Hoooooooly goodness, that Hawks game. While you continue to recover from your heart attack, why not read about some GNAC men’s hoops?
WWU 84 @ UAA 87
Both teams fought hard. It was a close game almost the whole time. There were a few points that UAA would walk up, but WWU didn’t let them get away with it for long. Both teams were great on free throws -shooting above 85%, which is awesome. Really good game, although we were kind of sad that Tony Dominguez’s strategy was also to let Suki shoot until the moose came home. It worked just fine, but again: We want to see a team get Suki in foul trouble, because letting him shoot all day long will only go so far.
Viking highlights: Kyle Impero had 24 points and nine boards; Ricardo Maxwell had nine assists; Jeffrey Harris had 21 points; Mac Johnson grabbed seven boards; and off the bench Colby Mitchell chipped in 10 points. Really no bench play from the Vikings, which ultimately likely did them in.
Seawolf highlights: Suki had six assists; Diante Mitchell had 16 points; Spencer Svejcar had a great game with 18 points and five assists. Off the bench Christian Leckband added eight points and six boards; and Brian McGill continues to adjust back in, adding 14 points, five boards, and five assists off the bench. Awesome.
It was good see Kyle Impero get back in his groove and we still keep crossing our fingers regarding Mac. While we miss Brian McGill starting, all in good time. Fun game from both teams.
MSUB 75 @ CWU 87
Solid game. MSUB stayed in it. We’re really beyond frustrated with the Yellowjackets right now, but that’s another matter. They get to head up to Alaska this week, so that’ll be “fun.” Playing in Alaska is brutal, 100% guaranteed.
Yellowjacket highlights: KENDALL IS STARTING AGAIN!!!!!!!! And he picked up 11 points and five assists. Other than that: Jordan Perry had 10 points; Sven Jeuschede (pronounced like a sneeze) had eight boards; Emmanuel Olufemi had six boards; and off the bench Emmanuel Johnson had 11 points.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 19 points; Gary Jacobs had 16 points and eight boards; Joe Stroud had 14 points and 10 boards; Drake Rademacher had 12 points; and Devin Matthews had 14 points and five boards. Minimal bench play.
The lack of benches is concerning, but we’ll let these two teams worry about it. It’s an odd switch considering last year CWU played essentially two full lines and we liked both of them with the exception of one person.
SPU 91 @ CU-PDX 63
The home teams would have gotten the sweep if not for this game. This game… 50/50 on whether or not to term it a mess. It sort of was considering the Falcons had 21 turnovers, but… Again: Teams do stupid things when they’re up by a lot and so we’re still not sure what side of the argument we fall on.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had 11 points and five boards; Brendan Carroll had five assists; Gilles Dierickx had 16 points and six boards; Mitch Penner had a whopping 30 points, five boards, and four assists; and off the bench Coleman Wooten had 10 points on perfect shooting.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had 24 points, five boards, and a full house; Tyler Gutierrez had 14 points. Off the bench Davis Nuami had five points; and Riley Hawken had 10 points.
CU-Portland has been looking better and SPU had been looking worse so it seemed like the game had potential, and… technically it did. While it was never really in doubt, the Falcons had 21 turnovers, so the fact that CU-PDX couldn’t make something happen when they were being given that to work with -next time, do it Cavs!
SFU 56 @ UAF 73
Yet another mess. If a guy scores a bunch of points and yet you don’t see his name, it’s because he had an abomination of a shooting percentage that negates all of the points he scored. Make. Smart. Choices. That goes for every player on every team, not just these two.
Clan highlights: Hidde Vos had 9 points and five boards; Gibran Sewani had 10 points; and Graham Smith had seven points off the bench.
Nanook highlights: Bangaly had 12 points; TRAVANTE WILLIAMS had 21 points, FIFTEEN boards, EIGHT assists, and rounded it out for a full house; ALMIR had 15 points, eight boards, and a full house. Off the bench Zach Pedersen had 10 points; John Renfro had five points; and Isaac Ladines didn’t have much of anything but he had something of everything with a full house.
Clan… Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The Nooks got it done, and that’s what matters -right?
SMU 61 @ WOU 74
Match-up of the old travel partners. Saint Martin’s disappointed again. They were only down five at the half and then it ended up like this. We’re so sick of their lack of fundamentals -it’s a really, really ugly form of basketball to watch, especially when they have such great moments to contrast it with. It would be one thing if they just played terribly and that was that; it’s that they tease, they play well, they play well, they collapse and you bury your face in your hands because it’s just embarrassing to the GNAC itself. And this was on Root. Ugh. Whatever. No one has cable any more, right? No one was watching it.
Saints highlights: Rhett Baerlocher had 12 points; Cole Preston had six boards and five assists. Off the bench Jordan Kitchen had nine points; and Brandon Kenilvort had 13 points.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had five boards; Alex Roth had 10 points; Jordan Wiley had 16 points and seven boards; Andy Avgi had 24 points. Off the bench: Kadeem Strickland had six points; and Tanner Omlid had four boards.
It was a woofer of a game, but again: The Wolves got it done. It would be easy to go “oh well they were exhausted from the SPU game on Thursday,” but if anything that should have had them mad. The Falcons never led during that game and yet still pushed it to over time. Aggravating.
An interesting if not irritating weekend of basketball. We’re still trying to make heads or tails of the WOU/SPU game. MSUB takes on Anchorage on Tuesday, so we’ll see about that.
