Who Did It Better? Preseason All-WCC Team


With the release of the Preseason All-WCC Team yesterday, we now have the the official list to compare to our predictions from over the weekend. Overall we mostly agree with the official team. But the players we vary on can be traced back to coming at this prediction from very different places. Let’s investigate that a little bit.

We agree with eight of the ten selections, so most of the team. Our two differences are we have Jeremy Major of Pepperdine and Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga on the list where the conference has Thomas Van der Mars of Portland and Kyle Collinsworth of BYU. The first thing to note is you cannot argue with those picks. Collinsworth and Van der Mars are excellent players, and they were given serious consideration to make our list.

So why do we disagree? It seems to go back to our ability as editorial writers to speculate a little more than the coaches of the WCC can. Their list is established WCC talent all the way down the list. Every guy has either already established his dominance or is on the verge of doing so. It’s safe, predictable. And that’s what you’d expect from an official list. It’s hard to justify guys who haven’t proven themselves even if they have tons of talent.

Feb 27, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) dribbles the ball against Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Fred Thomas (1) in the first half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Mississippi State 85-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

That’s where we come in. The reason I have Major and Wiltjer on our list is projecting into the future. On paper it it does look off. Major was exellent last year as a freshman, but he didn’t have All-WCC numbers. Wiltjer has never really been a full-time starter at the collegiate level, not to mention he’s never played a minute of basketball in the West Coast Conference. If you’re going mainly based on past performance like the official voters are, neither has any business on the team.

But a lot can change during the season. Young players develop. New players make an immediate impact. And that’s what we expect out of Major and Wiltjer which is why they’re on our list. They may not be All-WCC players right now, but we expect them to be by the end of the season. Major’s numbers were stellar as a freshman, and he plays on a very talented young team. Wiltjer is a former top recruit with big game experience at Kentucky, and he immediately becomes one of the best forwards in the conference.

Because of that potential, we think they will end up All-WCC at the end of the year. And I probably would have put more speculative guys on that list like Evan Payne and Aaron Bright if it weren’t for the fact that the conference is so deep with talent this year. We agree on so many players with the WCC because there are a lot of great, established players already in the conference. No preseason list could be without Tyler Haws, Brad Waldow, Kevin Pangos, etc.

We just chose to put more speculative players on our list than the coaches, and that makes sense. It will be an interesting experiment to see who prevails: the all-chalk list full of obvious choices, or the speculative guys with a huge ceiling.