February 24, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Samantha Prahalis (21) drives the ball up the court against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Value City Arena. Ohio State won the game 81-56. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
With the sixth pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft the Phoenix Mercury select Samantha Prahalis out of Ohio State. The confident point guard will be a welcome addition to the team that may be ready to contribute right away.
The first five picks of the WNBA Draft played out exactly like the Phoenix Mercury wanted landing the best point guard in the draft. Ohio State point guard Samantha Prahalis landed right in head coach Corey Gaines lap. She is regarded as not only the best point guard draft, but a perfect compliment to Diana Taurasi.
In four years at Ohio State Prahalis put together a great career averaging 15.2 PPG and 6.8 APG while leading the Buckeyes to two Sweet 16 appearances.
This past season Prahalis stepped up as more of a scorer averaging a career high 20.1 PPG showing the versatility in her game. She is a pass-first point guard that gets teammates involved, but can turn it on and get her own when called upon. This is something the team may lean on with the loss of last seasons second leading scorer and more importantly, the teams leading distributor Penny Taylor.
The loss of Taylor hurts from a team standpoint losing one of the most productive players on the team. The drafting of Prahalis helps alleviate that to an extent.
Gaines is excited to add Prahalis to the team, "she is who we were waiting to take her with the selection. She fits our system. She is from New York and you see she has that swagger about her already."
Not only does she have some swagger, she can back it up. As a Seventh Grader Prahalis started on her middle school football team as a linebacker. From youth football linebacker to the Big 10 Freshman of the year in 2009 Prahalis has gotten better and better as a player. Last year she was the Big 10 Player of the Year completing her college career as one of the best players in the Nation.
Prahalis has the flash and ability to score the ball as she put up 42 points against Minnesota on the teams senior night. She was able to use the pick-and-roll to score attacking the basket and shooting the three. In that game coach Gaines was impressed in the crowd, "she is the type of player that can adjust to the situation. That same game they played her in pick-and-roll and she would split the pick-and-roll and hit the big for a lay-up. She does it all. She is small, but they said the same thing about Becky Hammond when she came into the league. I am not saying she is Becky yet, but she has the tools."
Her skill set fits right in with the up-tempo Mercury playing along side Taurasi, which she is very excited to do, "I am looking forward to playing someone who hates losing like I do."
If you ask Prahalis, she is a one of a kind WNBA player, "on the men's side I would say I am like Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Jason Williams from back in the day all mixed into one. A woman's player? I am not sure, probably a mixture of a few people."