Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A great feature by Chris Murray

Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal checks in with a not-to-be-missed feature:
The top five players in the WAC by class
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

In today's newspaper, we wrote about the WAC's bright future. There are only a handful of impact seniors in the WAC this season (Gary Wilkinson, Mark Sanchez, Tim Pierce and Dwight O'Neil are the only seniors who average more than six points per game). That means a lot of young talent is getting experience this season, which should bode well for the future. Below are the top five players in the WAC (by class).


1. Luke Babbitt, Nevada: Babbitt might not only be the best freshman in the conference. He might be the best player in the conference. The Galena High grad is averaging 16.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season and has become more and more efficient as the season's progressed. He is shooting 46.2 percent from the field, 45.2 percent from three and 82.1 percent from the line. While you would think opposing coaches might want Babbitt to turn pro ASAP, Hawaii coach Bob Nash said that by Babbitt staying, the entire profile of the conference could be lifted.

2. Paul George, Fresno State: If Babbitt is 1, then George is 1A. The rail-thin wing might be hitting a touch of a slump recently, but he is still averaging 15.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He can also knock down the three (45.8 percent) and has proven to be an efficient scorer. Once he adds some more muscle, watch up. But George isn't alone in Fresno, as the team has a quartet of talented freshman playing this season (one of whom is a little lower on this list).

3. Troy Gillenwater, NMSU: Gillenwater ran into some disciplinary issues a couple of weeks ago, but is back on the court and producing. Like Fresno State, the Aggies are a young team and Gillenwater is the prized freshman. He is averaging 12 points per game in 23.5 minutes, but must improve his rebounding (4.1 per contest). When was the last time the WAC had three impact freshmen like Babbitt, George and Gillenwater?

4. Hamidu Rahman, NMSU: Rahman might be overshadowed by Gillenwater, but he is plenty good himself. The New Jersey native is a legit 7-footer in a league that doesn't have too many of those. He's also well-built at 240 pounds and has put up seven points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting better than 50 percent from the field.

5. Mychal Ladd, Fresno State: With the suspension of O'Neil, Ladd has gotten the chance to start and is doing his best to keep that job. He is averaging 14 points and six rebounds per game in the last eight contests and 10 and four overall this year. The 6-5 wing from Seattle can be a plus-rebounder for his size, but like most freshman, needs to tighten his defense.

Three honorable mentions: Dario Hunt, Nevada; Bryce Cartwright, Fresno State; Olu Ashaolu, La. Tech...
Go here for the remainder.

No comments: