2022 WNBA and NBA Early Draft Picks
By Kylie Rau
April 29, 2021
It is never too early to think about draft picks. Here is a list of 2022 WNBA and NBA college prospects to watch out for throughout the next season.
- Rhyne Howard, Kentucky: The 6-foot-2 guard started her time in Lexington as a well-known recruit out of Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tenn.. She has 1,158 career points, and is the second-fastest player in Kentucky history to reach 1,000 points (53 career games). She immediately made her mark, becoming the national freshman of the year in 2019. Her incredible size and ability to score led to her becoming the 2018 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year and Tennessee Miss Basketball. Source: Bleacher Report
- AJ Griffin, Archbishop Stepinac High School: This powerful 6-foot-6 forward is under the NBA scouting lens due to his incredibly athletic abilities. His 7-foot wingspan makes him a powerhouse with a unique perimeter skill level. Griffin posted per-40 minute numbers of 29.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 7.1 steals and 6.0 assists on 4-of-11 shooting from three in just four games with USA basketball at the U16 Americas Championship. He has an NBA combo-forward body at 16 years old and will no doubt make his mark at the collegiate and professional level.
- Naz Hillmon, Michigan: This 6-foot-2 forward is the first player in program history to earn All-America honors and will no doubt be a prospect in the 2022 WNBA draft. She was a finalist for the 2021 Wade Trophy, 2021 WBCA All-America, 2021 USBWA All-America (first team), 2021 Associated Press All-America (second team), 2021 Sports Illustrated All-America (first team), 2021 The Athletic All-American (first team), 2021 Big Ten Player of the Year (consensus), just to name a few. Source: Sports Illustrated
- Chet Holmgren: The 7-foot center recently announced his commitment to Gonzaga as the no.1 recruit in the class. Holmgren will be able to show off his skills with the Zags, after they nearly won this year’s NCAA National Championship. He is the early pick to go no.1 overall in the 2022 draft. Source: Getty Images
- NaLyssa Smith, Baylor: The 6-foot-2 forward has a plethora of awards to her name. She was awarded 2020 WBCA All-America (honorable mention), 2020 Associated Press All-America (honorable mention), 2020 All-Texas (first team), 2020 Texas Sophomore of the Year, 2020 All-Big 12 (first team), and many more. Coaches have their eyes out for Smith as a prospect for the 2022 WNBA draft.Source: ESPN
- Paolo Banchero, Duke: This 6-foot-10 power forward is expected to post big numbers upon entering Duke. With a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Banchero is a natural scorer and he has play-making instincts and a quick first step. He will be right behind Chet Holmgren on the 2022 prospect list.
- Elissa Cunane, NC State: In 2020, the 6-foot-five center ranked in the top five in the ACC in scoring (fifth at 17.0), rebounding (first at 10.5), shooting percentage (second at 57.7), free-throw percentage (fifth at 79.9) and double-doubles (first with 12). Source: The Athletic
- Jaden Hardy, Coronado High School: The 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Henderson, NV. is an elite scorer with a wingspan of 6-foot-10. He has big time shot making ability and once he makes his college/pro decision he will be under the NBA lens. It seems likely that Hardy will land with the G League. Source: Iowa State Athletics
- Ashley Joens, Iowa State: At 6-foot, the junior has made a huge impact on the Cyclone program. She was named the winner of the Cheryl Miller Award, which is given to the nation’s best small forward. She has one of the best season records in school history, she averaged 24.2 points per game, breaking the previous record of 21.7 points per game held by Bridget Carleton. Source: Zagsblog
- Patrick Baldwin Jr., Hamilton High School: The 6-foot-10 forward is a 5-star recruit with a smooth shooting stroke and elite size for his position. He is one of the highest-ranked players in the 2021 class and will no doubt be a prospect for the 2022 NBA draft.