Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The best juniors in the WAC

Our press buddies Jason Groves and Chris Murray have been busy setting the markers for the fast approaching basketball season. Here goes:
Top juniors
Jason Groves
Las Cruces Sun-News
September 26, 2009

Jahmar Young, New Mexico State guard — The leading scorer in the WAC a year ago has gotten stronger in the offseason. IF redshirt Troy Gillenwater has a solid sophomore year and senior guard Jonathan Gibson plays well, Young could improve on his 17.9 ppg from a year ago. He was a first-team selection after shooting 42 percent on 3s last year. Young picked up his play when it mattered most, scoring 18.9 in WAC games.

Adrian Oliver, San Jose State guard — Eligibility and injuries limited the Washington transfer to 18 games last year. Once he got on the court, he dropped 27, 31 and 22 in his first three games. He also had games of 29, 28 (a loss at NMSU) and 37. It's strange that he only shot 26 percent from long range because he was a 43 percent shooter from the floor, but he did only shoot 65 from downtown. If you look at the WAC leaders, he doesn't show up on the list until you look at WAC games only, where he was second behind Young with 17.6 per game.

Second tier

...C.J. Webster, San Jose State forward — Second on the Spartans in scoring (12) and first in rebounding (6.5), was eighth in the league in rebounds.

Justin Graham, San Jose State guard — Second in the WAC with 4.73 assists per game...
Go here for the remainder.

The top-10 juniors in WAC basketball this season
Chris Murray
Reno Gazette-Journal

Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News posted his top juniors in the WAC season, which means it's my turn to post my top-10 juniors. Rankings judged by college impact rather than NBA potential.

1. Jahmar Young, NMSU: The defending scoring champ in the WAC, Young averaged 17.9 ppg while finishing in the top 10 in the league in assists per game (3.3), free-throw percentage (82.4), steals (1.4), 3-point percentage (42.1), 3-pointers made (69) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). He became much more efficient last season, connecting on almost 46 percent of his shots. He is lightning quick and can hit the three, making him the most-difficult perimeter player in the WAC to guard...

3. Adrian Oliver, SJSU: Thanks to eligibility issues after a transfer and a bevy of injuries, Oliver played in only 18 games last season. Despite never really being 100 percent healthy, Oliver averaged 17.1 ppg and eclipsed the 20-point mark eight times (including a 37-point game against Boise State in which he severely sprained an ankle). Oliver needs to cut the turnovers (3.7 per game last year), but is probably the most crafty scorer in the league...

6. Justin Graham, SJSU: Graham has an excellent skill-set package, but he hasn't blossomed just yet. Last year, he was slowed by a nagging wrist injury that submarined most of his season. He still averaged 8.4 ppg, 4.7 apg (second in the WAC) and 1.7 spg (third in the WAC). He cut his turnovers from 4.5 per game as a freshman to 3.7 last year and needs to get that number under three as a junior. A summer to heal the wrist likely did wonders for Graham, who could be perfectly primed for a breakout season.

7. C.J. Webster, SJSU: Webster is your meat-and-potatoes big man. The 6-9, 255-pound power forward averaged 12 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 2.2 apg last season. He is a good passer out of the post and can bully the league's weaker post defenders. His numbers didn't improve much from his first season at SJSU to his second, so it should be interesting to see if Webster has hit a statistically plateau or if there is more room for growth.
Go here for the complete list.

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