Player Comparisons provides a new look at top girls’ high school prospects by comparing them with a WNBA player or current NCAA All-American. For our high school followers, it’ll give a glimpse into the future of some of the top names on the scene today. Player Comparisons also looks back at the body of work of current college and pro players, many of whom were SLAM All-Americans during their prep careers.
|PLAYER||Brittney Griner||Imani Stafford|
|BORN||October 18, 1990||October 11, 1994|
|HIGH SCHOOL||Nimitz (TX) HS||Windward (CA) HS ’12|
|HOMETOWN||Houston, TX||Los Angeles, CA|
by Jonathan Hemingway / @JLHemingway
WELCOME TO THE BLOCK PARTY
Brittney Griner grabbed the national spotlight four years ago as the most hyped high school recruit in women’s sports. She backed it up at Baylor as a freshman with astounding numbers, which included setting the NCAA record for block shots in a season (223) and most blocks in a Tournament game (14). This past season Griner took her level of dominance to another level by averaging 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5 blocks per game. Now enter Imani Stafford who has the potential to be as equally dominant in the paint. Standing at 6-7 tall and the agility of a player a foot shorter, Stafford has already earned the reputation of an elite shot blocker at the prep level.
Griner’s popularity rocketed largely from her ability to dunk the basketball. YouTube videos circulated showing the female dunking the ball in practice and immediately that gained the nation’s attention. This past season Griner became just the second woman to dunk twice in a single game and the first to dunk in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. Stafford’s athletic ability is off the charts as well for a female. She can dunk the ball with ease and is sure to draw even more attention in the game of women’s basketball.
HIGH REACHING ACCOLADES
Griner has been earned a number of high ranking awards including being 2012 AP Player of the Year, 2012 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, and the 2011 and 2012 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. Stafford is poised to equal those same achievements by being tabbed as a 2012 McDonald’s All-American and selected as the No. 10 prospect in the 2012 class by ESPN HoopGurlz. She has also earned a gold medal for the USA Basketball in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship and the 2010 USA U17 World Championship Team.
Next year’s game between Texas and Baylor will be a highly anticipated matchup between the two tallest and most talented female basketball players in women’s basketball. Griner has dominated the Big 12 conference with her superior height and athleticism for the past three years. Next season Stafford will step on the scene and challenge that superiority. Who will win the battle of the lane? In the end, the game of women’s basketball will be the real winner because of the elevated level of play that both will bring.
Jonathan Hemingway is Assistant Director of Scouting for JumpOffPlus.com. Jonathan has been involved since 2002 as an analyst, camp director and evaluator.