The Connecticut Basketball program is well known for it’s amazing talent in consistently pouring out skilled and ready NBA and WNBA talent. Their women’s program especially has been maybe the best run basketball collegiate program the world has seen in years, and when Canadian Pan Am and FIBA Worlds gold medalist Kia Nurse got drafted by the New York Liberty, it showed yet another gem found deep in the UCONN system. The first round and tenth overall selection was an important piece in the Huskies juggernaut, and the Liberty- who already has a star in Tina Charles- looked to up their guard system on both ends in the draft.
The 2 way factor for Nurse is what is really made the Liberty glow when they selected her early on, and her tenacity and pit-bull mentality on the defensive end ( it reminds me of a female guard version of Bruce Bowen with handles on the break) allows her to run the break and hit some tough pull up jumpers. But where she really seems to break opponents down, at least early on is off the catch and shoot. Tina Charles is a force inside and out for the Liberty so with most of the attention on her, it allows Nurse to have less of a tough time finding baskets, and allows her to come off screens or be open off of doubles to set and hit big time 3s.
Canada Basketball has had an consistent growth of basketball talent going to the NBA and WNBA for years now, and it seems that right now it has reached a point where Canada has become far more well known for basketball than it used to be, where hockey usually dominated the headlines. Kia Nurse is just another bright example of a basketball system that is finally getting it right, and with a strong start to a rookie campaign for Kia Nurse, Canadian Basketball may have found a female star to lead the brand into its best times.
Kia Nurse still has a ways to go and still has to learn the ins and outs of the game and lifestyle of a professional athlete in a ever growing league, as does every rookie drafted in the first round of any sport. But in the few games she does have under her belt, Kia Nurse has shown poise and high energy and effort for the Liberty, and with her known commodity being a stingy defender who can make the opponent’s life hell on defense, the Liberty have a real promising player in their future. The Offense part of her game is nice as well even having her drop a career and Canadian Women’s WNBA best 34 points against the Indiana Fever, but it is still a part of her game she probably needs to focus on the most, the challenge will only grow and it is up to her to show her basketball IQ, and her ability of leadership to get better on the court offensively as she continues to glow on the defensive end.