By Bobby Hinker,
In a conference that has been dominated by Gonzaga in recent years, it is no surprise that there will be many Bulldogs grazing this list. That does not mean the conference does not have talent elsewhere, with teams like BYU, San Francisco and Saint Mary’s set to be competitive for the upcoming year thanks to their top players.
1. Drew Timme, Gonzaga – With one of the most distinguished mustashes in America returning to college basketball for this next season, it is impossible not to put the big man at number one on this list. He earned first team all-conference honors last season as well as second team all american, as he averaged 19 ppg and 7.2 rebounds. He has some of the best footwork in the country, and although he may look funny, his game is no joke and he may even be in national player of the year consideration this year.
2. Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga – Holmgren is one of the most unique freshman we have seen in basketball in quite some time. I have done a lengthy scouting report on him here. He is seven feet tall but can handle the ball like a guard and stretch the floor. He and Timme make up the best frontcourt in college basketball in my opinion, and are set to be one of the best one-two big man punches we have seen in quite some time.
3. Alex Barcello, BYU – BYU was the only competition that Gonzaga saw in the WCC last year, and that was largely in part thanks to their star guard, Alex Barcello. He can light it up from beyond the arc both off the dribble and off he catch, shooting 47.7% from three. He also excels in the pick and roll, and enering his 5th season, Barcello will have even more confidence and could lead BYU to another tournament bid.
4. Eli Scott, Loyola Maramount –
If you recongnize this name, congratulations, you were also obsessed with watching the Ball brothers in high school. Eli Scott played along side the brothers and Onyeka Okongwu, and was the engine that kept Chino Hills attack going. He did, and still does, everything on the court. He averaged 18 8 and 3.6 last season and earned 1st team all-conference honors. He is one of the smartest and most patient players in the country, and used his 5th year of eligibility to come back and hopefully lead LMU to bigger and better things.
5. Andrew Nembhard, Gonzaga –
The unsung hero of the Gonzaga team that went undefeated in the regular season last year was Nembhard. He was named WCC sixth man of the year and second team all conference. With Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi going in the draft, Nembhard is thrust into the starting lineup where he will be expected to keep the offense going, which with weapons like Chet and Timme, should not be a problem.
6. Jamaree Bouyea, San Francisco –San Fran is an interesting team led by an interesting Coach. Todd Golden is heavily analytics based, and that was evident by his team leading the country in three point attempts per game. Jamaree was given the green light last year and averaged 17.3 points per game, and in his 5th year of eligibility, he looks to take a step forward and be the lead guard for San Francisco this year.
7. Josep Vrankic, Santa Clara – Vrankic nabbed first team honors last season, but this season is a prisoner of a stacked Gonzaga frontcourt and will likely fall to the second team. This is not to discount his game, as the forward can score inside and out, and also create for teammates. His team lacked three-point shooting last year, but brought in transfers to try to fill that void for this upcoming season. Expect Vrankic to be among league leaders in points and rebounds this upcoming season.
8. Caleb Lohner, BYU – Lohner’s hair rivals Drew Timme’s mustache for most recognizable feature in the conference. Lohner was productive as a freshman for BYU, but took a backseat to their center Isaac Haarms, but with him leaving, Lohner is set to take the next step forward after being a highly sought after recruit. He can stroke it from beyond the arc but also loves to mix it up down low and will compliment Alex Barcello perfectly.
9. Logan Johnson, St Marys –Brother of NBA guard Tyler Johnson, Logan returns to St Mary’s to prove that he is the real deal. He struggled shooting the ball last season, but looks to improve this season. He is an elite slasher and will look to help lead St Mary’s to a top half finish in the WCC
10. Rasir Bolton, Gonzaga – After playing at both Penn State, then Iowa State, Bolton is bringing his talents to the west coast to play in the backcourt alongside Nembhard. He filled it up on a subpar Cyclones team, but won’t be asked to do as much on a stacked Gonzaga roster. He should accel as one of the best spot up shooters in the conference, and play perfectly off of the Zags elite frontcourt.