BYU Basketball 2014-15 Summer Prospectus: WCC Preview & Rankings from West Coast Convo


Editor’s Note: This week at Lawless Republic we are rolling out our five-part 2014-15 BYU Basketball Summer Prospectus. This is part five with a preview of the West Coast Conference from Editor, Josh Horton.  Make sure to follow Josh and the staff at WCC Convo on Twitter.


The Cougars have a lot of question marks, but the pieces are there for BYU to challenge for the WCC title or an NCAA tournament bid.

BYU will be without Eric Mika (LDS Mission) and Matt Carlino (Transfer), but a host of other players are entering the program to help fill the losses; Jordan Chatman returns from his mission, Isaac Neilson becomes eligible after a redshirt season, Jamal Aytes and Chase Fischer become eligible after transferring – Aytes is eligible after the completion of the fall semester, and Corbin Kaufusi, Dalton Nixon, Ryan Andrus and Jake Toolson come in as freshmen.

Add all those pieces to a team featuring stars Kyle Collinsworth and Tyler Haws, as well as role players Anson Winder, Skyler Halford, Frank Bartley IV, Josh Sharp, Luke Worthington and Nate Austin. BYU has a nice blend of depth and talent, making them a legitimate contender to compete with Gonzaga for a WCC title.

Projected Starters:

G – Jordan Chatman (Kyle Collinsworth when healthy)

G – Anson Winder

G/F – Tyler Haws

F – Josh Sharp (Jamal Aytes when eligible)

F – Nate Austin

6th– Chase Fischer


With a mix of young and old, Gonzaga features the best roster it has had on paper in quite some time.

Yes, Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., Przemek Karnowski, Kyle Dranginis and Angel Nunez all return, but it is the newcomers that make this Gonzaga team pop.

Among the newcomers, Kyle Wiltjer and Byron Wesley should make the most impact this next season. Wiltjer, with his buttery shooting motion and overall offensive acumen projects to be a phenomenal fit in the WCC, while Wesley’s slashing ability and athleticism will give the Bulldogs a stereotypical gunner on the wing, something they have not possessed in quite a while.

The freshmen – Josh Perkins, Silas Melson, Bryan Alberts and Domantas Sabonis – will also come in and contribute right away, providing great amounts of depth. The guards Perkins, Melson and Alberts are all athletic, fundamentally sound players that will backup Pangos, Bell and Wesley this season before taking over in the future. Sabonis, the son of Portland Trail Blazers legend Arvydas Sabonis, is a skilled southpaw that should be a nice reserve at the four and five spots for the Bulldogs this season.

Add former Vanderbilt guard Eric McClellan to the mix – most likely after the fall semester, and the Bulldogs have a scary good team that will be the preseason favorite for the WCC title and will be on the borderline of the Top 10 in the national preseason rankings.

Projected Starting Lineup G – Kevin Pangos

G – Gary Bell Jr.

G/F – Byron Wesley

F – Kyle Wiltjer

C – Przemek Karnowski

6th – Kyle Dranginis

Loyola Marymount

Many will count LMU out after transitioning between Max Good to Mike Dunlap as the head coach, and losing seven transfers and three recruits in the process. But do not be shocked to see LMU surprise some people this upcoming season.

Evan Payne, the Lions second leading scorer behind Anthony Ireland last season at 15.5 points per game, returns to the Lions backcourt, along with Ayodeji Egbeyemi, who sat out most of last season with an injury sustained due to a car crash with teammate Godwin Okonji. The 6-foot-8 Okonji, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility with Egbeyemi, returns to the Lions frontcourt with 6-foot-9 forward Marin Mornar.

Among the newcomers, which includes: Simon Krajcovic (Canarias Basketball Academy), Matt Hayes (Santa Rosa Junior College), David Humphries (North Iowa Area Community College), Joshua Spiers (Australia), Petr Herman (Canarias Basketball Academy) and Devin Wyatt (Desoto High School), Humphries and Herman might be the most Division I ready. Humphries has a solid shot to start for the Lions at the two or three position, while Herman could start at the four or three position. Spiers is a 6-foot-7 forward that can shoot, Wyatt is a lanky shot blocker, Hayes is a deadeye junior college shooter and Krajcovic is a talented, but raw floor general.

Projected Starters

G- Chase Flint

G – Evan Payne

G/F – Ayodeji Egbeyemi

F – Petr Herman

C – Patson Siame

6th – David Humphries


After losing seven seniors to graduation and Aaron Short and Spencer Llewellyn to transfer, the Tigers are in complete rebuilding mode.

