Aari McDonald is a preseason AP All-American. She’s on every watch list she’s eligible for. She’s the reigning Ann Meyers Drysdale Award winner and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the year. Is she the best player in the nation?
The Arizona faithful would certainly say yes. ESPN doesn’t quite agree, but it does think she’s among the best.
The Worldwide Leader ranked McDonald as the second-best player in NCAA women’s basketball in the rankings of the top 25 players in the sport. Graham Hays writes that she’s “one of a handful of players with the ability to influence the championship race.”
Noting that she’s the top scorer on their top 25 list as well as the reigning best defender in the league, the publication likes her ability to influence the game on both ends. The lone hole in her game is her 3-point shot.
McDonald has paced the Pac-12 in both points and steals for the past two seasons. She’s a prolific free-throw shooter. Her position defense is also a great annoyance to her opponents. However, she has only hit 28 percent of her 3-point shots during her time in an Arizona uniform.
Just behind McDonald at No. 3 on ESPN’s list is fellow Pac-12 player and AP preseason All-American, UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere. Stanford’s Kiana Wiliams (8) and Haley Jones (21) round out the conference players on the list.
The top-ranked player on ESPN’s list is another Wildcat, junior guard and fellow AP preseason All-American Rhyne Howard of Kentucky.