WNBA draft prospect profile: What would Spain’s Astou Ndour offer a WNBA team?

To get more insight on Spain’s Astou Ndour prior to the 2014 WNBA draft, we asked our friend Luis Cristovao to contribute some insight about her from a Euroleague perspective.

After being named 2013 Young Women’s Player of the Year by FIBA Europe and taking Gran Canaria to the Spanish Liga Femenina’s Semi-Finals, 19-year-old Astou Ndour is ready to show off her talents in the WNBA.

But who’s going to take the risk during tomorrow’s draft?

Born in Senegal, Astou Ndour started to play in Dakar, influenced by her parents, who have both been basketball players. She soon stood out on her school’s team, with her height and light movements, and Gran Canaria 2014, the Canary Islands’ team, took her to join their youth system.

In the 2009 Junior Spanish Championship, she had the first opportunity to stand out in Europe, and then started her fantastic journey to becoming one of the most promising Spanish prospects. It took two years for her to gain Spanish citizenship, and in that same year, she won the U19 FIBA World Championship for Women Silver Medal. In the last three seasons, she kept evolving, playing in the Spanish Liga Femenina and the Eurocup with her team, Gran Canaria, while leaving her mark in all the Spanish Youth National Teams.

Strengths: Rebounding, mobility, maturity, 3-point shooting

Astou Ndour is a rebounding machine. Her two performances in the U19 World Championships produced a more than 9 rebounds per game average and, this season, in the Spanish Liga Femenina, she averaged more than 13 rebounds a game in the regular season. At 6-6, she will need to keep working on her body and gain some weight, but she is already very physical and has no problems facing anyone in the paint.

Ndour is also a very aggressive player and with Gran Canaria she showed her vocal qualities, taking on leadership responsibilities along with former Kansas State guard Brittany Chambers for a very young team to the Semi-Finals – the average age for Gran Canaria roster’s was only 19.21 this season.

Along with that, Ndour is a very mobile player, who can use her capability to play with a strong power forward and create problems for defenses. Being able to play in the high post, she has worked on her 3 point shooting and reached a 38% performance in the League, hitting 21 out of 55 shots.

Weaknesses: Harder Competition, Adaptability, Individuality

Playing in the WNBA, Astou Ndour will find the toughest competition of her career. She has never played in Euroleague Women, but achieved recognition both in the Spanish Liga Femenina, Eurocup and U19 World Championships. How she’ll match up with the likes of Sylvia Fowles, Nneka Ogwumike or Erika de Souza is still to be found, but if Spanish analysts believe she’ll take Sancho Lyttle’s place in the National Team, that might not be much to be worried about.

She’ll have to adapt, too, to playing a smaller part in her team in the WNBA, and that’s another thing to figure out: how much can she give in just limited minutes? Also, as her numbers show, Ndour plays with her focus on the basket, not being able to distribute the ball for her partners. If it’s true that, at the level she played, she was never asked to search for options, in the WNBA she might have to change that.

To offer a little more perspective on what Ndour might offer a WNBA team, the following a comparison to more familiar players from the U19 World Championships in the past.

N.Ogwumike (USA) 2009 S. Dolson (USA) 2011 A. Ndour (ESP) 2011 A. Ndour (ESP) 2013 A. Wilson (USA) 2013

Min

214 128 231 239 148

PPG

13.6 9.2 12.1 17.8 10.9

RPG

9.9 4.4 9.1 9.4 7.9

ORPG

3.9 1.4 3.4 3.3 3.4

DRPG

6 3 5.7 6.1 4.4

ASPG

0.6 0.8 0.3 0.7 0.6

FG2P%

56.50% 61% 47.7% 0.6 0.54

FG3P%

0% 0% 0% 0.27 0

FT%

57.80% 68.8% 75.8% 0.62 0.75

Statistical comparison of Ndour to U.S. posts in recent FIBA U19 World Championship for Women competitions.

When looking at the statistical data from her two performances in the U19 World Championship, Astou Ndour is much more similar to Nneka Ogwumike than to Stephanie Dolson and Aj’a Wilson.

In her rookie season, Ogwumike had an immediate impact in the WNBA. Being taller, can Astou Ndour expect to be at the same level? If you account for this being her first year out of Spain, you can give her two seasons to reach it – exactly the age Nneka Ogwumike had when she started as a pro. The good news for any teams wanting to draft Astou Ndour this Monday, is that she’ll be able to offer something while still growing as a player.

Originally published at SwishAppeal.com

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