Tuesday, November 2, 2010

WAC Preview


The WAC was an interesting conference heading into last season, with a couple of favorites in Utah State and Nevada, but plenty of teams with the talent capable of making a run at first-place. While several teams did take their best shot at the top of the standings, Utah State thwarted every threat in the final two months of the season, winning its final 15 games to roll to a league championship at 14-2. Nevada and New Mexico State tied at 11-5, while Louisiana Tech faded down the stretch to fall to 9-7. The conference tournament brought the WAC two bids, as Utah State advanced to the title game, but fell to New Mexico State. Both USU and NMSU lost in the first round. Those two will likely be at the top of the league again.

  • 1. Utah State: Although the Aggies lose Jared Quayle, they bring back forwards Tai Wesley and Nate Bendall, as well as guards Pooh Williams and Tyler Newbold. The Aggies are always in the mix.
  • 2. New Mexico State: This hinges on Wendell McKines returning in time for conference play. If he is healthy, they have a great frontcourt trio with McKines, Troy Gillenwater and Hamidu Rahman.
  • 3. Nevada: Four starters are gone, including Luke Babbitt, but don’t cry for the Wolf Pack. Freshman Deonte Burton and transfers Olek Czyz (Duke) and Malik Story (Indiana) will carry the load.
  • 4. Boise State: The Broncos could make a jump forward in the standings this season, behind a balanced starting unit. Forward Daequon Montreal and wing Reggie Arnold lead the way.
  • 5. San Jose State: The Spartans can hang with anyone in the conference because of high-scoring guard Adrian Oliver. Returnee Justin Graham and freshman Keith Shamburger will help on the perimeter.
  • 6. Fresno State: Without forwards Paul George and Sylvester Seay and guard Malik Ladd, all-conference center Greg Smith will have to carry the Bulldogs at both ends.
  • 7. Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors are banking on Arizona transfer Zane Johnson and a return to form by Bill Amis, who was injured last season. Hiram Thompson also returns.
  • 8. Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs are going to be led by all-conference swingman Olu Ashaolu and senior guard DeAndre Brown. They do need help in the frontcourt, though.
  • 9. Idaho: Only one starter returns from last year, and the Vandals have a lot of holes to fill. Luiz Toledo is the best returnee, but a deep recruiting class will have to contribute.

Player of the Year: Adrian Oliver, G, San Jose State

All-Conference Team:

  • G- Adrian Oliver, San Jose State
  • F- Tai Wesley, Utah State
  • F- Wendell McKines, New Mexico State
  • F- Troy Gillenwater, New Mexico State
  • C- Greg Smith, Fresno State

Second Team:

  • G- Justin Graham, San Jose State
  • G- Tyler Newbold, Utah State
  • F- Olu Ashaolu, Louisiana Tech
  • F- Nate Bendall, Utah State
  • C- Hamidu Rahman, New Mexico State

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