Overtime: Brittney Griner’s potential is limitless

Brittney Griner (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The Phoenix Mercury won last month’s WNBA draft lottery. Their prize is the dominant center from Baylor University, Brittney Griner.

Women’s college basketball doesn’t quite get Tebow coverage, but anyone following sports in 2012 should know Griner’s name.

Last year, Griner led the Baylor Bears to a 40-0 championship season. She also picked up the AP National Player of the Year award, the Wooden Award, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

Griner’s accolades continue forever. There’s no way she can fit her resume on one page.

How many female basketball players playing in the NBA can people talk about without making fun? The answer is one and her name is Brittney Griner.

Griner simply does not have a female comparison. Her game projects to unknown heights, the kind of unknown heights guys like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell were the first to reach in the NBA.

Griner has the potential to be the most unstoppable female basketball player in history. And that’s not because the WNBA is without talent. The talent pool in the WNBA is strong; Griner just so happens to be a freak specimen.

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Griner stands 6-foot-8 and has a 7-foot-3 arm span. That arm span is longer than Andrew Bynum’s, who is a 7-foot NBA center.

Female hoopers aren’t built this way. To have that kind of size is almost unheard of; however, having Griner’s level of coordination to go with that size is totally unheard of.

Shot blocking is Griner’s deadliest weapon. The painted area might as well be hot lava when playing against her. Griner is like a cornerback who has unbelievable speed. The wide receiver getting separation doesn’t matter because the corner has the speed to recover and defend the pass. Griner getting beat on defense only means she’ll block the ball from behind instead.

Dunking has long been the great divider between men and women’s basketball. Griner is here to close the gap.

The WNBA has seen women who can dunk. What the WNBA hasn’t seen is a woman who can dunk off a drop step move in the post. For Griner, dunking isn’t a novelty; it’s a part of her game.

Comparing Griner to Wilt Chamberlain is not hyperbolic. Averaging 50 and 25 is out of the question but Griner does have the makeup to do Chamberlain-esque things in the WNBA. She is the first of her kind.

Regardless of sex, Griner is great for basketball — although, being a female makes her even more valuable. She can be a crucial aide to the WNBA in their struggle to attract fans.

Brittney Griner represents what women’s basketball could look like in 2030, playing in 2012.