Ariel Atkins – Draft Profile

By Matt Hallett

Ariel Atkins is a 5’11” guard from the University of Texas. The senior has had a decorated career being named All-Big 12 conference player three times in four seasons. She led the Longhorns to 108 victories in 121 games. This included four sweet sixteen appearances and one elite eight appearances.

This season, Atkins was named to the second team All-Americans team for senior class members. Atkins was the only player in the big 12 to rank among the top-20 in eight statistical categories. These categories were points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game as well as assist-to-turnover ratio, field-goal percentage, three-point percentage and free-throw percentage.

It is this combination of numbers which have drawn the attention of WNBA scouts. While she is not in the top 10 thanks to the level of talent in the draft, her work-ethic and defensive edge will see her go in the first round.

Atkins averaged 14.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game last season. She also shot 53.9 percent for the field, 40.0 percent from deep and 85.0 percent from the line. All of these numbers are career highs which show a level of growth which will help her succeed at the next level.

One knock on Atkins at a WNBA level is she is more of a combo guard than a point guard. Considering she is slated to the be taken with the tenth pick by the New York Liberty, this may be an issue. The Liberty are full of guards who are comfortable playing this combo role. Atkins may struggle to break into this rotation.

Where Atkins will get time is through her hard work, ability to fill a roll and defensive acumen. If she is able to improve her shot she will be a serviceable back-up at both the guard roles.