

Luuuc wrote:
Who are the true star players in the world of women's volleyball? I'm a casual sports fan and I would not have a clue.
I never see volleyball covered on the evening sports news, the news websites I frequent, or the rare times I look at a newspaper. More girls play volleyball than basketball yet the sport has fewer stars than the WNBA's Taurasi, Parker & Griner? There must be something intrinsically wrong with the sport of volleyball for that to be the case since they're getting 53% of the athletes. I'm very concerned for the sport.


To continue our tangent...

I would argue that the closest thing the US has ever seen to "star" volleyball players is the beach volleyball duo Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misti May-Treanor, thanks to their multiple Olympic gold medals. (The media loves successful Olympians who also happen to be quite attractive.)

Indoor volleyball is played by many more but receives very little media coverage. The top collegiate players often have pro careers overseas since pro opportunities in the US are little to none (as Randy discussed above).

The US women's indoor national team is always competitive but has only one world championship and zero Olympics. So they're not dominant on the international stage in the way that the US women's basketball and soccer teams have been, for example, and I think that goes into the sport flying under the radar a bit more. It doesn't help in terms of media coverage that volleyball is seen more as a "girl's" sport more than a boy's sport, at least in the US.




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PickledGinger



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PostPosted: 06/11/21 10:23 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

pilight wrote:
Speaking of parents, many of them steer their daughters out of basketball because it is perceived as a lesbian sport. Volleyball doesn't have that reputation.


Volleyball being percieved as the LEAST lesbian sport is probably the issue. Basketball, soccer, tennis, golf and softball all have that reputation. It all starts with empowering young girls to embrace their athleticism without fear of that damaging their femininity - hence the point about volleyball being more of a draw because their outfits are more attractive.

Modern advances in makeup and hair styling have made that less of an issue lately (these ladies look gorgeous out there on the court) but the reliance of makeup and hair care to appear "beautiful" (and the time spent on it) is and always has been damaging to society's perception of women's beauty. So, I don't know how I feel about players having that "made up" look on the court nowadays, to be honest. If it truly empowers them, more power to them. But if they feel pressured to do it by society or the media or the league than that is kind of jacked.

And on that note, I do have to say that women's basketball jerseys today are friggin FABULOUS compared to the differently colored burlap sacks that they used to wear back in the early 2000. And sorry for the tangent.



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