Should there have been a post yesterday? Maybe. Probably. But a minor concussion got in the way of it, so… That was exciting and terrifying; if our posts this week seem a little off, that’s why.
On the agenda for today: The first Cenazar game, the MSUB/Carroll game, neutralizing Suki, rankings, and power rankings.
Central Washington 98 @ Northwest Nazarene 72
We’d say this was expected, but at this point no result is expected. While we knew the Wildcats were more than capable of doing it, at the same time we knew that NNU is totally capable of keeping it close, if not winning, so what on the surface feels like an obvious result actually isn’t.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had nine points; Gary Jacobs had 18 points and five boards; Joe Stroud had 16 points, six boards, and a full house; Devin Matthews had 13 points and five assists. Off the bench Naim Ladd had 15 points in fourteen minutes; Drake Rademacher had eight points; Jerome Bryant had seven points and five boards; and Desmond Ross had five points.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had 17 points and eight boards; Bouna had 14 points and nine boards. Off the bench Nikola Prvulj had 12 points; Leoor Konenkov had six points; and Marko Lepovic had five points.
Overall a pretty typical story; it went back and forth for a while and then CWU put it away and won convincingly.
We’ll be brief: Billings lost to Carroll by 13 playing their usual guys their usual minutes. Carroll is a really good NAIA team that only has one loss to a fellow NAIA school and is currently undefeated in three conference games.
That being said: WHAT THE HECK, BILLINGS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU JUST DID TO ANY CREDIBILITY WE WERE HOPING TO HAVE?! Granted Carroll is contemplating a move to D2 and so we kind of assume that’s how they’re recruiting -we haven’t heard the latest in that regard- but we’d love to have them in our conference. The deadline to submit an NCAA application for the year is February 1st, so… If they are, we’ll hear something soon.
We got to see Suki game planned for, for the first time in-conference. We’ll get more chances in the coming weeks -we’re really excited to see what Jamie Stevens, Jim Shaw does, and what Tony Dominguez does. There are a lot of great coaches in our conference, but those guys have the player personnel to actually accomplish what they want, theoretically, so we look it as a mark on them as for what their teams do against him. It sounds kind of ridiculous to discuss game planning for a player -ideally you play your game and they play theirs- but Suki is so much the focus of that offense that it would be stupid not to contemplate the dos and don’ts in regard to Anchorage.
This past week we got to see what Ryan Looney did and his strategy of letting Suki do what he wanted and then have his guys avoid fouling him at all costs was brilliant. Suki goes to the line WAY too much and he takes so many shots but usually only shoots like 35%. The Falcons are known for being a team that’s incredibly good defensively. If the Falcons hadn’t choked in regard to rebounding (among other things) it would have been fine. We liked the strategy, but because it’s what we probably would have done, we’re really interested to see what the other coaches come up with.
7. Cal Poly Pomona -lost to UCSD. Dropped two spots. Seems fair.
10. Cal Baptist -Didn’t play, but moved up due to the losses of other teams.
14. Western Oregon -Lost to CWU. Dropped 11 spots. Sadly they likely fell this far because of the conference chaos that happened; it would be one thing to drop a game and have SPU beat the Alaska schools convincingly; it’s entirely different to have them get swept. SOS matters and WOU didn’t have too much of it as it was, and now their opponent that does have some form of it got beat twice.
17. UC San Diego -Beat CPP, lost to Humboldt State; dropped four spots. The four spots feels right, but at the same time… CPP is still ranked so highly. It’s likely on some level reverberating because WOU lost to CWU and SPU lost to the Alaska schools. It’s all SOS. It’s all connected, particularly in regard to the west region.
20. Chico State -WHY IS CHICO STATE STILL RANKED?!?!?! Their schedule doesn’t have ANYTHING on it, except a loss to Seattle Pacific. Put Humboldt in this spot, if nothing else.
24. Seattle Pacific -Lost to UAA & UAF. We’re honestly really shocked they’re still ranked.
Others receiving votes: Azusa Pacific (8), Humboldt State (5), Alaska-Fairbanks (3), Alaska-Anchorage (2). Humboldt should be ranked; Chico State should merely be receiving votes; Azusa Pacific 50/50; We’re not sure why CU-Irvine isn’t getting any votes at all; and then the Alaska schools are benefitting from the Falcon Effect.
This week we feel the need to do a power ranking.
1. Alaska Anchorage. Beat Seattle Pacific, somewhat convincing win at SMU.
2. Alaska Fairbanks. Again, beat Seattle Pacific, survived SMU.
3. Central Washington. Beat Western Oregon, avoided the upset against Concordia-Portland. Their near loss is why they’re so low.
4. MSU-Billings. Good wins over SFU & WWU; succeeded in playing their own game. This doesn’t take the Carroll game into account.
5. CU-Portland. Got their first conference win against NNU, almost got a win at CWU, good place to be. Lots of hope.
6. Western Oregon. Picked up a loss at CWU, but killed NNU. Upsets were going to happen, we knew that, it’s not the biggest deal. They don’t have something to be really excited about from this last weekend, but spiraling isn’t a concern because it was just one game. Totally fine.
7. Simon Fraser. Mainly because it’s hard for this fanbase to spiral downward because there really are no expectations what-so-ever. Kinda neutral.
