I think the top four sophomores are all guards listed at 6-1 or below in Fresno's Kevin Olekaibe, La. Tech's Kenyon McNeaill, Nevada's Deonte Burton and San Jose's Keith Shamburger.
Sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe led the Bulldogs in scoring last year with 12 ppg, but he doesn't have a lot of experience around him like last year.His 183 3-pt attempts were the most on the team and he shot 33 percent from there. He also had 1.2 steals per game.
Guard Kenyon McNeaill started 30 games last year averaging 8.7 pggs and 2.4 apg. He also was a 34 percent 3-pt shooter.
Deonte Burton is a first-team player and the WAC Freshman of the year last year. Burton was fifth in the WAC in scoring at 15.8 per game, upping his season average of 13.7. Was seventh with 3.7 assists per game. He shot 49 percent from the floor as a guard, meaning he gets to the rim a lot but he still shot 36 percent from 3 point range.
Jerry Evans Jr. started 14 WAC games last year. Nevada's role players looked scared when they had the ball last year, but outside of their big 4, Evans had the most minutes at 18 minutes per game.
Whether or not Tshilidzi Nephawe starts for the Aggies at center is irrelevant because he will likely be finishing them. What stands out about Nephawe, other than his physique, is his shooting touch at the free throw line. Nephawe was 76 percent from the foul line last year. He was 80 percent in WAC play, making 40 of his 50 attempts. If he improved his offensive game around the basket, as well as a rebounder (should do better than his 4.4 rpg), he could be a force in WAC play.
Christian Kabongo showed flashes of becoming a special talent last year, but his ability to slash into the lane where he dished out 82 assists was all but canceled out by his 82 turnovers. Clean that up and increase the 19 percent 3-point shooting effort, and he could finish emerge as a second or third scorer at NMSU.
San Jose State:
Shamburger had double digit scoring nights 20 times last year. He had a big 28 points in a WAC Tourney win over Idaho, but won't have either Adrian Oliver or Justin Graham around this year. Shamburger liked the 3 last year. He shot nine more than Oliver, finishing at 31 percent for the season
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