These tourney stars are coming to a WNBA franchise near you

4:37 PM ET

Andre SnellingsESPN

On Monday, the WNBA draft will welcome a new generation of stars to help carry the league forward. Luckily for us, we were able to watch several of those stars do their thing on the NCAA stage this year, highlighted by their work in the recently concluded NCAA tournament.

Today, let’s look at the WNBA and fantasy hoops prospects for three of those stars in South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, Maryland’s Diamond Miller and Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist.

Aliyah Boston: Defensive Post Presence

Boston has been the favored to be the No. 1 overall pick in this draft since long before this season. She was considered the premier post prospect in her high school class in 2019, and when she got to college she cemented her status early on.

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At 6-foot-5, Boston is one of the most dominant interior players to come along this generation. She is a four-time All-American, back-to-back NCAA Defensive Player of the Year and in 2022 turned in the trifecta of Naismith Player of the Year, Most Outstanding Player and NCAA championship as she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to the title.

Boston is one of the best prospects to enter the WNBA in years, following in the footsteps of another former Gamecock in A’Ja Wilson, who has two WNBA MVP awards and a championship ring in her first four professional seasons.

On Monday, it is overwhelmingly likely that Boston becomes the top pick for the Indiana Fever. As long as that happens, she’ll become the centerpiece for a young, rebuilding team that already featured four first round draft picks from the 2022 draft: second pick NaLyssa Smith, fourth pick Emily Engstler, sixth pick Lexie Hull and 10th pick Queen Egbo.

Smith and Egbo, both 6-foot-4 and former teammates at Baylor before joining the Fever, started most of their games as rookies and were named to the WNBA All Rookie Team. Boston likely displaces Egbo as the starting center for the Fever this season, leading one of the most intimidating young defensive center tandems in the league.

In her four-year collegiate career, Boston averaged a double-double with more than two blocks and a steal per game. For projection purposes, her junior year may be most instructive because the Gamecocks were so deep her senior season that her minutes and responsibilities actually went down.

While leading them to the championship as a junior, Boston averaged 16.8 PPG (54.2 FG%, 77.1 FT%), 12.5 RPG, 2.0 APG (vs 1.5 TO), 2.4 BPG, 1.2 SPG and 0.4 3PG in 28.5 MPG. With her size and physicality, Boston’s game should translate well to the WNBA. She has already played with the Team USA Basketball senior team at the pre-World Cup camp and showed she can hang with the professionals.

As a rookie, Boston should be a nightly double-double threat with strong percentages and defensive stats. She also has some upside to play away from the rim, as her positive assist-to-turnover ratio and the fact that she took and made some 3-pointers at the college level shows she has some comfortability handling the ball and making decisions outside of the paint.

Perhaps most excitingly, in the WNBA Boston won’t face the consistent triple-teams she often faced in college, which may allow her to even increase her scoring volume and efficiency at the pro level. She is the early favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors, and should be considered in the early-mid rounds of fantasy basketball drafts this summer.

Diamond Miller: Guard skills with forward size

Miller is coming off an impressive NCAA run of her own, leading the Maryland Terrapins to an Elite 8 matchup against Boston’s Gamecocks.

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In the last three games of that tournament run, which came against the Arizona Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 1 ranked Gamecocks, Miller averaged 22.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, 2.7 SPG and 1.7 BPG. And that’s with her only playing 26 minutes against the Gamecocks due to foul trouble.

Miller is an outstanding on-ball wing, able to create with the ball in her hands as a guard despite a 6-foot-3 stature that gives her the height and length of many bigs. She has been a starter for the Terrapins for the last three seasons, but made a leap as a senior that landed her on the AP All-America second team.

On the season, she averaged 19.7 PPG (47.6 FG%, 79.8 FT%), 6.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.1 SPG and 1.3 BPG. Her creativity off the bounce and finishing ability in the paint make her dangerous on offense, but she’s a true two-way player with strong rebounding, steals and blocks numbers from the backcourt.

Miller is projected in several WNBA Mock Drafts as the potential No. 2 overall pick to the Minnesota Lynx. The Lynx are in the midst of an organizational transition, with the retirement of Sylvia Fowles and the official retirement of Maya Moore (she hadn’t played for the Lynx since 2018) marking the end of the era that produced their most recent championships (last one in 2017).

Last season, the Lynx dealt with injuries and player turnover, and franchise player Napheesa Collier missed most of the season after giving birth to her daughter in May. If the Lynx were to draft Miller, she would pair with Collier as a future cornerstone of the franchise.

On the fantasy hoops front, if Miller lands in a situation where she can play right away, she projects as a plus scorer with solid defensive numbers right off the bat.

She needs to work on her consistency and shooting range, as well as tightening up her handle when contested, but if she makes these improvements she has as much upside as any player in the draft.

Her length and athletic ability from the guard position will allow her to compete physically in the WNBA from day one, and she should be considered in the mid-late rounds of fantasy hoops drafts.

Maddy Siegrist: Get Buckets

Siegrist led the nation in scoring last season with a whopping 29.2 PPG, then led the Villanova Wildcats to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament.

In the tournament, she dropped 35 points with five boards against the Cleveland State Vikings, 31 points with 6 boards, 4 steals and 4 blocks against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and then 31 points, 13 rebounds and 5 steals against the Miami Hurricanes.

Siegrist is a 6-foot-2 forward that can score from anywhere on the floor. She scored more than 2000 points in her NCAA career, including more than 1000 points her senior year alone. She can operate from the interior, with a strong post-up game and a turnaround jumper with a high release point that most defenders can’t get to.

She’s great at moving without the ball and finding open spots on the court from which to attack or shoot. And she knocked down almost two 3-pinters per game over her career as well, which allows her to stretch the court against opposing big forwards.

She has a strong all-around game as well, averaging 9.2 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.2 SPG and 1.2 BPG to go along with her 29.2 PPG (51.0 FG%, 85.8 FT%) as a senior.

Siegrist is projected to go in the top-half of the first round of the WNBA Draft, with ESPN and others slotting her into the No. 3 overall selection by the Atlanta Dream. If that were to happen, Siegrist would join last season’s top overall pick and Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard as a cornerstone of the squad.

Siegrist could grow into the high-volume scorer from the frontcourt that complements Howard’s all-around excellence in the backcourt, opening up space for Howard to create and subsequently getting better looks from Howard’s setups.

On the fantasy hoops front, if Siegrist gets minutes right away she should be able to get buckets from jump. That’s just her skillset. Her all-around numbers might not be as strong against the elite athletes at the WNBA level, but she should be a plus shooter-scorer from the forward position as long as she gets the opportunity to.

Depending on where she is drafted, Siegrist is a potential late-round pick in fantasy WNBA drafts this season.

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