8. Saint Martin’s. The way they lost these games is wholly unacceptable for any program. The lack of fundamentals and effort was disturbing. Why are these guys playing college basketball at all? The fact that they don’t want to was clearly on display particularly against Anchorage. They had every chance to win that game and they didn’t.
9. Northwest Nazarene. How many expectations can you really have and yet… They’ve shown flashes of brilliance and they stay with teams for a full half before getting blown out, so if they know they can do that, how do they let themselves get blown out?
10. Western Washington. This is Tony Dominguez’s third year with his own guys and he’s still not contending for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. The play of the guys was uninspired and we just don’t know what to do with this team.
11. Seattle Pacific. They know what we think. They know what we know. It is what it is. This is where they belong.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow morning at the usual time.
…………. What a ride. Holy guacamole. With WOU and SPU losing, the instinct is to overreact to everything and question ourselves, but… We’re not quite ready to do that. We knew upsets would happen. Did we think it would be the first week? No. But the west coast as a whole is seemingly full of parity, so… Whether it’s the sky or merely confetti falling in your world today: Take a deep breath. It’s one game. There are miles to go before we sleep.
Simon Fraser 83 @ MSU-Billings 94
Proud of both teams. SFU was leading for a good long while before the Yellowjackets got serious and put the Clan away. Honestly, a fairly ugly game on behalf of Simon Fraser, but in that we’re ridiculously excited about Billings. Billings played their own game, kept their course, and pulled out a nice ‘W.’
Clan highlights: Oshea Gairey had nine boards; Max Barkeley had four boards, four assists, and five fouls; Michael Harper went 10/10 from the line, grabbed eight boards, and finished with 21 points; JJ Pankratz had 11 points and eight boards.
Yellowjacket highlights: Marc Matthews had 27 points and two steals; Emmanuel Johnson had six boards; Jace Anderson went 7-7 from the line, had six boards, six assists, two steals, and finished with 18 points. Off the bench Preston Beverley had nine boards and 13 points; and Kendall Denham had 12 points.
Alaska-Fairbanks 79 @ Saint Martin’s 72
Interesting game. Fairbanks was blowing the Saints out for a good long while before SMU got back in it and then ultimately the game ended in fouling. Really great job by the Nanooks for getting their first win off the tundra, but great effort by SMU.
Nook highlights: Bangaly Kaba had 11 boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum went 6-6 from the line, had 10 boards, and finished with 18 points for the double-double; Brandon Davis went 7-7 from the line, grabbed six boards, and finished with 22 points. The Nooks had just 11 turnovers, and put up a monster rebounding performance grabbing 46, although admittedly it was a high rebounding game; the Saints grabbed 40 themselves.
Saint highlights: Cole Preston had six assists and 12 points; Tyler Copp had 15 points; Fred Jorg had 11 boards and 10 points. The Saints as noted grabbed 40 boards overall, and then also had a remarkably low number of turnovers with a mere eight.
Really excited to watch both teams play more. All of the guys showed great promise. Joe Slocum finally started functioning again and then we want to see Fred Jorg progress. Right now Fred is a massive turnover liability, but he has the potential to do well on this level.
Alaska Anchorage 61, Seattle Pacific 59
We knew this game would be close. We thought the Falcons would pull it out, but are ultimately very pleased with the Seawolves for getting a win off the tundra and potentially making a statement.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs grabbed 10 boards; Corey Hammell grabbed seven. Off the bench BRIAN MCGILL finished wtih 11 points in thirty minutes of fantastic play. We’re so glad to have Brian back, can’t express that enough.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had nine boards, four assists, and eight points; Gilles Dierickx had 16 points; Mitch Penner had six boards; Garrett Swanson also had six boards. Off the bench Nathan Streufert had four boards off the bench. Honestly this was a really ugly game, to the point that we’re walking away from how the Falcons were playing because it was that bad.
Overall the Seawolves held the Falcons to 19% from three and 33% from the field, which is amazing. It was a defensive grind it out and we could not be more proud of UAA. They’re going to head into Saint Martin’s all fired up and we’d say we expect them to win by a lot, but this conference has already proven that the vast majority of games are going to be ‘pick’ems’ which is just as well. It makes for tons of fun basketball.
Western Oregon 77 @ Central Washington 81
Unexpected, but definitely not a bad thing. Team Chaos. We weren’t on it, and now we’re bandwagoners and have no shame. More chaos, more fun. The Wildcats made some very, very smart plays, gutted and gritted it out and ultimately got it done. Ridiculously proud of them.
Wolf highlights: Devon Alexander had eight boards and four assists; Alex Roth had 12 points; JULIAN NICHOLS had 29 points; Andy Avgi had 16 points. Off the bench Tanner Omlid had four steals. Much like the SPU game, this was ugly. We’re thrilled to see Julian Nichols playing like we know he can, but… This was vomit inducing.
Wildcat highlights: Joey Roppo had 15 points; Terry Dawn had five boards; Gary Jacobs had five boards; Joe Stroud had seven boards, four assists, and 11 points; and Devin Matthews had five boards. Off the bench Naim Ladd had four boards and 17 points; Drake Rademacher had a good night picking up 15 points on good shooting; Desmond Ross grabbed four boards and picked up 10 points.
Thrilled with the Wildcat performance, it’s one game, it could propel them to more. They shouldn’t have any issues with CU-PDX, so that’ll be good. Great performances in particular from the guys off the bench. At one point we thought Naim was going to get trampled, but he lives, so that’s good.
