With March firmly behind us and my tournament wounds finally closing (I owe you a sad article titled "Turnovers and other Ole Misstakes"), it's time to celebrate another class of Cardinal heading off for the pros. Yesterday in New York, New York, Stanford star Haley Jones was selected No. 6 overall by my hometown team, the Atlanta Dream, in the WNBA draft.
Unfortunately for the 6'1" senior, she may already be mired in uncharacteristic controversy:
We can all agree that #pickupyourphone is fun, Jones will be fine, and that nobody from Atlanta calls Atlanta "the A." I beg of you (the world) please stop.
Jones exits Stanford with a Communication degree and as Cardinal Royalty, having brought Stanford WBB an elusive title in 2021 for which she was named MOP, as well as 3 Pac-12 titles and 2 Pac-12 Tournament titles. She also notched 3 AP All-American honors while in Palo Alto. Despite the accolades, many view Jones's final season at Stanford as disappointing, her stats never quite taking that leap to the next level that many expected post-title. Case in point: she averaged 13.2 points in 2021, 13.2 again in 2022, and 13.5 this past season. Waning faith in her jumpshot and perimeter play are likely the cause of this stagnation and will be areas of focus for an Atlanta Dream squad (9th of 12, 14-22 on the '22-23 season) that is looking to add some firepower.
Jones is not alone in her ascendency to the WNBA—teammate and three point specialist Ashten Prechtel got the call up in third round at No. 34 Overall by the Connecticut Sun.
Prechtel, whose heroics in the championship run in San Antonio a couple years ago were unquestionably impressive, also showed signs of stagnation in her post-championship years, though this time due to declining usage in the subsequent two seasons. Thanks to a surplus of talent (much of which are currently transferring away via Portaltown), Prechtel's minutes per game sank to just under 8 in the '22-23 season. As a third round pick, Prechtel's path to secure a permanent roster spot is a difficult one, but at the end of the day, she's a big that can shoot. The 6'5" F can certainly make a difference for the Sun if given the chance.
Stanford's collapse in the NCAAW tournament has inflamed emotions (or was a symptom of existing tensions), as coaches, players, and reportedly parents of players are in conflict within the Stanford WBB program. It's unclear who will step up and fill the enormous shoes of those leaving, but once the transfer dust settles, we'll put back on our rally caps and hope next year's Cameron Brink-led squad can deal some damage.
--Fear The Me.