Multiple analysts have tagged Davis, a versatile 5-foot-7 guard, as a “steal” or “hidden gem” in the draft.
Nerves surfaced two weeks ago.
“It’s so crazy to talk in terms like this — ‘professional,’ ” Washington senior Jazmine Davis said of transitioning her passion — basketball — into a paycheck.
Her first opportunity is the WNBA draft Thursday. If selected, Davis would be the third player in UW program history to be taken in the draft, which began in 1997.
Huskies in the WNBA
University of Washington players who have reached the WNBA:
G Laure Savasta: Program’s first player to sign a WNBA contract, played 14 games for the now-defunct Sacramento Monarchs in 1997.
F Rhonda (Smith) Banchero: First UW player drafted. Third-round selection by Sacramento in 2000, appeared in nine games.
G Megan Franza: Fourth-round draft choice by Phoenix in 2001, did not make final roster.
G Jamie Redd: Undrafted, played for the Storm from 2000-02, starting 14 times and averaged 6.2 points per game.
F Amber Hall: Undrafted, played 20 games for the now-defunct Portland Fire in 2002.
G Giuliana Mendiola: Undrafted, played six games for Sacramento in 2004.
F Kristen O’Neill: Undrafted, signed a record seven short-term contracts with Seattle, appearing in 11 games in 2008.
The odds are not strong in her favor. Numerous analysts have tagged Davis, a versatile 5-foot-7 guard, as a “steal” or “hidden gem” in the draft.
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After a four-year career at UW, Davis is sixth in Pac-12 career scoring and a four-time all-conference player. But Bay Area guards Brittany Boyd (California) and Amber Orrange (Stanford) are considered to be stronger prospects.
Boyd, a three-time All-Pac-12 selection, is one of the 12 invitees selected by the WNBA to attend the draft in Connecticut. It’s an honor that signals she’ll likely be a first-round choice.
“It doesn’t matter,” Davis said of being overlooked.
She averaged 17.4 points and 3.2 assists per game in leading UW to four consecutive 20-win seasons, including its first NCAA tournament berth since 2007.
“If you have the skill, go out there and prove them wrong,” she continued. “That’s what I’ve always talked about. I do have this chip on my shoulder. I had it coming into college. Being underrated and all of that again going into the WNBA … I feel inspired to beat the odds.”
It’s a tough year to be an intriguing prospect in the WNBA.
The league pushed the regular season back a month to June because there isn’t a FIBA World Championship or Olympics schedule conflict. The delayed start means fewer veterans are arriving late to training camp due to overseas play, which trickles down to fewer chances for late-round or undrafted newcomers to showcase themselves at training camp in hopes of landing a contract.
In the past, Seattle was a hotbed for those types of opportunities.
WNBA teams can carry 15 players at camp and a maximum of 12 during the season. In recent seasons, Storm backcourt veterans Tanisha Wright and Sue Bird were two guaranteed open camp slots as late arrivals. That meant most other guards were destined to be cut when the veterans reported. But a rookie could make the most of the exhibition games and practices to leave an impression.
Jasmine James, a 5-9 standout at Georgia, is an example. She was the Storm’s third-round choice in 2013. After being cut in training camp, she joined Phoenix’s roster last season, logging minutes during its championship run.
Allie Quigley, a 5-10 guard, is another Storm player who found a spot elsewhere. She was selected in the second round by Seattle in 2008 and cut during training camp. Seven years and five teams later, Quigley helped lead Chicago to the 2014 WNBA Finals and was named the league’s Sixth Woman of the Year.
Another obstacle for Davis: The draft is saturated with guard prospects, and few teams have needs at that position. Seattle has the biggest need as it rebuilds depth. The Storm cut backup guard Temeka Johnson, and Wright left via free agency.
“Only one position makes your team go; that’s the value of a really strong point guard,” said Connecticut coach Anne Donovan, whose team has the fourth overall choice. “(But) it’s going to be really hard for an undrafted player or a third-round pick to come into camp and find her way.”
Said Davis: “I just want an opportunity. That’s all I’m really looking forward to.”