Tuesday, October 4, 2011

WAC seniors

I'm going to try to go through the top seniors, juniors, sophs and freshmen/transfers the next couple days, trying to get an idea the top players in the WAC and maybe you may get something out of it as well.

The senior class is probably the most known commodity so we will start there. I'm also going  to be counting down the top 10 players in the league starting tomorrow which should account why some of the bigger names are briefly touched upon here to avoid redundancy.

Fresno State:
Pt. guard Steven Shepp was a difference maker last year. Fresno went from a bad team without him in the lineup to an OK team when he returned. He was fifth in the WAC during conference play with 3.6 assists per game and as a senior is probably a Top 5 point guard in the league.

Fresno also has UNM transfer Jonathan Willis, who didn't play much of a factor for 6-10 team.

Guard Zane Johnson is a likely first-team player and the WAC's top 3-point shooter in terms of makes (3.3 per game) while shooting 41 percent on the year. Johnson was fourth in WAC scoring at 15.9 per game. Hawaii seems like they are going to be solid all around which could open things up even more for Johnson.

5-9 point guard Jeremiah Ostrowski could be one of my favorite players in the league and provides instant energy once he joins the team after the football season ends. in 20 games last year, he averaged nearly 4 assists per game

Senior guards Landom Tatum and Deremy Geiger are the top returning seniors and two of the Vandals' top returning scorers. Tatum led the WAC in assist-to-turnover ratio last year (2.2) and led the team with 3 apg in a reserve role, playing 22 minutes per game. Geiger started all 32 games for Idaho last year. Seems like he's more of a driver and good in transition He was a 31 percent 3pt shooter but dropped to 25 percent in WAC games. He scored 8 ppg but had the luxury of kicking to Ledbetter or dumping it inside to Barone.

Nevada's two seniors are also Top 10 players in the WAC. Center Dario Hunt led the league in rebounding last year with 9.7 per game to go with 12.4 ppg and forward Olek Czyz is one of the better scoring forwards in the league at 12.3 ppg with 5.7 rpg. It's a good front line offensively and rebounding wise. Hunt is also a top defender and shot blocker, averaging 2 blocks per game last year.

New Mexico State:
This list starts with Wendell McKines, who has 27 double doubles in three years at NMSU. McKines' leadership and effort level night in and night out are perhaps even a greater asset to the Aggies, who missed that severely last season.  Point guard Hernst Laroche has started every game as an Aggie and that shouldn't change this year. His 416 career assists are second behind career leader Sam Crawford, who had 592 from 91-93. Senior center Hamidu Rahman will split time with sophomore Tshilidzi Nephawe. Rahman had an OK freshman year, a great sophomore year and a horrible junior year where he was injured and limited to 23 games. When healthy, he's a good rebounder and decent scorer in the paint.

San Jose State:
Senior forward Will Carter was probably one of the best/underrated big men in the conference last year, but he played alongside the best scorer in the league in Adrian Oliver on a 5-11 team. Carter is athletic at 6-8, was fifth in the league with 8 rpg. senior center Matt Ballard went from intramural superstar to starter last year who played 26 minutes per game.

Utah State:
Brockeith Payne is the last man left at Utah State as the UtAgs roster starts to turn over a little bit. Payne is a top 3 point guard in the WAC, but we shall see if he's among the league's elite without Tai Wesley, Pooh Williams, Newbold an Bendall around him. Was good at getting to the paint and creating, but not much of a shooter. It seems like he will have to improve on his 12 ppg from a year ago for Utah State to be competitive. Not sure about that.

Brady Jardine to me is the most overrated player in the WAC. He averaged 7 boards per game, which was seventh in the conference and there is no denying his athletic ability. But again, I'm not sure he has the skills required to be a go-to guy without the surrounding cast they have had the past few years.

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