Head coach Walt Hopkins and New York Liberty executives evaluated “extensively” five college players who were, at one time or another, in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick in Friday night’s WNBA Draft.
South Carolina point guard Ty Harris was one of them.
“We’ve really taken a little bit of time and delved into those players a little bit more. … I think any one of those players can be a cornerstone-type player,” Hopkins told reporters on a Monday afternoon teleconference.
Minnesota Lynx general manager and head coach Cheryl Reeve offered praise as well, alluding to the fact Harris will likely be the second point guard taken off the board Friday night (7 p.m., ESPN) after Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu likely gets taken with the first overall pick.
Rebecca Lobo thinks Harris could be selected as high as fourth overall by the Atlanta Dream.
“Everybody loves Ty Harris. When you bring up her name to people in the WNBA, it’s nothing but respect to Ty Harris and her game,” the ESPN analyst and Basketball Hall of Famer said. “ … She, outside of Sabrina [Ionescu], is probably the best point guard in this draft.”
Holly Rowe called Harris “a potential high draft pick.”
“I think her savvy, her floor leadership, her increased ability to shoot,” the ESPN analyst began. “I loved that her freshman year she wasn’t known as a shooter, people would sag off of her, and that bothered her. But she made it a point to become a more efficient shooter and scorer from 3 this season.
“I thought she took a huge step forward this year, being tutored by the best point guard in the world, at times, in Dawn Staley. So I think Ty Harris is somebody that can go in the first round.”
The coaches and analysts also spoke about the potential of South Carolina’s Mikiah Herbert Harrigan.
“Obviously she had a great season. … Just her athleticism. I think that always makes the transition a little bit easier, and she’s obviously someone that can stroke it,” Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello said. “She’s got a smooth stroke.
“I think she will be a handy player in the pros and continue to develop her outside shooting. I think she has a lot of upside.”
Said Lowe, “And Kiki Herbert Harrigan, I thought she took huge steps forward this year. She’s an athletic post … and is an intriguing prospect, because I don’t think we’ve even seen her best basketball yet.”
Lobo said she loves Herbert Harrigan’s game.
“I love her fire. She competes. I think she’s a player, who, if we had had an NCAA Tournament … I think she’s a player who could have seen her stock rise because it seems like, in these big moments, she elevates herself and she just has a competitiveness and a will to win that is elite,” she said.
“I would not be surprised at all to see her go, potentially, in the first round. But I can’t see her slipping much farther than a couple of spots in the second round.”
Lobo initially shied away from a question about who would win a hypothetical matchup between South Carolina and Oregon, but offered:
“Who knows? Who knows? I covered Oregon a lot this year and I saw them play their last game in the Pac-12 Tournament. They were just so good on the offensive end. They were improved defensively. I felt when I was around them — certain teams you feel when you’re around them that they might be a team of destiny and they had that kind of a vibe to them. They had Sabrina [Ionescu]. No one else had Sabrina.
“That’s not to take anything away from South Carolina. They’re an amazing team and could have obviously won the national championship. But it just felt to me that there was something about Oregon this year, and their ability to score, and Sabrina is just a difference maker and Oregon’s the team that had her.”