This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Lynx front office.
Taiye Bello: 6’2, F, University of Minnesota
College Stats in 2019-20:
30 games, 29.5 MPG, 11.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 0.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 49.8 FG%, 66.7 FT%
Where she’ll go:
Bello’s best chance at being drafted will be in the bottom half of the third round.
Of course, we had to throw a Golden Gopher into the mix.
Bello, once again, led the Gophers in rebounds (though she averaged 2.1 fewer than she did as a junior) and was the third-leading scorer on her team but didn’t make significant enough strides in Minnesota’s 16-15 season to really raise her draft stock.
However, she did reinforce what we already knew to be true about her game.
Bello continued to impress us with her superb rebounding abilities that are highlighted by her long wingspan which allows her to weave through defenders to grab seemingly-unreachable boards.
Bello’s rebounding talent is complemented by her commitment to always look up the court to find an outlet. And with her athleticism, she can make an outlet pass under the basket and still beat some of her teammates to the opposite end of the court. Her assist-to-turnover ratio wasn’t anything to write home about but she did lessen her turnovers from 85 to 60 from her junior to senior season.
Bello is also a purposeful screener who sets her feet and intentionally seals before rolling to the basket. She can make her way through defenders while creating a shot under the rim just as she does while going up for a rebound but adding upper body strength may have helped her improve her efficiency in the restricted area.
Defensively, Bello knows the importance of communication and is often willing to step out of the paint to stop a ball-handler coming off a screen, but she often gets lost when tracing back to her original defensive assignment. The same lack of on-court awareness can be found when she hesitates to clear the paint for a teammate who’s looking to create a driving lane. That may improve when she’s seen as more of a role player and less of a go-to offensive option at the next level, but her chances of ever being a stretch-four in the pros or overseas are pretty slim considering she went 0-for-5 from 3-point range during the entirety of her college career.
There’s still promise for Bello securing a career in the WNBA one day, but she’ll likely have to improve her game overseas before a team in the league decides to offer her a long-term contract.