Feb 13, 2014; Stockton, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Tyler Haws (3) goes up for a shot against the Pacific Tigers during the first half at Alex G. Spanos Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Way Too Early 2014-2015 WCC Rankings

It’s never too early to rank things.

The 2013-2014 season has just ended, but fans and pundits alike are already infatuated with the season ahead.

I’m guilty of doing the same thing. While the rosters for next season are not set in stone, I thought it would be a fun to take a look at the WCC for the 2014-2015 season and rank how the teams stack up.

 

1.    Gonzaga

Record: 29-7 (15-3)

Place in Conf. Standings: 1

Key Returners: Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., Kyle Dranginis, Przemek Karnowski, Gerard Coleman, Angel Nunez, Ryan Edwards

Key Additions: Kyle Wiltjer (Transfer), Josh Perkins (Freshman), Silas Melson (Freshman), Bryan Alberts (Freshman)

Key Losses: David Stockton, Drew Barham, Sam Dower

 

Talent wise, this could be Gonzaga’s best season ever. The Bulldogs return Gary Bell Jr., Kevin Pangos, Kyle Drangins – all members of the Bulldogs vaunted 2011 class – and Przemek Karnowski, all ofa which started games for the Bulldogs this past season.

However, while the returners are significant, it’s the additions that will truly make this group great. Kyle Wiltjer sat out this past season due to NCAA transfer rules, but he spent it working with strength coach Travis Knight in order to add strength and improve his overall game. The Bulldogs also bring in one of their best recruiting classes in the Few era. Josh Perkins is the crowning jewel of the bunch, and Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts both have high upsides as well.

 

2. Saint Mary’s

Record: 23-12 (11-7)

Place in Conf. Standings: 4

Key Returners: Brad Waldow, Kerry Carter, Dane Pineau, Jordan Giusti, Garret Jackson

Key Additions: Evan Fitzner (Freshman), Jock Londale (Freshman) Joe Coleman (Transfer), Aaron Bright (Transfer), Calvin Hermanson (Redshirt)

Key Losses: Beau Levesque, Stephen Holt, Matt Hodgeson, James Walker III, Paul McCoy

 

Although a solid senior class is departing from Moraga, the Gaels will be bolstered by a pair of transfers and will challenge Gonzaga for the WCC crown. The first of the two transfer players is Joe Coleman, who left Minnesota last season and sat out due to NCAA rules.

The second is Aaron Bright, who played three years at Stanford. He hurt himself early on last season, and elected to use a medical redshirt and take advantage of the graduate school transfer rule.

Brad Waldow, Kerry Carter and Dane Pineau will likely round out Saint Mary’s starting lineup next season, with Coleman and Bright joining Carter in the backcourt and Giusti coming off the bench.

 

3.    Brigham Young

Record: 23-12 (13-5)

Place in Conf. Standings: 2

Key Returners: Skyler Halford, Tyler Haws, Anson Winder, Josh Sharp, Nate Austin, Kyle Collinsworth, Frank Bartley IV, Luke Worthington

Key Additions: Issac Nielson (LDS Mission), Jordan Chatman (LDS Mission), Chase Fischer (Transfer), Ryan Andrus (Freshman), Jamal Aytes (Trasnfer – Eligible Midseaon)

Key Losses: Matt Carlino (Transfer), Eric Mika (LDS Mission)

 

On the bright side, BYU is only losing two players next season. However, those players are Matt Carlino and Eric Mika, who will be tough to replace next season for the Cougars.

Carlino’s departure leaves a void at the guard position, which could be amplified if Kyle Collinsworth’s knee is not fully healthy. Jordan Chatman, who is fresh off of serving an LDS mission, is a prime candidate to assume the ball-handling duties in this instance.

Mika’s absence could leave the Cougars struggling for serious production from its frontcourt. Nate Austin and Luke Worthington will see increased roles in 2014-2015 as a result. Jamal Aytes, a UNLV transfer who will be eligible midseason, will give BYU a boost at the four spot upon his arrival.