Concordia-Portland 87 @ Northwest Nazarene 83 in OT
Really exciting game to watch, it was a great way to spend NYE. Great to see Concordia get their first conference win and see their guys actually step into their new roles as D2 basketball players.
Cavalier highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards and 30 points; Jarrett Gray had five boards, five assists, and 13 points; Tyler Gutierrez had seven boards. Off the bench Taylor Harris had five boards and five points; Riley Hawken had 13 boards and 12 points for the double-double. The team as a whole picked up -50- count ’em fifty, boards.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had 10 boards; Bouna N’Diaye had five boards; Detwon Rogers had seven boards and 22 points; Mike Wright made 9-10 free throws. Off the bench Pol Olivier had six assists and eight points; while Kyle Bailey had six points and five fouls -you do you, big guy.
Reality says it was an ugly game; both teams had a crazy number of turnovers, but it was progress on both ends -particularly for the Cavs. We’ve been really excited for them to join our conference for a while now -Fall of 2013 was when we learned that they were and we thought it would be great; we had fun being out in Branson, MO with them last year, and we’ll see what they do. This win obviously doesn’t mean a ton, but it’s progress and progress is good.
It feels like we already have stuff to discuss, but the fact is: It was one day of basketball. Instinct is to praise the Wildcats and Seawolves like crazy and the nice thing would be to tell the Wolves and Falcons that it was merely one game. The reality is that the Wildcats and Seawolves need to look at it like “it was one game” and know that they still have a lot to do. With the Falcons and Wolves, it’s gut check time. It just is. It was some really, really, really nasty basketball, to the point that we didn’t single anyone out not because the numbers weren’t there for us to do just that, but because it’s beyond that. Usually we’re yellers, but those two games cause silence; there’s literally nothing we have any desire to say.
Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11ish.
Happy New Year, blog! Thanks for bringing us so much joy throughout 2015 -we look forward to tons more during 2016.
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
MSUB: Jordan Perry
CWU: Gary Jacobs
NNU: Bouna N’Diaye
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.
Wow. So much bad shooting. It’s not even that there was a ton of really, really good defense. Just lots of bad shooting.
Central Washington 71 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 82
Seawolf uses blizzard. It’s super effective. The Wildcat is frozen and cannot move. Come back Seawolf, you’ve done your job. Polarbear uses ice storm. It’s a critical hit. The wildcat is frozen and cannot shoot. All humor aside: Gary Jacobs went 2-20. Terry Dawn went 6 for 16. Devin Matthews went 1-7. Naim Ladd went 2-9. WHAT THE HECK?!? Guys will shoot as long as coaches allow it, so we’ll lay the blame squarely on Greg Sparling for this one. Yikes.
CWU highlights: Terry Dawn had 13 boards; Gary Jacobs had 7 boards; Drake Rademacher had nine boards; Devin Matthews had seven boards and five assists. Off the bench Joe Stroud had seven boards and seven points.
Nanook highlights: Alex Duncan had five boards; Bangaly Kaba bounced back and had seven boards, two assists, three streals, two blocks, ZERO turnovers, and two fouls, along with 17 points for a solid full house; Trevante Williams had seven boards, two assists, seven steals, four blocks, one foul, and nineteen points -another great outing, good to see him bounce back as well. Off the bench Neal Chavez had six boards; Zach Pedersen had 13 points; Brandon Davis had 10 points.
There were a whopping 109 rebounds grabbed in this game because the teams shot an average of 35% from the field. Yikes. We love rebounding, but not if it’s simply because no shots are following. Yeesh.
Northwest Nazarene 78 @ Alaska-Anchorage 90
This is why you play forty-full minutes. UAA was killing the Crusaders but with five minutes left the Crusaders turned it on, were within six or so, and then UAA decided to function again and the difference is as such. Still, huge effort and great advancement on the part of the Crusaders. We see it. We’re proud of you.
Crusader highlights: Joel Devastey had a full house with six boards, one assist, one steal, one block, ZERO turnovers, four fouls, and fifteen points; Bouna N’Diaye had 17 points and five fouls; Pol Olivier had 24 points and five boards. Off the bench Gonzo Santana and Nikola Prvulj grabbed four boards a piece, with Nikola also picking up four assists.
Seawolf highlights: Suki Wiggs had 10 boards, seven assists, two steals, and went 9-12 on free throws; Diante Mitchell went 9-12 from the field and walked away with four boards, four assists, and 24 points; Spencer Svejcar finished with 12 points; Tayler Thompson grabbed five baords; Corey Hammell had a great game with 17 boards, three assists, and 17 points -huge, way to go Corey. Off the bench Christian Leckbend added 10 points.
Really not a bad game for either team. One of the better shooting games of the night. No super bad numbers outside of NNU’s Nikola going 0-5. Really like what we’re seeing out of Christian Leckbend -remember Christian, it’s not who starts games, but who finishes them, congrats on being a heck of a 6th man.
Saint Martin’s 73 @ SFU 66
Let’s just say this: it was a total and complete mess. Right now we’re really loving SMU so we’re going to say it was a matter of playing down to their competition, but holy human waste, yikes. The biggest highlight was the free throw shooting; SMU shot 75% while SFU shot 95%. The rest of the shooting? Not so hot.
