It’s a little odd to make this Discussions post this early, but… Why not? Someone asked us about why we would have any faith in Garrett Swanson, and shockingly… Because he’s one of the few returning forwards, rather than stretch guards, that actually saw playing time in the GNAC last year.
With this… Husky-isms. One of Don James’s biggest philosophies was that often times the biggest battle of the week occurred in practice against the Scout Team. This means that we’re going to take bench players from SPU, WWU, WOU, those sorts of schools, more seriously because they face better competition in practice.
It’s been said before: if SFU finishes last in conference and all of their starters leave, that means the guys that remain couldn’t beat the team that finished last in conference. Which means that for this list they’re not gonna get any consideration because SFU is going to be relying on dynamite transfers. Dynamite transfers are a real and very awesome thing in the GNAC -this isn’t the post for them, but we will say that we did specifically reserve them spots on our pre-season all conference teams.
With that, RETURNING PLAYERS of note:
Joe Slocum (UAF) -redshirted last year, started the year before that, surrounded by modest talent.
Brian McGill (UAA) -not a great returning cast, but with good transfers anything is possible.
Ricardo Maxwell/Harris Javier (WWU) -both started a lot, both had good moments, tend to veer on the side of Ricardo Maxwell but both saw a lot of minutes considering WWU only went seven deep.
Kyle Impero (WWU) -largely served as the 6th man last year but really played well late as he got comfortable at D2.
Trey Ingram (SMU) -young, but incredibly promising; love this kid.
Kendall Denham (MSUB) -again, young but very, very, promising, has great chemistry with Momir.
Gary Jacobs/Joey Roppo/Terry Dawn (CWU) -all had a number of good moments, CWU it’s about the whole team, their chemistry was just fantastic.
Julian Nichols (WOU) -our favorite returning guard in the conference.
Devon Alexander (WOU) -had a really great non-conference and then was comparatively silent in conference play.
Noticeably absent: SPU -no. No. No. NO. NNU -Mike Wright is a poor man’s Brendan Carroll and Brendan Carroll is nowhere to be found on this list. SFU -Michael Harper is middle of the pack and until we know what the Clan bring in to support him, it just doesn’t seem like he’ll have a very easy time showing his abilities. CU-PDX -??? Graduated everybody.
Garrett Swanson (SPU) -this is almost 100% because of his body. 6’6/230lbs of rock hard muscle. He is the opposite of the power
forward SPU had last year, and we don’t think he’ll be as good, but he still should be effective.
Mitch Penner (SPU) -Kid can play 1-4 competently, but is definitely best at small forward; can the Falcons keep him there?
Victor Ieronymides (SMU) -Ish. This may be us giving SMU the benefit of the doubt. Had good moments.
Momir Gataric (MSUB) -good chemistry with Kendall, good weight, 6’5/210ish? Very solid last year.
JOE STROUD (CWU) -our favorite returning power forward, cancer is gone, elite teamwork, let’s see it. Can’t wait.
Jordan Wiley (WOU) -had moments of quality.
ANDY AVGI (WOU) -our favorite returning small forward.
Noticeably absent: UAA -Christian Leckbend & Sjur Berg; just because Kalidou is gone doesn’t mean they get spots on this list. SFU -no one. WWU -no one. NNU; no one. CU-PDX; ???.
We were asked about why were looking forward to Andy & Garrett matching up and honestly it’s because they’re two of the biggest forwards on two of the most “known” teams (aside from WWU), and WWU merely returns a guard sized forward (6’6/200lb Jeff Parker) and then brings in a 6’8/220 frosh. It seems likely that WWU’s inevitably gonna end up sticking (C) Mac Johnson on Andy, which those two match up really, really, really well, but we’re not sure what Blake Bowen is gonna be able to do in the paint, so… could be very exploitable if WOU brings in a good supporting cast.
Why we’re curious about SPU using Garrett is that he’s one of the only forwards (and the only returning forward) that will actually be dealing with Andy because Andy is such a banger and most other teams will likely be sending in their respective centers. It’ll be interesting to see what the JuCo guys do and how the teams try and neutralize him. While every coach will tell you “We don’t game plan for one particular player, we play our game and they play theirs,” we have to call BS. If you don’t game plan to try and neutralize Andy, you’re asking for trouble; if you see Andy positively crushing a team, remember: the team didn’t plan to fail, they likely failed to plan.
D2 centers can be rare creatures and we actually really like both of those two a lot. Mac has decent footwork, has been proven to shoot the three, and should have a good supporting cast of guards if not forwards. Breaking in a couple of forwards could actually really work in making him a huge focal of the WWU offense, so if he can take the mantle things could look fantastic. Almir is another of our favorite guys and it really is going to depend on his supporting cast in a sense, because he can’t do it all himself. He had a number of super good games and we can’t wait to see his progress this year.
That’s pretty much who/what’s returning. Can’t wait to see what the transfers bring in. And remember returners: Ask not what your transfers can do for you, but what you can do for your transfers -we transferred into the GNAC once upon a time and the cultural adjustment was rough, so be nice.