While it might not come completely together immediately, the Tigers do have the pieces to be a competitive team in the conference down the road. However, this season might be a challenge with only one senior, Gabriel Aguirre, on the roster.

The star of the Tigers roster this season should be T.J. Wallace, who started three games last season and averaged 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds as a freshman. Alongside him is returning sohpmore guard David Taylor, who played a reserve role for the Tigers as a newcomer. Behind those two players should be Raymond Bowles – a redshirt last season, Dulani Robinson – an undersized offensive dynamo at the point guard spot, Alec Kobre – a junior college shooting guard transfer, D.J. Ursery – an athletic wing prospect – and Kaleb Warner, a long and lanky shooting guard from the Seattle area.

In the frontcourt, the Tigers add Sami Eleraky, a junior college transfer that was committed to California before not qualifying academically. This 7-footer adds significant depth to the Pacific frontcourt, something it desperately needed after losing Tony Gill, Ross Rivera and Khalil Kelley to graduation. Joining Eleraky and Aguirre in the frontcourt is Saddleback Junior College transfer Eric Thompson, and freshmen Jacob Lampkin and Ilias Theodorou.

Projected Starters

G – T.J. Wallace

G – David Taylor

G/F – D.J. Ursery

F – Gabriel Aguirre

C – Sami Eleraky

6th – Raymond Bowles



The Waves, who have steadily improved under Head Coach Marty Wilson, are flying under the radar in preseason chatter.

Although there is reason to be down on Pepperdine after losing WCC Defensive Player of the Year Brendan Lane to graduation, the Waves return a bevy of quality pieces that should allow them to compete with anyone in the WCC.

Three bonafide starters: Jeremy Major, Amadi Udenyi and Stacy Davis all return, with Davis poised for a breakout season. Without a single senior on the roster, the Waves will turn to these three players to provide leadership for a relatively young team.

Returning on the wing for the Waves is Atif Russell and Lamond Murray Jr., who will be competing for playing time with each other. In the frontcourt Jett Raines and David Jesperson will provide depth behind Davis in the frontcourt.

After that, six players are scheduled to make their debut for the school. Freshman guard Marley Biyendolo comes off a redshirt season, and Oregon transfer A.J. Lapray is eligible immediately with four years left after rarely seeing court time as a Duck. The four true freshmen – Shawn Olden, A.J. John, Nate Gehring and Ryan Keenan – will mostly likely provide depth at their respective positions. Out of the four, Gehring has the best chance of seeing significant minutes as a freshmen due to his play style and the players already in the program.

Projected Starters

G – Jeremy Major

G – Amadi Udenyi

G/F – Lamond Murray Jr.

F – Stacy Davis

C – Nate Gehring

6th – A.J. Lapray



If there was a surprise team to crack the top three in the conference standings this season, my money would be on the Pilots.

Portland brings back four out of its five starters from last season, with Ryan Nicholas the only departing player. Starting point guard Alec Wintering, shooting guard Bryce Pressley, small forward Kevin Bailey and center Thomas van der Mars all return, but the real question who will replace Nicholas’ production.

My money would be on Volodymyr Gerun, a 6-foot-10 West Virginia transfer who is entering his senior year. Gerun was buried behind Nicholas and Van der Mars, but with Nicholas out of the picture more minutes open up for the Ukrainian big man. Also competing for that last starting spot is senior forward/center Riley Barker, freshman forward Gabe Taylor and freshman center Philipp Hartwich.

The Pilots backcourt is a little less messy, with Alec Wintering and Bryce Pressley holding down the two guard spots. Their two backups will likely be Aitor Zubizarreta and Bobby Sharp. Zubizarreta did not play much his freshmen season, but David Carr’s season ending injury opens up minutes for the native of Azpeitia, Spain. Sharp has an electric shot from behind the arc, and is not hesitant to pull from any distance. Filling in the cracks is freshmen guards D’marques Tyson and Jason Todd. Both players are primed and ready to make an impact right away in the WCC; Todd will likely back up Bailey with Tyson vying for minutes at the shooting guard and small forward spots.

Projected Starters

G- Alec Wintering

G – Bryce Pressley

G/F – Kevin Bailey

F – Volodymyr Gerun

C – Thomas van der Mars

6th – Bobby Sharp


Saint Mary’s

After a disappointing 2013-2014 campaign, the Saint Mary’s Gaels reloaded with transfers and are looking to reach the top of the WCC once again.

