We have been looking at some of the very interesting projections Sports Illustrated has been running as they predict the upcoming season. Categories have included top freshmen, stats leaders, breakout scorers, and top high-usage scorers. The WCC has been prominently featured in all the projections, and the one we’re taking a look at today is no exception.
Transfers are big part of many teams, and SI has projected the top 100 transfers based on raw points per game. We already knew this was potentially a big year for transfers in the WCC, and that’s been confirmed by the projection. The list features 10 wcc players among the top 100 transfers ranging from 9th to 98th.
We will be breaking down the players based on each team and how we feel they fit into their team’s plans for the 2014-15 season. We will also take a look at who they are trying to replace as a number of WCC teams also lost transfers to other schools. And a number of those former WCC players made the top 100 list.
BYU picked up a couple solid transfers, but it may be canceled out by their major loss. Jamal Aytes is rated the #62 transfer coming from UNLV, and Chase Fischer is #81 coming from Wake Forest. But the Cougars also lost #3 transfer Matt Carlino to Marquette. Carlino is the highest ranked transfer on the list who is either leaving or entering the WCC.
Feb 20, 2014; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Matt Carlino (2) shoots against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second half at Marriott Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Carlino is very tough to replace as he was one of the best scorers in the WCC. But Fischer might actually go a long way to fixing that. Overall the Cougars have a lot of guard depth, and we saw it on display in their opening win against Long Beach State. Four of the five players to reach double figures in the win were guards including Fischer and reserves Skyler Halford and Anson Winder. Between them and having Tyler Haws and a healthy Kyle Collinsworth, the backcourt should be in good hands even without Carlino.
Fischer was a solid contributor at Wake Forest, but he saw his minutes drop as a sophomore which may have led to his transfer. He averaged single digit points both seasons, and his minutes dropped from 26.1 per game as a freshman to 14.2 as a sophomore. He probably wanted a chance to get more minutes, and he has good potential.
It showed in the Long Beach State win. Fischer played a key role after Collinsworth got into foul trouble, and was arguably the player of the game for the Cougars. Only Tyler Haws played more minutes, and Fischer filled the stat sheet with 17 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. Winder and Halford had big games, but it looks like Fischer might be the primary guard behind Haws and Collinsworth. And he justified that decision in the opener.
Jamal Aytes on the other hand is much more important in terms of depth, so his injury before the season could be huge. Aytes was supposed to fill the hole left by Eric Mika and help add depth to a weak frontcourt that doesn’t have much behind Nate Austin. So him having surgery and possibly missing the entire season is a major blow.
More from West Coast Convo
- Get Conference News, in the New FanSided Android App
- West Coast Convo Madness: Win $500 or an Apple TV from RetailMeNot and LockerDome
- FanSided Madness: Win $500 or an Apple TV from RetailMeNot and LockerDome
- Get Instant Conference News, in the New Sports Illustrated App
- Make sure a Conference fan is crowned Fan of the Year
Luke Worthington stepped in to replace him in the opener, but like Austin he doesn’t seem to be much of a scorer. Aytes likely would have taken that starting spot and been a key player for the inside scoring and defense of the Cougars, but they may have to wait until next year to have him. With the lack of depth in the frontcourt, the Cougars could have used a healthy Aytes much more than a healthy Fischer.
But on the plus side, it looks like they have plenty of depth outside of Haws and Collinsworth, and down low Austin and Worthington will be able to hold down the fort. It’s not ideal, but at the end of the day the Cougars will field a competitive squad despite the loss of Carlino. The Cougars should be right there in the thick of the WCC and postseason races.