Thankfully for the Cougars, they have Tyler Haws, Skyler Halford and Anson Winder returning to help keep them stability amongst all of the comings and goings throughout the program.

 

4.    San Francisco

Record: 21-12 (13-5)

Place in Conf. Standings: 3

Key Returners: Chris Adams, Matt Glover, Kruize Pinkins, Avry Holmes, Tim Derksen, Mark Tollefsen

Key Additions: Derrell Robertson Jr. (Transfer), Uche Ofoegbu (Transfer), Frankie Ferrari (Freshman), Chase Foster (Freshman), Jared Stutzman (Freshman)

Key Losses: Cole Dickerson

 

With a pair of high major transfer’s coming in combined with a stellar recruiting class, San Francisco could have something special brewing on the hilltop.

The Dons only lose one significant contributor from last season, Cole Dickerson. Albeit, his lose will be greatly felt, but the development of Kruize Pinkins and Mark Tollefsen will harshen the blow. USF’s guard play will get a significant upgrade with the additions of Jared Stutzman, Chase Foster and Frankie Ferrari.

 

5.    Pepperdine

Record: 15-16 (8-10)

Place in Conf. Standings: 5

Key Returners: Malcolm Brooks, Atif Russell, Stacy Davis, Jett Raines, Jeremy Major, Amadi Udenyi, Lamond Murray Jr., David Jesperson

Key Additions: Marley Biyendolo (Redshirt), Avelon John (Freshman), Nate Gehring (Freshman), Ryan Keenan (Freshman)

Key Losses: Nikolas Skouen, Malte Kramer, Brendan Lane

 

Even though the Waves were a young team last season, they get even younger this upcoming season.

Only one senior will be listed on the Waves roster, with the rest being mostly sophomores and juniors. Pepperdine returns its freshmen backcourt of Jeremy Major and Amadi Udenyi, as well as the consistency of Stacy Davis. Nate Gehring, a freshman from Iowa, is someone to look out for the Waves in 2014-2015. He could make a significant impact in his first season as a Wave.

 

6.    Portland

Record: 15-16 (7-11)

Place in Conf. Standings: 7

Key Returners: David Carr, Bobby Sharp, Alec Wintering, Bryce Pressley, Volodymyr Gerun, Riley Barker, Thomas van der Mars

Key Additions: Jason Todd (Freshman), D’Marques Tyson (Freshman), Gabe Taylor (Freshman)

Key Losses: Ryan Nicholas, Korey Thieleke, Tanner Riley

 

Portland returns four out of its five starters from last season, but the one it lost will be a crushing blow. Ryan Nicholas’ departure forces Portland to look elsewhere for leadership, energy and production. Not to mention, the Pilots will likely need to rely on Volodymyr Gerun and Riley Barker to help fill “Rhino’s” void.

Jason Todd and D’Marques Tyson will come in and help on the wing, and Portland native Gabe Taylor will add much needed depth to the frontcourt.

 

7.    San Diego

Record: 18-17 (7-11)

Place in Conf. Standings: 6

Key Returners: Christopher Anderson, Johnny Dee, Thomas Jacobs, Simi Fajemisin, Chris Sarbaugh, Nick Kerr, Duda Sanadze, Jito Kok, Brett Bailey

Key Additions: Brandon Perry (Redshirt), Khalil Bedart-Ghani (Freshman), Vasilije Pusica (Freshman), Cameron Neubauer (Freshman)

Key Losses: Dennis Kramer

 

It’s now or never for the Toreros, with Johnny Dee and Christopher Anderson reaching their final season of eligibility. The dynamic duo has failed to experience a great deal of success in their USD careers, and will look to change that during their senior seasons.

The backcourt will not be the Torero’s downfall, with Chris Sarbaugh returning and Khalil Bedart-Ghani and Vasilije Pusica en route. Nor will the wings, with both Duda Sanadze and Brett Bailey returning to the fray. If anything, it will be San Diego’s big’s that hold the Toreros back from experiencing a long anticipated break out season.

Dennis Kramer – who was easily the Toreros best post scorer last season – is gone, meaning that someone needs to fill the void. Jito Kok has always been more of a defensive oriented player, but it might be his time to shine for Bill Grier and the Toreros.