SMU highlights: Jordan Kitchen had nine boards; Fred Jorg had 11 boards and 13 points. Off the bench Trey Ingram had 11 points; Brandon Kenilvort had 15 points.
SFU highlights: Oshea Gairey had 12 points; Max Barkeley had 26 points; Michael Harper had 16 points and six boards; JJ Pankratz had eight boards and three assists. Pretty much it.
Disappointing game. We were thinking SMU was going to be excited to get a big win after a close loss to WWU, but that didn’t happen. While you may be tempted to say it’s because SFU had a good game… No. The shooting doesn’t signify a good game and the fact that both teams still reached in the realm of 70 says defense wasn’t the focal point. Still, a road win is a road win so keep doin’ work Saints.
MSU-Billings 69 @ Western Oregon 91
Not a close game. Not many highlights for MSUB. We were crossing our fingers for progress, but… turns out the light at the end of the tunnel that was demolishing CU-PDX in the first half, was simply the oncoming train that is WOU. Choo choo Wolves.
MSUB highlights: Jace Anderson had 15 points. Off the bench Preston Beverely had 13 boards and 19 points; Kendall Denham had 10 points. Yup. Welcome to playing WOU.
WOU highlights: Devon Alexander had 11 boards, two assists, three steals, and 19 points; Julian Nichols had seven boards, seven assists, three fouls, and nine points; Andy Avgi had 27 points, four boards, and one of everything else for the full house. Off the bench Kadeem Strickland had eight points; Tanner Omlid had six boards, three steals, two blocks, and 19 points.
MSUB used a really short line up; the wolves went deep. Everything happened as expected, if as not hoped for. Congrats Wolves.
Seattle Pacific 83 @ Western Washington 64
Some decent numbers. Nothing great, nothing really horrible. It’s hard to say this went as expected, but… Not too much color commentary can be done on this one because when these teams play each other you simply never know what’ll happen. We have no idea what to do with the Vikings. We’ve been trying to figure them out and we have one more game before we have to do our post non-conference reflecting to figure things out.
Falcon highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five boards, six assists, two steals, and 11 points; Gilles Dierickx had a double double with 10 boards and 14 points; Mitch Penner had five boards, five assists, and 17 points. Off the bench Brendan Carroll had 15 points on good shooting; Joe Rasmussen picked up four boards and 10 points in a mere eight minutes; Nathan Streufert had three blocks.
Viking highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had 18 points; Kyle Impero had five boards and 13 points; Colby Mitchell had eight boards; Jeff Parker had 13 points. Off the bench Brett Kingma had eight points. Pretty much it.
Both teams had very few turnovers, which is good. It’s hard to say what this game truly means. All of the major players from both teams use saw good minutes.
No games this week because of finals. Tomorrow the usual Player-of-the-Week stuff, then Tuesday will probably be a dead day, Wednesday discussions, Thursday maybe we’ll try to dig up some shenanigans, and Friday’ll be game previews for the next round of non-conference.
Happy 1st night of Hanukkah.
Up super late, yes, yes, it sucks, but… Birthday shenanigans. Somehow, sometimes a life outside of basketball exists. Most of the time it doesn’t, but occasionally it does.
Seattle Pacific 89 @ Simon Fraser 55
Can’t spell slaughter without laughter? Sure. Not much to be said about this game, so on with the highlights.
SPU highlights: Bryce Leavitt had a low-key game for himself grabbing eight boards, five assists, and 10 points in a quick 26 minutes; Will Parker had five assists; Gilles Dierickx had six boards and seven points; Mitch Penner had six boards, three assists, and 13 points; Garrett Swanson had four boards, two assists, two steals, and fifteen points. Off the bench Sam Simpson had five points; Brendan Carroll had eight points; Joe Rasmussen had a huge night (for him) with five boards and 18 points. Good to see the Falcons use the entirety of their bench.
SFU highlights: Oshea Gairey had four steals; Max Barkeley shot 80% on 10 free throws; Michael Harper had eight points. Really no highlights aside from the free throws because although there were points scored, all of the shooting was so bad (30% from the field, 18% from beyond the arc) that it was negated. Good job SPU defense.
Overall what really is there to be said? Congrats SPU.
MSUB 76 @ Concordia 59
Don’t let the score fool you -this game was close for a long time before MSUB pulled away in the second half. Lots of really good numbers, good win for MSUB to get, although something tells us their coaching staff would disagree. Still, really good defensive effort for the Yellowjackets. Good rebounding by both teams, but MSUB definitely got the best of it finishing with a huge 52 boards.
MSUB highlights: Emmanuel Johnson had a full house with nine boards, one assist, two steals, a block, two fouls, and six points; Jace Anderson had 13 points; Jordan Perry had nine boards and four steals. Off the bench: Kendall Denham had 13 points; and Cade Alcorn had a whopping 13 boards and 12 points.
CU-PDX highlights: Drew Martin had eight boards; Riley Hawken had a full house with six boards, two assists, a steal, a block, three fouls, and 14 points; Tyler Gutierrez had five boards, three assists, and nine points. Off the bench John Erickson had eight points; and Taylor Harris had four boards.
Not the best game for anyone involved but we’re super proud of MSUB for getting it done and look forward to seeing them make some progress against WOU tomorrow.
