Louisville women’s basketball hasn’t had a problem getting players to the WNBA in recent years.
Six former Cardinals have been selected in the WNBA Draft in the past three years, bringing the program’s total to 13 in its history. Jazmine Jones was selected as the final pick in the first round while Kylee Shook was taken with the first pick in the second round, both by the New York Liberty, last week in the 2020 WNBA Draft.
Asia Durr, who was the second overall pick, Arica Carter and Sam Fuehring were drafted last year. Myisha Hines-Allen was taken in 2018 in the second round.
Jeff Walz, who has coached 11 of Louisville’s 13 draft picks, says Louisville been able to develop talented players that are willing to work.
“There are some that come in here like Asia Durr that it’s not like we did a whole bunch to get her to where she was, she was already pretty darn special. We were able to fine tune some things and get her to that area where she was going to be successful,” Walz said. “You look at Arica Carter and Jazmine Jones, I thought we did a really good job of evaluating them on talent and then continuing to build that and develop that. They did the rest.”
Jones and Shook fit the development model this season.
Jones progressed throughout her career, growing into a larger role each season. She was a three-year starter and ended her career as a member of the All-ACC First-Team after averaging 14.1 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 53.9% from the field.
She left Louisville with the most games played in program history.
“You look at a player like Jaz who was not even a McDonald’s All American, she was in the high 40s rankings coming out of high school,” Walz said.
In her final season, Shook was honored as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player for Louisville since 2009 named conference Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-4 forward averaged 10.1 points and 8.1 rebounds while leading the ACC with 2.7 blocks per game.
Shook was selected as First-Team All-ACC and All-ACC Defensive team.
“I don’t think she was on anybody’s board being drafted a year-and-a-half ago, she is the first pick in the second round,” Walz said.
Angel McCoughtry was the first overall pick in 2009, Walz’s second year as the program’s head coach. Candyce Bingham was also taken in that year’s draft.
Shoni Schimmel, Antonita Slaughter and Asia Taylor were all selected in the 2014 draft.
Walz sees a difference in players’ willingness to work toward professional careers.
“Every kid says ‘this is what I want to be’ but at the end of the day do they really want it?” Walz said. “Because if it was easy, everybody would do it.”