For the next 10 days, I'm going to list the Top 10 players in the WAC regardless of position.
No. 10 is Utah State senior point guard Brockeith Pane.
Does anyone know how Pane ended up on the first team all WAC last year ahead of Nevada's Deonte Burton or even Hawaii's Zane Johnson? Well he will have to prove worthy this year.
Pane was probably the perfect guy for the perfect situation last year. He was surrounded by four starters, a deep bench a good coach on a good team. He played the role of point guard and defender. He was tied for third in WAC games with 4.4 assists per game. He was second on his team in scoring at 11.8 ppg and 12. 5 in WAC play but he was a pure penetrate guard. He got to the lane and he finished. He was the best shooting guard in the WAC with a 49 percent field goal percentage in WAC games and he was 12th in the league in free throw shooting (76 percent). You would think with less established weapons around him, teams will dare him to shoot from long range where he shot 21 percent (16 of 76) last year. He's a capable player, but he will need to increase production across the board for Utah State to contend again.
Here are some players on the outside looking in. All of them are players who can find their way into the Top 10 for sure.
In no particular order:
Louisiana Tech guards Brandon Gibson and Kenyon McNeaill
San Jose State guard Keith Shamburger. He hit six 3s to sink Idaho in the WAC Tourney and reach the semis but now he's the best guard on another rebuilding San Jose State team. San Jose State teammate Will Carter is probably No. 11. Carter was seventh in the WAC with 7 rpg to go with 9.8 ppg and he started all 33 games.
Fresno State guard Kevin Olekaibe. I like him. Anytime a freshman leads a team in scoring, he has to be considered a top player his sophomore year. Olekaibe and Shepp could be a good backcourt.
New Mexico State's Tshilidzi Nephawe could be a Top 3 center in the league. New Mexico State's Hamidu Rahman could be a Top 3 center in the league. One is a sophomore who could shoulder more responsibility, the other is a senior coming off an injury plagued year who was good as a sophomore. One will emerge, the other will back up. Christian Kabongo could also be in line for a big year, hopefully has developed some shooting touch to go with his ability to get to the paint.