 

8.    Santa Clara

Record: 14-19 (6-12)

Place in Conf. Standings: 8

Key Returners: Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge, Denzel Johnson, Yannick Atanga, Jalen Richard, Nate Kratch

Key Additions: Jarvis Pugh (Redshirt), Stephen Edwards (Freshman), Evan Wardlow (Freshman), Kai Healy (Freshman), Matt Hubbard (Freshman)

Key Losses: Evan Roquemore, Jerry Brown, John McArthur, Julian Clarke (Transfer)

 

The Broncos were a David Stockton game winning layup away from upsetting Gonzaga in the WCC tournament and potentially tarnishing their NCAA tournament hopes. Can the Broncos’ build of this game and become a force to be reckoned with in the WCC?

Thankfully for Kerry Keating and company, he is returning a potent backcourt, which comprises of soon-to-be senior Brandon Clark and reigning WCC newcomer of the year Brandon Clark. The frontcourt takes a hit with the loss of Jerry Brown and John McArthur, which means Yannick Atanga and Nate Kratch will need to step up in their place.

A pair of freshmen guards – Stephen Edwards and Evan Wardlow – could compete for playing time their freshmen year, despite being amidst a crowded backcourt. Matt Hubbard will add depth to the Broncos frontcourt, while Kai Healy will do the same on the wing.

 

9.    Loyola Marymount

Record: 13-19 (4-14)

Place in Conf. Standings: 10

Key Returners: Chase Flint, Evan Payne, Gabe Levin, Nick Stover, C.J. Blackwell, Marin Mornar

Key Additions: Patson Siame (Redshirt), Devin Wyatt (Freshman), Marquis Godfrey (Freshman)

Key Losses: Anthony Ireland, Ben Dickinson (Transfer), Ayodeji Egbeyemi, Godwin Okonji, Alex Osbourne

 

The Lions are young, but the transition between head coaches could be devastating for them in 2014-2015.

Star point guard Anthony Ireland is gone, and LMU will need to search for his replacement. Chase Flint is the most likely candidate to take it. Evan Payne will fill the other guard position.

The LMU newcomers will have the best shot to contribute compared to any other team in the WCC because of the Lions lack of depth. Patson Siame could very well start in his first season of eligibility, and Devin Wyatt and Marquis Godfrey will most likely contribute in some form or another. Regardless of how it shakes out, these three players will see significant time for the Lions next season.

 

10. Pacific

Record: 18-16 (6-12)

Place in Conf. Standings: 9

Key Returners: Aaron Short, Gabriel Aguirre, David Taylor, T.J. Wallace

Key Additions: Dulani Robinson (JuCo), Eric Thompson Jr. (JuCo), Sami Eleraky (JuCo), D.J. Ursery (Freshman), Kaleb Warner (Freshman), Jacob Lampkin (Pacific), Raymond Bowles

Key Losses: Spencer Llewellyn (Transfer), Andrew Bock, Sama Taku, Trevin Harris, Tony Gill, Ross Rivera, Khalil Kelley, Tim Thomas

 

Pacific relied on a ton of seniors last season, and now the torch must be past.

Aaron Short and Gabriel Aguirre will do their best to take over for Tony Gill and Trevin Harris next season in the starting lineup. The chances of T.J. Wallace taking up one of the backcourt spots is pretty good, alongside most likely fellow sophomore David Taylor. Three Junior College transfer will help fill the void left by the exodus of seniors this offseason due to the graduation. Kaleb Warner and D.J. Ursery will most likely be looked upon to take on decent sized roles in their first season in the WCC. Jacob Lampkin will compete for a starting spot with Aguirre, Eric Thompson and Sami Eleraky.

 

 

 

Tags: Basketball Brigham Young Cougars College Basketball Gonzaga Bulldogs Loyola Marymount Lions Pacific Tigers Pepperdine Waves Portland Pilots Saint Mary's Gaels San Diego Toreros San Francisco Dons Santa Clara Broncos WCC

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