Saint Martin’s 68, Western Washington 71
This was a really, really, really good game. Maybe the biggest highlight was finally watching Fred Jorg play in person and he is 100% the real deal. That’ll be part of our discussions post on Wednesday. This game was back and forth 100%, SMU did put themselves in a position to win it at the end and just couldn’t get it done. WWU finally started rebounding, which was great because they weren’t shooting well -SMU was playing some amazing defense. This turned out to be the game of the night, so… Exciting stuff.
SMU highlights: Cole Preston had five boards, six points, and 12 points; Jordan Kitchen was a monster with six blocks; Tyler Copp had four assists and nine points; Fred Jorg had 12 points, six boards, and two assists. Off the bench Isaac Bianchini had nine points; and Michael Painer also chipped in nine points.
WWU highlights: Ricardo Maxwell played a full forty minutes and grabbed five boards, four assists, and 12 points; Kyle Impero played 38 minutes grabbing nine boards, three steals, and 16 points; Colby Mitchell had nine boards and nine points; Jeff Parker had eight boards, two assists, one steal, and fourteen points; Mac Johnson had 11 points. Off the bench Harris Javier chipped in six points, but the bench really didn’t do much besides relieve the starters.
So glad to see that rebounding number from WWU, ridiculously proud of them. SMU, there really isn’t anything bad to say. WWU shot really poorly, SMU shot really well, so… Good defense. SMU’s defense is impressive. WWU, keep grinding.
Northwest Nazarene 72 @ Alaska-Fairbanks 77
Grind it out close game. The Nooks should be worried. The Crusaders should be proud considering they’ve looked like a mess but went onto the tundra and almost got the win. Very, very back and forth game with some questionable free throw shooting. Make your free throws.
NNU highlights: Joel Devastey had nine boards; Bouna N’Diaye had six boards; Detwon Rogers had 11 boards and 25 points although a terrible six turnovers; Mike Wright had eight assists, four steals, a block, four fouls, and 16 points for the full house, BUT he had five turnovers. This entire team had more turnovers than a bake sale and had they not, then likely would have won. Even with all of those turnovers they almost did.
UAF highlights: Alex Duncan had three steals; Bangaly Kaba had six boards, four assists, and nine points; Joe Slocum had three steals; Travante Williams had 12 boards, two assists, four steals, and 21 points; Almir had nine boards and 17 points. Off the bench Isaac Ladines had 17 points.
Decent game for both teams. Proud of NNU for staying in it when we’d completely written them off. Practice makes progress, they’re heading into the ragingly hot UAA and it’s going to be a battle, but now we’ve seen they’ll at least show up.
Central Washington 65 @ Alaska-Anchorage 93
So much for game of the night. No, we’ve been questioning CWU all year because their non-conference did nothing to improve them. UAA, on the other hand had a good non-conference schedule even if it didn’t help the collective conference much.
CWU highlights: Joey Roppo had 12 points; Gary Jacobs had 10; Joe Stroud had nine boards, four steals, and 14 points; Devin Matthews had seven boards and nine points. CWU got nothing from their bench. UAA shut them down mercilessly.
UAA highlights: Suki Wiggs had five boards and 21 points; Diante Mitchell had six assists and 17 points; COREY HAMMELL had 13 boards and 19 points. Off the bench: Christian Leckband had five boards and 11 points; Damian Fulp had a full house; Tayler Thompson had a full house with six boards, 10 points, two assists, along with one block, one steal, and one foul.
Great performance by UAA. Did exactly what they needed to do. With a performance like that it’s hard to think NNU will come in and be able to do much, but the Seawolves need to commit and hopefully have a similar performance on Saturday.
Good night of basketball. The big highlight was definitely SMU -we’ve liked them all year and were worried about Fred, but that fear has been abated, so that’s great. Really super happy to see WWU find their rebounding chops. UAA was phenomenal. Game previews’ll be up tomorrow at 11am.
Yup. It’s that time of the weekly cycle again… Player-of-the-week nominations. This week is a little strange because a lot of schools played one D2 game and one NAIA game, which took a whole slew of people out of consideration because we really do only look at POW in the context of D2 competition AND two games played; player-of-the-week, not performance of the week.
SFU: JJ Pankratz. Two good games.
WWU: Kyle Impero-ish. TBH no one had two good games. Kyle at least had two okay games.
SPU: Bryce Leavitt. If you’re gonna have an “okay” game, be sure to have a “great” game too.
CWU: Gary Jacobs -two good games, very consistent, great to see.
Slim pickings, but we didn’t want to skip it this week because that wouldn’t be fair when we did it a few weeks ago when only WWU and UAA played. This time we had four teams to look at and calculate from, so the results will be up in an hour.
For a lot of these guys it’s the last game they’ll play before Thanksgiving and while the vast majority won’t get to go home… All have more than earned the right to celebrate. Congrats to Saint Martin’s and Northwest Nazarene for getting it done!! Hope you guys enjoyed the very well deserved wins.
Central Washington 95, BYU Hawaii 86
We’re not even sure what to say other than: We called it. Lots of good numbers. Pretty much the only bad number came via Naim Ladd and his 2-9 shooting. Other than that, great and fairly complete performance by the Wildcats, so good day.
Highlights: Joey Roppo finished with 20 points, going 6-9 on threes; Gary Jacobs grabbed seven boards, five assists, three steals, and two fouls on his way to 22 points; Joe Stroud added six boards and 13 points along with four fouls; Devin Matthews went 8-10 from the line and finished with 16 points. Good team effort from the Wildcats, getting these two wins are big, especially because it’s literally the only non-conference they play, so really it helps all GNAC teams in some minimal way.
