Connecticut Sun draft Kaila Charles and Juicy Landrum

COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 13: Kaila Charles #5 of Maryland charges up court during a game between Iowa and Maryland at Xfinity Center on February 13, 2020 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Tony Quinn/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - FEBRUARY 13: Kaila Charles #5 of Maryland charges up court during a game between Iowa and Maryland at Xfinity Center on February 13, 2020 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Tony Quinn/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Sun add two pieces late in the second half of the draft

With the 23rd pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, the Connecticut Sun selected Kaila Charles from Maryland. Charles has a pro body and at 6’1 will fit in well in the Sun’s scheme, according to Sun general manager Curt Miller. While she can’t shoot the three her quickness, ability to finish, and offensive rebounding skills will help her make the roster.

Charles led the Terrapins with 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, she also added 2.2 assists and 1.6 steals a contest. She finished top-10 in program history in scoring and rebounds.

She averaged 3.5 offensive rebounds per game, something that fits in with the Sun’s offense.

Head coach and general manager Curt Miller had Charles in the top-10 of the team’s draft board for the last two months.

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“To watch her continue to slip in the second round was almost unbelievable for us,” Miller said.

While he acknowledged Charles’ ability to drive and be efficient in the open floor, he also hypothesized that one of the reasons that Charles fell to where she did was her inability to shoot threes.

Miller repeatedly emphasized Charles’ length and versatility, two common traits in successful Sun players, adding “I love the warrior in her.”

He also believes that her mechanics are solid, which is part of what he thinks makes her upside tremendous.

Charles joins former Maryland women’s basketball players Alyssa Thomas (‘14) and Brionna Jones (‘17) in Connecticut.

“There’s a premium on players from our team that come from great programs that are really well-coached and know how to win … We have two players that played at Maryland that go back frequently and practice when they are in the states against the Maryland players,” Miller said.

He also noted having a great relationship with Maryland head coach Brenda Frese and not only reaching out to her but the uniqueness that comes with reaching out to his own players when they do go back to practice with the current Maryland team.

“And so, you know, I’ve had discussions with AT, I’ve had discussions with Bri about Maryland players … it’s meaningful, when you get an endorsement by other players in your, in your franchise in your organization,” he added.

With the 35th pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, the Sun selected Juicy Landrum from Baylor. Landrum is a talented three-point shooter, making 14 against Arkansas State in December and 42.3 percent of her threes on the season.

The Sun often found momentum from the team’s three-point shooting, especially at home, something that Landrum could help continue. She will also look to help fill a three-point shooting void left by the departure of reigning WNBA All-Start three-point shooting champion Shekinna Stricklen.

In her senior year, Landrum averaged 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game. She scored at least 20 points three times, including a career-high 42 points.

Her consistency from the field and ability from the free-throw line will increase her chances of cementing her place on the roster.

Landrum was on the board for the Sun in the second round, but the team ultimately couldn’t pass up drafting Charles and Miller was surprised she was still available when the team picked again in the third.

He noted both her offensive and defensive abilities and believes the Sun are getting a true two-way player in her.

Miller admires that Landrum was able to play a role in fit in on a team with other superstars, without creating any negativity.

He said, “What I admire is Juicy played alongside other great players, and [has] never been disruptive never brought drama to that locker room.” Miller noted that this will help her transition to playing with what he believes is one of the best starting fives in the league.

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