Way back in the late 90's, I had the opportunity to see Ticha Penicheiro play at Old Dominion University.
In fact, Penicheiro was probably one of the people who first got me intrigued by women's basketball - she literally controlled the entire floor and, more impressively, did so without being a real scoring threat. Using a combination of ball fakes, changes of pace, and look-aways, Penicheiro had a level of game awareness that we can attribute to few point guards - male or female - in this generation.
So I fully understand why people are resistant to saying Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot has the best court vision ever and why there's an impulse to temper claims about her - plenty of great point guards have come through the women's college basketball ranks and Seattle fans have among the best ever.
However, what makes Vandersloot unique is a combination of passing and scoring efficiency that is simply unheard of. As the only college point guard ever to cross the 2000 points, 1000 assists threshold, at the very least we can say that her place in college basketball history might be as the player who exhibits the best balance of scoring and playmaking.
And in a Chicago Sun-Times article written by Tina Akouris, Chicago Sky coach and general manager Pokey Chatman had no absolutely reservations in making more lofty claims about the 5'8" point guard whose draft prospects nearly everyone doubted prior to the season.
Sky’s Pokey Chatman elated to snag Courtney Vandersloot - Chicago Sun-Times
Vandersloot was too enticing to Sky first-year coach/general manager Pokey Chatman.
"She’s the total package at the premier position," Chatman said. "Many play the point. Courtney owns it. Her ability is not only being able to finish the break, but how she initiates it. She can be a deep, moving outlet, peek at the rim and still be in total control."
Of course, coaches are bound to be as hyperbolic on draft day as a kid is on Christmas morning when it seems like that freshly unwrapped toy is the best in the universe. But the thing about Vandersloot is that none of the praise is really that exaggerated - there are few point guards anywhere about which we can describe in the way Chatman described Vandersloot.
The only downside of Vandersloot going as high as she did is that she will only return to Washington to play once a year when the Eastern Conference Sky make their trip to KeyArena. But if you missed her in KeyArena in December when Gonzaga played NCAA runner-up Notre Dame, in Hec Ed during the 2010 NCAA tournament, or over in Spokane, it's worth catching a glimpse of her when she comes to play the Seattle Storm on September 11 this summer.