MSU-Billings 82, Black Hills State 80
No clue what to say about this game. Black Hills went 10-19 last year with MSUB killing them 79-61, so going off of that this win is happy but still concerning. Are the MSUB Yellowjackets out of the woods yet? No. The monsters are not yet trees. They’re still monsters and MSUB scheduled themselves very well. Part of that could be teams overlooking them thinking “yeah, we’ll schedule MSUB” and then MSUB thinking of the overlook factor. We’re not sure.
The Jackets haven’t had Momir Gataric, so that could also be playing a big role because he was huge at the end of last year.
Highlights: Marc Matthews had 24 points, six boards, and two steals but all was negated by 5 turnovers; Emmanuel Johnson had 11 points; Jace Anderson had 13 points and four assists; Christian Evans had 17 points while playing a whopping 37 minutes. Off the bench Jordan Perry had 11 points.
Northwest Nazarene 80, CSU-Los Angeles 75
The Crusaders overcame some disastrously selfish shooting and nasty turnovers to ultimately win the game. CSULA is generally speaking not a good team, so we’ll cover this in the discussions post this week, but for conference basement dwellers you basically have two options: Schedule good teams and hope you get good transfers and upset them, or schedule similarly placed teams and hope that it gets you experience and leads you to upsetting conference teams. This is the latter of those two options, we’ll see if it pays off.
Highlights: Joel Devastey had five boards; Bouna N’Diaye had 12 points; Gonzo Santana had four assists; Detwon Rogers had seven boards and 15 points; Mike Wright had 28 points and eight assists with just two turnovers. Off the bench Pol Olivier had three assists; and Kyle Bailey had five boards and eight points.
Seattle Pacific 86, Hawaii Hilo 73
Score ultimately ended up closer than what the game was. Had the huge potential for a let-down and they overcame it. They had Mitch Penner back, but still no Brendan Carroll. The Falcons went 2-2 on this weekend and hopefully it helped prepare them for next weekend because their schedule is brutal from here on out.
Highlights: BRYCE LEAVITT had a full house on good to great shooting finishing with 21 points, four assists, eight rebounds, a block, a steal, and two fouls; Garrett Swanson had seven boards, four fouls, and 16 points; Will Parker had two assists and three steals. Off the bench Mitch Penner had 17 points on 9-11 free throw shooting. Again, congrats to the Falcons for avoiding the let down.
CSU-Dominguez Hills 81, Alaska-Anchorage 78
There were a number of good things about this game and a number of bad things. The bad things largely fell into the fact that both Suki and Diante weren’t shooting well and ultimately the Seawolves (still without Brian McGill) couldn’t overcome it. The good was that there were few turnovers. Another bad thing was that there was very little defense.
Highlights: Corey Hammell had a double double with 10 boards and 17 points; Suki had nine assists and six boards while playing 40 minutes and shooting terribly; Spencer Svejcar had five boards, four assists, and 20 points. Off the bench Christian Leckband had five points and four boards, along with three blocks. The Seawolves were super close to getting it done and ultimately just couldn’t, but hopefully a good learning loss.
Colorado Christian 89, Simon Fraser 79
Another day, another learning experience. Some positively horrifying turnover issues. There were still plenty of good moments though and again: non conference is all about building experience. Colorado Christian is a good RMAC team.
Highlights: Max Barkeley had 22 points and just ONE turnover; Michael Harper had a full house including 15 points, but none of it really matters because he had seven turnovers; JJ Pankratz also had a full house including eight boards, eight points, three assists, and four blocks. Off the bench Oshea Gairey had fourteen points, although four turnovers. Pretty much it. Defense would have been nice. The good news is SFU is making progress, so… more to come.
Saint Martin’s 90, CSU-Monterey Bay 85
Good win for the Saints, super proud of them. Learning how to win is part of the process and they’re in the midst of a massive rebuild, so really good to see. Lots of super good numbers, but not very much defense. Still, a win is a win, and… Shooting 90% as a team on free throws can make us forgive you for a lot.
Highlights: Cole Preston played a whopping 40 minutes and finished with 19 points and five assists; Tyler Copp had 14 points; Jordan Kitchen had a full house including 10 points and two blocks in just 23 minutes;. Off the bench Rhett Baerlocher added four boards and four points.
Overall, a pretty good day for the GNAC. With SFU and UAA -all we ask is that you learned a lot from your losses. Granted, we also ask that of the winning teams -there’s always TONS of room for improvement. So glad to finally have Andy Avgi back, other players we hope to see again soon include: Almir Hadzisehovic, Brian McGill, Brendan Carroll, Trey Ingram, and
Stay warm and hydrated. Player of the week nominations will be up tomorrow at 10am with the winner up at 11.
After last weekend’s grossness, we feel like so far… We’ve turned a corner. At least for a day.
Central Washington 100, Hawaii-Hilo 87
Um: Wildcats got it done. And it wasn’t looking good there for a while, but they finished with some really solid numbers. There really isn’t anything bad to say about this game, which is awesome. Yeah, there was some less than ideal shooting but nothing horrifyingly unpalatable.
