Due to natural roster turnover and a team’s varying needs from each of their players in college basketball, certain players are forced to move from one position on the floor to another. While this can be a very difficult transition, there are a few players in the West Coast Conference who were able to adjust very well when making this change.
Previous position: Power Forward
2013-14 position: Small Forward
The combination of Cody Doolin‘s transfer and Kruize Pinkins entrance into the starting lineup in lieu of Tim Derksen caused Cole Dickerson to move from his natural power forward position over to small forward. And Dickerson’s combination of a big body with a terrific post game and his ability to step out and shoot it made him a nightmare matchup for most wing players in the WCC. While his rebounding numbers were a bit down, Dickerson proved that he could still be one of the best offensive weapons in the league, regardless of where he was playing on the floor.
2. Stephen Holt
Previous position: Shooting guard/wing
2013-14 position: Point Guard
After playing alongside Matthew Dellavedova for three years and Mickey McConnell for one, Stephen Holt was forced to play point guard this season despite never having played the position at the collegiate level. While replacing Dellavedova might seem like a daunting task, Holt had career highs in points, assists, 3 point percentage, free throw percentage, and assist-t0-turnover ratio as a senior. His 15.2 points per game and 3.9 assists per game are more than any Gael fan could have asked of him, and he is a big reason why Saint Mary’s was able to remain competitive in the West Coast Conference and make the 2nd round of the NIT despite losing the best 4 year player they’ve ever had in Dellavedova.
3. Matt Carlino
Previous position: Point Guard
2013-14 position: Shooting guard
With the return of Kyle Collinsworth after his LDS mission, Carlino was forced to move over to the shooting guard position while Kyle Collinsworth showed his ball handling skills that he really hadn’t gotten a chance to display playing alongside Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery as a freshman in 2010-11. Carlino’s shift to the shooting guard position and a reserve role to go with it did not stop him from scoring (as his average went up by over 2 points per game from 2012-13). And his assist totals remained high at about 4.3 per game, with a better than 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio, also a career high. While his inconsistency and shot selection always made him a frustrating player to watch, he should be applauded for the amount of sacrifice he made to allow Collinsworth to shine, and how he kept his head up and put up a very solid junior season.
4. Drew Barham
Previous position: Small Forward
2013-14 position: Power Forward
After playing backup small forward next to the greatest frontline in Gonzaga history in 2012-13, Barham had to slide over to the undersized power forward position after Kelly Olynyk left for the NBA, Elias Harris graduated, and Gonzaga missed out on some high-impact 5th year transfers such as Josh Davis (San Diego State) and Mike Moser (Oregon). But having learned from the hustle, energy, and rebounding of Mike Hart, Barham did an admirable job on defense and rebounding despite playing out of position. His 3 point shot was still very strong despite all of the wear and tear that came from bruising with bigger WCC front courts down low.
5. Gary Bell, Jr.
Previous position: Shooting Guard
2013-14 position: Small Forward/Wing
As a freshman, Bell played shooting guard while the small forward spot was left to players such as Mike Hart and Guy Landry Edi. But when those two players graduated in the Spring of 2013, Mark Few utilised a 3 guard lineup with David Stockton at point guard, Kevin Pangos at shooting guard, and Bell as the undersized small forward. While his role did not change much offensively because of this position shift (although his shooting percentages did improve from 2012-13), Bell remained on of the best defensive players in the WCC despite the fact that he had to guard bigger and stronger players.