Maria Vadeeva – Draft Profile
By Matt Hallett
Maria Vadeeva is a 6’3” center from Russia. It is impossible to compare her list of accolades with any of the college stars. However, when Vadeeva played for Russia in the FIBA Under 19 world cup, she had an incredible tournament.
Vadeeva was named MVP of the entire tournament, leading Russia to the tournament victory. She collected 26 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks in the championship games showing that Vadeeva has the ability to step up her game when she is needed.
In the 2017-18 Russian premier league, Vadeeva is averaging 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Some scribes see this as a young player showing a huge potential. Others see Vadeeva as a project who will take a few seasons to develop. She is fourth in the league in scoring but this may not translate into the WNBA.
I believe that Vadeeva will be a project. She certainly has talent, that much is evident. However, at 6’3” Vadeeva is going to need to stretch her game so that she can play more of the 4 position. Currently she is shooting 33.3 percent from deep but the pressure and intensity is greater in the WNBA so expect this to dip in her first season
Almost every night Vadeeva is going to be playing against players like Brittney Griner, Liz Cambage, Elizabeth Williams, Sylvia Fowles, Stephanie Dolson, A’ja Wilson and Azura Stevens. All of these players are 6’5” or taller. This means Vadeeva is going to be outsized by all of these players.
In saying that, Vadeeva was widely considered to be one of the top picks for this seasons draft just a month ago. However, her stock has fallen, where she has gone from being touted as the second overall pick to the eighth pick. She would still be with the Indiana Fever if this as the case.
In the last week her draft stocks have plummeted again. With Azura Stevens nominating for the current draft, Vadeeva may even fall out of the first round. One mock draft has her going 14th – to the Indiana Fever.
The other option for Vadeeva is she could be taken with the Phoenix Mercury with the 12th pick of the draft. They are in need of a back-up center who will not take up too many minutes as Griner is one of their big three. One thing is for sure, when we revisit this pick in the future, there is going to be a lot to talk about.