Highlights: Joey Roppo had 18 points; Terry Dawn wasn’t shooting well but switched to rebounding and picked up seven boards in just 13 minutes; Gary Jacobs went 8/11 and 4/4 on free throws to finish with 23 points along with six boards; Joe Stroud had a FULL HOUSE grabbing six boards, two assists, one steal, four blocks, two fouls, and finished with 18 points; Devin Matthews grabbed SEVEN boards and SIX assists along with 15 points. Off the bench Naim Ladd was guilty of bad shooting but went 5/5 on free throws and grabbed five boards, so… Still not a bad day.
Alaska Fairbanks 81, CSU Dominguez Hills 73
We don’t consider this off-the-tundra and so it’s a little concerning but they pulled out the win, and a win is a win. Pretty good shooting with the exception of Ashton Edwards and Joe Slocum -they should feel ashamed of making what was a great performance by the rest of their team slightly off color. They peed in the perfectly pristine snow and now Olaf is sad.
Highlights: Bangaly Kaba had a double double with 10 boards and 18 points, along with picking up five assists and three fouls; Travante Williams had a FULL HOUSE with 15 boards, one assist, two steals, one block, two turnovers, three fouls, and sixteen points. Everyone else wasn’t great but wasn’t horrible either and it was enough. Less than ideal to rely on essentially two players, but… We continue to wait for Almir and Joe to show up.
Seattle Pacific 84, BYU-Hawaii 60
Um, Falcons say what?!? And this was without starters Brendan Carroll and Mitch Penner playing at all. Joe Slocum may not have shown up for UAF, but Joe Rasmussen showed up in a big way for Seattle Pacific. Joe’s performance is what a center should be: he missed two threes and then realized that the paint is his life’s will and made every single shot. It’s not that complicated. Other GNAC centers, please take note. We never thought we’d say that about Joe Rasmussen (okay, we did like three years ago when he committed to SPU, but not since then) and yet, here we are.
Highlights: Bryce Leavitt had five assists, 12 points, and three fouls; Will Parker had seven assists and just two turnovers; and Gilles Dierickx went 6/6 and grabbed seven boards. Off the bench Joe Rasmussen picked up five boards while scoring 20 points; Nathan Streufert went 4-4 on FTs and grabbed five boards.
Western Washington 92, Flagler 53
Nothing bad about this game except the competition, ha! But seriously: The competition was bad and the Vikings got let out for a much needed run. Wednesday night was brutal. Good to see them bounce back, but really hard to know what it means. Flagler was 10-16 last year, so… The Vikings did what they needed to do, but it won’t feel right until they do it against a school that actually matters and they may not play one until January 7th. We’re sure everyone’s eyeing the SPU game on December 5th, but… We don’t necessarily agree. It’s at WWU, the Vikings should win because they have tons of experience and the Falcons have none. WWU rarely has a good time against UAF in Fairbanks and so from our perspective… That’ll be the bar.
Highlights: Ricardo Maxwell had five assists; Kyle Impero had 13 points; Colby Mitchell grabbed 11 boards and four fouls; Jeff Parker had seven boards and 20 points; Mac Johnson is slowly getting back to where he was with eight boards, 13 points, and two blocks, but… Really? Against Flagler? It still should have been more. Off the bench Brett Kingma had 13 points; and Harris Javier had five assists, three steals, and five points.
Colorado Christian 89, Simon Fraser 82
Not a bad night besides the shooting of Max Barkeley, the turnovers of Michael Harper, and the shooting of Oshea Gairey. No seriously, it was a good night. The Clan had every chance to win it and couldn’t get it done, but huge for growth. If you’re getting to the point of playing the fouling game with a very quality RMAC team, you’re making progress. They play the Cougars again today and hopefully will get the ‘W.’
Highlights: Hidde Vos had six assists and seventeen points; Max Barkley had six assists; Michael Harper had 13 points; JJ Pankratz had 12 points, nine boards, one assist, three steals, five blocks, three fouls, and ZERO turnovers for a gold star full house (that is: a full house without filling in the T/O column); finally, Tyrell Lewin had 10 points. Off the bench Gibran Sweani had 12 points on 6-7 shooting.
Western Oregon 79, CSU Monterey Bay 67
ANDY’S FIRST GAME BACK!!!!! And he came off the bench. Very exciting stuff. The team finally clicked, 100% what we expected, and we’re so glad to see the Wolves do exactly what we know they’re capable of. Still, let’s be real: This was CSU-Monterey Bay. It’s good to see them click, but there’s miles to go before they sleep.
Highlights: Devon Alexander had seven assists, three steals, and 10 points; Julian Nichols had a full house with two boards, two assists, three steals, one block, two fouls, and 20 points; Jordan Wiley also had a full house with four boards, one assist, one steal, one block, two fouls, and eight points. Off the bench Tanner Omlid had eight points and four boards; ANDY AVGI, the man himself, had three boards, two assists, one steal, and 20 points.
Definitely a good night for the GNAC. Not really concerned with a loss to the RMAC just because the RMAC is projected as good and SFU is seen as a cupcake, so if the Clan can get the win today that would be really good, but it shouldn’t affect SOS too much -if anything it’ll affect Colorado Christian’s, so… Do it Clan!
What else? Travante Williams. Joe Rasmussen. JJ Pankratz. An Andy sighting. Definitely the most exciting parts of the evening. Ridiculously proud of all four of them. Intrigued by what’s on the horizon for today.
Alright GNAC: Onward!
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.