Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Which WAC players will be declaring early for the NBA?

This could be a very short entry as the WAC team rosters are filled with younger prospects, ones who still need time to develop physically and to expand their skills sets.

Based on zero inside information -- just a look at talent and potential -- here's our take on which WAC players will have the option of heading to the NBA prior to their senior seasons.

Boise State: nobody

Fresno State: Paul George will have the opportunity to depart early by the end of his junior season. He still needs to for his body to mature and to add more aspects to his game.

Hawaii: Roderick Flemings has already said he will check out his chances. He has a history of one-and-done at his previous stops but Bob Nash has already brought in a pair of backcourters to bolster the team and is now looking for frontcourt help. A quality center recruit may influence Flemings if he feels there is the chance to win the WAC.

Idaho: Mac Hopson could generate NBA interest if he decided to leave early but what would be the motivation? Hopson and the Vandals just enjoyed a much better than expected season with the sense that 2009-2010 should be better. Plus, right now it's between him and Jahmar Young for next season's WAC most valuable player.

Louisiana Tech: Magnum Rolle has NBA highlight film written all over him but he would best be served by adding 20-25 pounds and the game in-game out consistency like he showed in the majority (but not all) of the games in the latter half of the Tech season. Rolle has to get stronger and bulkier for the pros.

Nevada: Luke Babbitt is the foremost Wolf Packer with NBA potential but he certainly isn't going anywhere now. After his sophomore season -- maybe. Upon completion of his junior year -- you betcha. Armon Johnson needs a consistent year -- especially with his shooting -- under his belt. His assist-to-turnover ratio is less than 2-1 but 145 assists is still a nice total. Having greater scoring help in the backcourt would help in reducing his turnover totals (84). Johnson also has to show he can defend at the NBA level. We expect him to be a four year starter for Nevada.

New Mexico State: Jarmar Young is going to be really tempted after the 2009-2010 season concludes as he possesses very good size and all-around shooting ability. He can create his own shot and possesses the physical prerequisites to defend at the next level. We say he's a goner after next year.

San Jose State: Adrian Oliver has NBA offensive prowess but obviously needs to remain healthy for a full season. Oliver also must show he can defend at the next level.

Utah State: It oftentimes is an insult to be labeled a system player or players but there some applicability to the Utah State players. We don't see an NBA prospect on the Aggie roster but their collective talents along with how Stew Morrill gets his squad to play produces success and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.


Patrick H said...

So the WAC POY is down to JY and Hopson? I think Babbitt, Rolle, Seay and George will have some say in that. I'm not saying neither of them will win it, but there are some other outstanding prospects that could take that trophy. And if Armon Johnson hits 40% of his 3pt shots for the season (like he did over the last 16 games of the season) he too could win it.

Also, Armon's turnover rate (% of possessions that result in a turnover) is quite low. Quayle's was 16.1, AJ's was 16.3 and Hopson's was 17.9. The next lowest in the WAC was 24.9. AJ's Assist/Turnover problem was a lack of assists more than a turnover issue. When your entire front line is composed of freshmen and the other guards can't hit open 3pt shots, you are going to lose at least 2 assists per game.

Kevin McCarthy said...


All good points. Right now (how's that for covering my keister?), I see Hopson and Young as having the best opportunities because Babbitt and Johnson will split the Nevada vote.

Seay and George (whose 2009-2010 contributions may be diluted by Greg Smith and others) will also split votes.

I see Rolle as a darkhorse. The MVP award is within his reach but which Rolle is going to appear next season?

Regarding the a-to-T rates, Hopson also certainly was hindered by a lack of shooters on the Vandal squad while while Quayle benefited from the always strong Aggie shooting.

Also, some NMSU fans apparently disagree with my sense that Young will bolt Las Cruces after next season. I'll defer to them since they have seen Young play much more than I have but they also need to keep in mind that turning pro is not always a rational decision.

Patrick H said...

Idaho was a much better 3pt shooting team than Nevada and the style of offense they run will always lead to more assists then Nevada's IMHO. Robert Pack and Kris Clark had almost as many assists for USU as Ramon Sessions had for Nevada in his last two years.

But I think Hopson is the best PG in the WAC. If I had to pick one WAC player to have the ball in his hands with 8 seconds left and trailing by 1pt I'd take Armon Johnson.

But as you know, I'm biased.

You make a good point about teams splitting the vote if they have two star players. Also JY might find he's sharing the spotlight a bit more next year than he did in this one. If they don't find a way to get Gillenwater more involved, Menzies is making a big mistake.

Rolle is my dark horse as well. His defense can be a game changer and he has all the tools needed to dominate. But, as you wrote, which Rolle will show up?

Kevin McCarthy said...

Patrick, please keep returning, especially with your numbers analysis because that is a major weak point for me. I actually was able to graduate from college and never took a math class beyond sophomore high school algebra -- I have no idea how I managed that -- 'that' being passing freshman algebra and sophomore geometry and then later convincing a university to hand over a degree. The ninth wonder of the world!

Patrick H said...

I read your blog every day, and I know a lot of other WAC fans do as well since I see your site linked on their boards. I don't understand why none of them leave comments, the slackers. As always, thanks for the great site.