Discussions: POWs of Non-Conference

Here’s a list of the Player-of-the-Week nominees we’ve had so far this year:

UAF: Bangaly Kaba, Travante Williams
UAA: Suki Wiggs, Diante Mitchell, Corey Hammell
SFU: JJ Pankratz
WWU: Kyle Impero
SPU: Bryce Leavitt, Mitch Penner, Gilles Dierickx
SMU:
MSUB: Jordan Perry
CWU: Gary Jacobs
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye
CU-P:
WOU: Devon Alexander, Andy Avgi, Alex Roth

Last year we questioned that guys that were having really good games week in and week out weren’t getting nominated because their teammates are having better games. This year, that’s not a problem and it’s making us ask a different question: Are our standards too ridiculous? Do they not work for the GNAC? We’re leaning on the side of “no,” but will look into it as we go into conference play.

Our winners have put up really standard numbers in terms of what we saw last year, so… totally possible, it’s not too hard to achieve, it’s that no one’s getting it consistently with the exception of Andy and Bryce. Our formula actually does take defense into account, so it’s not simply a matter of scoring.

Player-of-the-Week Winners, thus far:

UAA: Corey Hammell
SPU: Bryce Leavitt
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye
WOU: Andy Avgi

We’ve given the award out five times; Bryce has won twice, while Cory, Bouna, and Andy have won once each. We like the numbers they’ve put up; the fact that Bouna did in fact play two games during the week he won makes it even better because he hit numbers that put him right in the thick of the other POW winners, so it’s a true win by all accounts.


While we’re proud of those guys, we feel like that list is lacking.

Almir Hadzisehovic (UAF) is still playing a lot, just not playing particularly well. We get that Bangaly Kaba and Travante Williams are good, but that doesn’t inherently make Almir bad, so hopefully he’ll step up more now that conference play is starting.

Brian McGill (UAA) is no longer playing as far as we know. He remains on their roster, but isn’t in their team picture, can’t find anything about injury status, nothing saying “he’s coming back soon,” he’s just gone. We assume if he was participating in an extra curricular program it would be advertised as a GNAC athlete being more than a basketball player. Fact is -he’s a 5th year senior, so as much as we like him: Sometimes you’ve gotta just get a life and ideally that’s what he’s done. We’re hoping that he’s not MIA to deal with his own illness or the illness of a sick family member -if he is, in that case we hope he comes back really soon and everything works out.

Michael Harper (SFU) has a bad case of the turnovers, but is still around.

Mac Johnson (WWU) we have no idea what’s wrong with -he still plays a lot, he’s still 6’8 and 240lbs, but we have no idea where the Mac of the end of last year went and we keep thinking the old him is going to resurface and then it doesn’t.

Mitch Penner (SPU) isn’t taking the step up that we kind of anticipated and yet he’s kinda screwed because every team is just like “Let’s go after Mitch!” because it’s hard to go after Gilles, no one needs to go after Will Parker (he’s the new Lew Thomas), Bryce Leavitt is a point guard -he’s good whether he’s assisting, defending, or scoring; and people just bounce right off of 5th starter Garrett, so what are you going to do? Answer: Go after the ginger.

Trey Ingram (SMU) was our favorite frosh last year and he’s gone into a sophomore slump, so hopefully he’ll bounce back. Not too concerned with this one -it happens, he’ll get through it.

Momir Gataric (MSUB) is redshirting due to injury, which sort of sucks, and sort of is just as well. We’ll be glad to get him back next year and wish him the best in his rehabbing efforts.

Joe Stroud (CWU) is still playing but apparently it’s much harder when you actually have to shoot the ball and are being relied upon -he’s responded poorly so far, granted he’s played somewhere between four and six D2 games, so still plenty of season left.

Mike Wright (NNU) lost all of the people that made him look somewhat decent and so now he just looks like a mess. Yes, he could have stepped up, this theoretically was his team because Bouna was generally the 6th man last year, but… Mike needs to do more. Much more. Maybe during conference play.

Tyler Gutierrez (CU-P) is basically the only returning piece for CU-P and we know we named him as a POW nominee, but he’s not on the list above because he wouldn’t have been nominated if he were on any other team -it was us trying to include the Cavs, and now we’re kind of done. With that: Be adequate.

Julian Nichols (WOU) we really, really don’t know and it’s kind of making us mad to be perfectly honest. Dude is still playing, he’s just not playing well. He was one of our picks for potential player of the year because he had an amazing junior season and not much has really changed and yet he’s not playing well.

With some of that… We feel like writing it off until conference play is kind of weak, considering our conference looked so weak during non-conference. There are good teams, but we feel downright uncomfortable with UAA, WWU, and CWU because non-conference was such a wash and we feel like they’re good teams but they didn’t prove it during non-con and so we’re not sure what it’ll mean during conference play if/when they do win? It seems like it’ll be easy to give them hype and yet what’s the real substance behind that hype?

UAF there’s not as much expectation because they’ve been off for a few years, they’ve got what’s essentially a brand new team, low-pressure; SMU same thing; MSUB and NNU we’re just hoping they don’t drown. CU-Portland and SFU, we hope things remain somewhat humane.

WOU and SPU there’s some concern about upsets and we’ve said this repeatedly: Upsets aren’t a good thing for ANYONE including the teams upsetting them. The better SPU and WOU look the better for our conference as a whole, because they barely proved themselves in non-conference. Our non-con collectively looks much better because of how SPU schedules, never forget that.

When we look at the individual play of guys on other teams… It may just be a more down year on the west coast. Admittedly we really loved last year’s GNAC (shout-outs in particular to non-returners Kevin Rima, Anye Turner, Riley Stockton, Matt Borton, and Alex & Kalidou [no one blames you two for leaving] for helping make our first year of blogging ridiculously fun) and we know that those guys are all super amazing, but… There are amazing guys this year too -Bouna was an irrational favorite last year that’s become legitimate this year; Kyle Impero turned it up at the end of last year and is dominating this year; Bryce Leavitt came out of nowhere and we’re beyond thrilled with his play; Bangaly and Travante are both super fun; Andy we should constantly be in awe of Andy, but still kind of hold a grudge against him because of the second game against SPU last year -we’ll just be honest- even though we know it was Brendan’s fault that the Falcons lost, so… Irrationalities, but we can admit it. We love you Andy, we really do, promise.

So there are plenty of good guys, but there may be far fewer great guys than normal, and that could be making some of the would-be great guys merely look good. We wondered that regularly about Riley Carel’s stats -if they were in fact lower because he’d pass the ball and then the guy he was passing to would turn it over, so he’d skip passing and try and force something and it didn’t work out very well because while they had promising underclassmen, there’s a big difference between promising underclassmen and seasoned upperclassmen. Then again, with Riley -that was his own fault; could have stayed at SPU and been the starting SG on a team with Riley S. and Matt and Mitch, and Cory’s hook shot (Cory and his hook shot we’ve determined to be separate entities) but he decided he wanted to be the star. And that decision proves even more juxtaposed this year with Alex and Kalidou both having transferred to CBU.

Riley got to score a lot of points and be the go-to guy, but never even made the conference tournament. Alex and Kalidou are now playing on a team favored to win the Pac-West and that’s 100% in control of their own destiny regarding an at-large berth in the regional tournament, much less conference tournament.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go as a group.


In an hour we’ll check in with some of our favorite GNAC alums/former players now playing on non-GNAC teams.

Tomorrow and Wednesday we’ll be taking a look at what we currently know vs. want to know about each team/group of guys in our conference currently.

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