Team Previews: SFU, CWU, WWU, SPU, WOU

Happy New Year, GNAC Family! Onward with the rest of the previews.

Simon Fraser

Guys to watch: Sango Niang, Michael Harper, Patrick Simon II, Roderick Evans-Taylor

Current Predicted Finish: 5th.

Watched in person: No.

Clan -HOW AWESOME ARE YOU?!? Who’s a good last place finisher, yes you are, yes you are!

The good:

  • Sango Niang -not only does he score, he’s unselfish too.
  • They’re sustaining their tempo and their fitness is noted.
  • Regardless as to whether it’s sustainable in conference, the Clan made awesome progress in non-conference.
  • Fun team to watch.

The bad:

  • What happens when a team decides to employ defense? No one’s been willing to take the Clan out of tempo thus far, but when it happens… hmmm.
  • No clue what’ll happen if Sango gets injured; it could destroy them.
  • Non-conference wasn’t as impressive as it theoretically should’ve been.

The ugly:

The Clan have taken on Western but they’re yet to see a team that plays their own game. They face Seattle Pacific next week and if the Falcons can and are willing to pull them out of tempo… their schtick may be up. Granted, WWU wasn’t disciplined enough to do that and while Seattle Pacific might be -not sure any other team would be willing.

Central Washington

Guys to watch: Dom Williams, Joseph Shroud, Caleb Dressler, Gary Jacobs, Terry Dawn, Marc Rodgers

Current predicted finish: Fourth

Watched in person: Yes.

Wildcats -where was this team last year when you actually had people? The amount of production you’re getting from brand new guys is nothing short of awesome.

The good:

  • The Wildcats get production from everyone, they’re so deep it’s almost scary.
  • Good home court advantage.
  • Started off conference play 2-0.
  • Coaching staff knows what they’re doing in regard to recruiting to CWU.
  • CWU has a lot of built in advantages -they’re tier two in terms of basketball schools in our conference, and by that: if someone isn’t good enough to go to Western, they end up at CWU instead which gets the Wildcats some hella good players as noted.

The bad:

  • A lack of discipline and unselfishness displayed by the team.
  • Poor shot selection by Dom Williams.
  • Caleb Dressler has got to shift his weight and do so now -255 isn’t inherently bad for a guy that’s 6’10, but the weight Caleb’s carrying is sloppy and doesn’t help the Wildcats at all. Probably the best method for this is to cut his calories (figure down to 2200 a day), drop the 15 pounds prior to February 1st, and then start packing on the protein. Transitional weight likely isn’t gonna work.

The ugly:

Tier two. Central teams are usually undisciplined. Dom’s shot selection has got to get better and they’ve got to start playing for each other rather than themselves. They see themselves as being in the upper echelon, even though the fact is they had a lot of nasty non-conference losses that are inexcusable for a team walking around with the swagger CWU thinks they’ve earned.

Western Washington

Guys to watch: Anye Turner, Jaamon Echols, Mac Johnson, Jeff Parker

Current predicted finish: Second/Third.

Watched in person: Yes.

Vikings -oh Vikings, how the mighty have fallen, but you did impressively not terribly against Tarleton State, which… the old you, that would’ve had upset special written all over it. Still… you can bounce back, right? Like you’re gonna win against Fairbanks this year. Please. Please win against Fairbanks.

The good:

  • They’re still Western, they’re still incredibly deep and a team that learns from prior occurrences.
  • Good guys.
  • Mac Johnson has serious potential -the game watched in person against San Bernardino State showed incredible promise. Really enjoyed his game.
  • Home court advantage at Carver.
  • Good coaching staff.

The bad:

  • They’re not where they were and received few challenges in non-conference play -most of their growth is going to have to come in conference.
  • Back-up center play -this seems to be a recurring theme. Blake Bowen isn’t terrible, but definitely needs some development. Luckily the coaching staff is good at game planning to each team in any given year, so they could be better off than many teams in this predicament.
  • They lost to SFU. In the WWU rule book, this is something that should never happen.

The ugly:

Lack of discipline against teams. This team likes to score and they do okay, but it doesn’t sustain them. What separates good teams from great is an ability to clamp down on defense and so far, this WWU team hasn’t been willing to do that.

Seattle Pacific

Guys to watch: Cory Hutsen, Riley Stockton, Matt Borton, Mitch Penner.

Current predicted finish: First.

Watched in person: Yes.

Falcons -Do or do not, there is no try.

The good:

  • They finally have a solid starting line-up.
  • Shawn Reid had a great breakout game, but didn’t do anything the following.
  • They had some nice non-conference wins.
  • Their back-up center play is starting to improve.

The bad:

  • They lost to Central, which… reasons. Hmmm.
  • Scoring is an issue.
  • They had a couple of not good losses during non-conference and it’s a one bid league; the Falcons could win the conference and then still not go to the tournament. That wasn’t a possibility they had to deal with last year.

The ugly:

If Cory Hutsen goes down, they’re screwed. He’s finally learned to let his forwards pick up the fouls and his notoriously bad free throw shooting has improved a lot. After waiting four years for this, SPU’s finally in a place where they can’t live without him but will he be able to handle that?

Western Oregon

Guys to watch: Julian Nichols, Andy Avgi, Jordan Wiley

Current Predicted Finish: Second/Third.

Watched in person: No.

The good:

  • They returned a lot and those guys have been as advertised.
  • They had some nice wins during non-conference and are the only GNAC team to come out on top against the Pac-West.
  • Julian Nichols has been a nice x-factor for them.
  • They got a lot of experience in beating everyone last year and they really are putting it together, which is great.
  • This team is one that should get better and better as the season goes on, and since they started better than they did last year, they should end up better, which is fantastic.

The bad:

  • Our conference isn’t going to do them any favors.
  • Their loss to PLNU looms large.
  • They need consistency.

The ugly:

Surprisingly… Nothing. They’re not as good as their position makes them out to be, but they’re also not bad in any sense of the word.

Predictions for tonight’s games should be up soon.


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