Although Stephen Holt, the Gaels starting point guard last season is gone, Saint Mary’s found another very capable guy to take his spot in Aaron Bright. Also joining him in the backcourt is Minnesota transfer Joe Coleman, who is returning to action after taking a mandatory redshirt season due to NCAA regulations. Joining the two newcomers in the backcourt is senior Kerry Carter and redshirt freshmen Emmett Naar and Calvin Hermanson.

In the frontcourt, the Gaels added several pieces to an already formidable bunch of Waldow, Pineau, and Jackson. Desmond Simmons, a high energy rebounder from the University of Washington, will add depth to the frontcourt, along with freshmen centers Evan Fitzner and Jock Landale.

Projected Starter’s

G – Aaron Bright

G – Kerry Carter

G – Joe Coleman

F – Dane Pineau

F – Brad Waldow


San Diego

With graduation rolling around for Johnny Dee and Christopher Anderson, it seems like now or never for Bill Grier and the Torero’s.

The Torero’s have four starters returning, but question marks still remain with leading post scorer Dennis Kramer graduating. The three returning USD frontcourt players – Jito Kok, Simi Fajemisin and Thomas Jacobs – combined to score only 9.7 points per game. Although newcomers Brandon Perry and Cameron Neubauer could provide more offensive production in the paint, it is a problem that the Toreros need to adjust immediately.

The Toreros backcourt is well off on the other side of things. Chris Sarbaugh played very well behind Anderson and Dee, while Brett Bailey and Duda Sanadze were solid options on the wing. Nick Kerr, the son of famous NBA 3-point shooter Steve Kerr, has some of the same qualities as his father had as a shooter. To bolster the Toreros backcourt depth even further, three freshmen – Marcus Harris, Vasilije Pusica and Khalil Bedart-Ghani, offer even more depth to an already solid group of guards.

Projected Starters G – Christopher Anderson

G – Johnny Dee

G/F – Duda Sanadze

F – Jito Kok

C – Simi Fajemisin

6th – Brandon Perry


San Francisco

The Dons are not only one of the up and coming teams in the conference, on the west coast or even the western part of the United States. They are one of the fastest rising teams in the entire country.

Under the leadership of Rex Walters – whether you love him or hate him – the Dons have risen towards the top-tier of schools in the West Coast Conference. This season, the Dons have the ability to take the next step with the talent currently on their roster.

USF’s crop of guards should be solid this season, led by Matt Glover and Tim Derksen. Chris Adams and Corey Hilliard will provide solid depth behind those two players, and don’t sleep on SMU transfer Uche Ofoegbu at the two or three positions. As far as freshmen go, Frankie Ferrari and Devin Watson could see themselves in a starting role by seasons end at the point guard position, if everything works out perfectly. Chase Foster, a freshman from Valor, Col., will be a nice addition to the shooting guard and small forward positions as well.

As far as the frontcourt, the Dons are big, talented and ready to pound the ball in the paint. The man perfect for that exact job is Kruize Pinkins, and he will be one of the top rebounders in the conference this season barring any setbacks. In the meantime, Mark Tollefsen is playing primarily on the perimeter and Derrell Robertson Jr. is making an impact both on the offensive and defensive glasses, along with protecting the rim. Filling in behind them for depth purposes is Matt Christiansen.

Projected Starters

G – Matt Glover

G – Tim Derksen

F – Mark Tollefsen

F – Kruize Pinkins

C – Derrell Robertson Jr.

6th – Chris Adams


Santa Clara

While the Broncos are usually quick to rebuild after a down season, this process might take a little bit more time than anticipated. The Broncos have some nice pieces, but is it enough to compete in a constantly growing conference?

Jared Brownridge had a phenomenal freshmen season, winning WCC Newcomer of the Year, and he will once again shoulder most of the scoring load along with senior Brandon Clark. Jalen Richard was impressive at times as a freshmen, and will need to build off that success in an increased role as a sophomore, while Denzel Johnson will provide nice depth behind Clark and Brownridge. Among the three incoming freshmen guards – Stephen Edwards, Evan Wardlow and Kai Healy, Wardlow will likely see the most time due to his ability to defend and slash to the basketball. Edwards and Healy fill in the gaps as needed.

As it currently stands, the Broncos frontcourt is a convoluted mess. Santa Clara returns Yannick Atanga, Robert Garrett and Nate Kratch, three players that are defensive and offensive liabilities. This puts a lot more pressure on redshirt freshmen Jarvis Pugh and Emmanuel Ndumanya to produce right away, along with true freshmen power forward Matt Hubbard.

Projected Starters

G – Jalen Richard

G – Brandon Clark

G – Jared Brownridge

F – Nate Kratch

C – Yannick Atanga

6th – Denzel Johnson


With all that being said here are my predictions.