The unfortunate timing of Keisha Hampton’s injury worked to the Seattle Storm’s advantage. The Storm was able to draft Hampton, considered a possible first-round talent, with the 22nd overall pick in the second round of yesterday’s WNBA Draft because she missed the last two months of her senior season after undergoing surgery on her right knee.
Storm Head Coach and General Manager Brian Agler scouted Hampton before the injury, and multiple times over the course of her career. Agler was impressed by her talent.
“She was a preseason All-American,” he said after the draft. “Versatile type of player; 3-4-type player. We think she’s a lot like Devereaux Peters from Notre Dame, who went No. 3 – maybe not quite as big but better range. There’s a lot of things she can do with the basketball. Very efficient type of player.”
Hampton, an All-Big East First Team pick as a junior, averaged 16.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game before the injury. She scored a season-high 32 points against crosstown rival Northwestern.
The next step for the Storm will be having Hampton meet with the team’s medical staff to determine how close she is to returning to the court. If Hampton is unable to compete in training camp, the most likely outcome is her sitting out the 2012 season to continue the rehabilitation process. That way, the Storm would maintain her rights and be able to bring her to camp in 2013 after she is fully healthy and has potentially spent an offseason playing overseas.
From the Storm’s perspective, that would be like getting an additional draft pick in 2013, which made taking Hampton preferable to selecting a player who might have been waived during training camp. The Connecticut Sun used a similar strategy in drafting wing Danielle McCray seventh overall out of Kansas in 2010. After sitting out that summer, McCray started 23 games as a rookie last season.