Friday, March 7, 2008

Our take on the upcoming ALL-WAC teams

The 2007-2008 All-WAC teams are apparently to be announced on Sunday so we wanted to beat the voters who count to it with our own offerings.

As a reminder, here are the pre-season selections by the WAC coaches. Surprisingly, there were a few clunkers, especially on the second team.

Preseason Coaches All – WAC Team
First –Team

Jaycee Carroll Utah State (Preseason Player of the Year)
Reggie Larry Boise State
Justin Hawkins New Mexico State
Marcelus Kemp Nevada
Fred Peete New Mexico State


Matt Nelson Boise State
Kevin Bell Fresno State
Hector Hernandez Fresno State
Demarshay Johnson Nevada
Bobby Nash Hawaii

Fred Peete just never put it together this season and we'll be very surprised if he even makes the second-team this season. He's certainly been helpful to NMSU -- no doubt -- but not having a mainstay season.

Hector Hernandez was among the most disappointing as he seemed to really miss playing alongside Dominic McGuire and Quinton Hosley. His numbers, 9.5 ppg on a shooting percentage of .388 -- this for a 6-9 senior -- were unremarkable. Hernandez scored 11.2 ppg. and shot .453% as a junior. To his credit, he did grab 7.3 rpg. this season.

Demarshay Johnson had moments this season but nothing equating to any ALL-WAC status. The same with Bobby Nash.

There are a number of newcomers we talk about later in this piece who deserve a position on the ALL-WAC second team.

Very interestingly, the pixel-stained wretches -- other wise known collectively as the WAC newspaper beat reporters -- somehow had the foresight to include Kevin Bell of Fresno State on their first team choices -- they didn't pick a second five.

Preseason Media All-WAC Team

Jaycee Carroll Utah State (Preseason Player of the Year)
Reggie Larry Boise State
Kevin Bell Fresno State
Justin Hawkins New Mexico State
Marcelus Kemp Nevada

Surprisingly, Nevada's JaVale McGee is nowhere to be seen. His numbers were small last year but it was obvious that he would be the starting center for the Wolf Pack this season and be playing major minutes.

Headlining the For-What-It's-Worth Department, here are our 2007-2008 ALL-WAC selections as selected today:

Jaycee Carroll - nobody could stop him, period and this is a 6-2 guard not necessarily graced with the ultimate athletic prowess.
Kevin Bell - seriously, the Bulldogs might have won one, maybe two conference games this season without Bell.
Marcelus Kemp - Without his scoring and ability to draw the focus of a team's defense, everyone else on the Wolf Pack would have been less effective.
Justin Hawkins - He was so often the glue that kept the Aggies rolling despite the absences of various players.
Reggie Larry - He led his team in minutes played, scoring, rebounding, offenive rebounding, blocked shots and was a close second in steals.

For self-disclosure sake, we didn't forsee Kevin Bell's shooting improvement nor the overall effectiveness of Reggie Larry. If it was the pre-season, our top five would probably have included Boise State's Matt Nelson in place of his teammate. Nelson had a fine season but it's just that Larry enjoyed an even better one.

Now Kevin Bell could certainly qualify as Most Improved Player (MIP) but we're actually going with Boise State's Tyler Tiedeman whose scoring average went from 4.4 ppg. as a junior to 14.0 ppg. this season. His shooting was 540% overall and an amazing .503% on a team-leading 145 three-point attempts. Tiedeman shot .472% overall last season and .397% from long range on 57 three-point attempts. Nobody predicted such a dramatic improvement.

Speaking of Bell, he scored 18.7 ppg. this season, shooting .455% on 422 attempts and drawing 206 foul shots -- this after shooting less than .400% last year.

Lousiana Tech's Kyle Gibson is also deserving of mention in the MIP category despite the poor season for the Bulldogs. Gibson scored 15.5 ppg. and grabbed 5.5 rpg. after 4.5 ppg. and 1.6 rpg. in 2006-2007.

Hawaii's Riley Luettgerodt deserves listing here for doubling his scoring average this season from 6.2 ppg. to 12.3.

NMSU's Jonathan Gibson too as he produced 12.5 ppg. while shooting .422% on a team-leading 161 three-point attempts. Last year, it was 2.6 ppg. and a .338 overall shooting percentage, .286% on his threes.

As for WAC Freshman of the Year and the WAC Freshmen Team:

The top award must go to Armon Johnson of Nevada. Johnson scored 11.7 ppg. on .496% overall shooting. while adding 4.1 rpg. and 97 assists.

Trying to avoid any bias, we see the runner up as Justin Graham of San Jose State, despite missing some leagues games due to injury. He scored 11.6 ppg. with a team-leading 68 assists while shooting .494% overall and .438% on threes.

Utah State's Tai Wesley is right behind, his placement due to the lesser role he played on his respective team. Wesley scored 10.2 ppg. while nabbing 4.4 rpg. He led the Aggies with 23 blocked shots and also garnered 64 assists .

NMSU's Wendell McKines is also a worthy mention what with his 6.7 ppg. on .591% from the floor and 6.1 rpg. Teammates Herb Pope and Jahmar Young produced well once eligible but we'll go with McKines out of the three. That certainly should make some jaws drop.

Also throw Louisiana Tech's Dwayne Lathen in the mix for consideration as he has enjoyed a sparkling second half of the season.

The Top WAC Newcomer is a battle royal. Idaho's Jordan Brooks with 12.9 ppg., 6.3 rpg.,129 assists and 47 steals as the focal point for the Vandal offense cannot be discounted. Utah State's Gary Wilkinson put up 13.3 ppg. and 6.9 rpg.while shooting .575%. Two San Jose Staters are deserving of mention: C.J. Webster with 10. 8 ppg., 6.3 rpg. and 60 assists and Chris Oakes' 10.7 ppg. and 7.5 rpg.

Ulitimately, we have to go with Brooks for his role and the importance of it in making the relatively weak Vandals go.

No comments: