Returning Players We Cannot Wait to Watch!

Warning: Hyperbole and enthusiasm ahead.

This is our second year with the whole GNAC and there are so many guys we’re excited about. It’s basically this comfortably warm bubble filling up our insides because last year the list merely included guys from WWU, SPU, and MSUB but this year the list is much* more diverse.

Briefly:

Julian Nichols (WOU) -the pre-season premier guard in our conference. He was SO close to winning Player of the Year.
Andy Avgi? (WOU) -the favorite, ’cause football is the best AND he’s a very, very good basketball player.
Mitch Penner (SPU) -Killer SF, great leader, great energy, isn’t getting shoved to PG.
Mac Johnson (WWU) -The premier returning center. He really seemed to click late last year, so lots of potential.
Joe Stroud (CWU) -POWER FORWARDS ARE THE BEST.
John Erickson (CU-P) -Once upon a time played for UAA, now is at CU-P, so curious.

The list is smaller than anticipated largely because so many guys that would be up there, left: Ruben (UAF), Kalidou (UAA), Patrick Simon II (SFU), Joey Schreiber (WWU), Caleb Dressler (CWU), Erik Kinney (NNU), Alex Birketoft (NNU), and potentially Andy Avgi of WOU. Although, we fully support Andy playing football -he’s a Pete Carroll type of player, thus the benefits could be bigger than the GNAC. If Pete Carroll doesn’t see what we see… he may receive a strongly worded letter. Grrrrr. Woof, woof, woof. Arf?

There are also a number of guys left off that list because we’re just not sure about the pieces around them. Guys like Brian McGill (UAA), Almir (UAF), Michael Harper (SFU), Trey Ingram (SMU), Momir (MSUB), and Kendall Denham (MSUB).

Teams to be excited for:

Every. Single. One; it’s a new year of basketball! But specifically WWU because they return far more than anyone else. We actually can see that team and see what it’ll theoretically be like and they look great even without knowing the specific awesomeness the new guys are going to bring.

No one else really has a team coming back. UAF, SPU, CWU, CU-P, WOU all return plenty of pieces but none that really have that “wow” factor collectively. You could make a solid argument for CWU, but why wasn’t Dom off that team? You cannot tell us that if they had truly adequate scoring options he would have still been on it. Why? See: Western Washington saying “good-bye” to Jaamon Echols.

UAA suffers from higher expectations than UAF in any given year. SFU suffers from no expectations in any given year. MSUB suffers from no clue as for what to expect in any given year. SMU we love to death and back but three pieces returning with one not being a center… Yikes.

This is gonna be said over and over again, but: We really don’t know what to make of this coming year. It’s gonna be great, ’cause basketball, but the first eight weeks or so are going to be one steaming pile of puzzlement with a side of schedule reticence.

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