Mid-Major Top Ten: West Coast Conference

USA TODAY Sports

Four WCC players from last season are currently playing preseason basketball in the NBA. Despite that loss, the league isn't regressing. These ten players are responsible for sustaining the league.

A couple of disclaimers before jumping into the top-ten. First, I revised the list at least a half-dozen times before coming up with the list I feel most comfortable with. Over the course of those revisions, six players shifted in and out of the list. I also chose not to include freshmen or newcomers. Depending on who you ask, these guys could well be in the top-ten. So, I'll give them an honorable mention of sorts.

Beau Levesque, senior, forward, Saint Mary's.
Gary Bell Jr., junior, shooting guard, Gonzaga.
Stacy Davis, sophomore, forward, Pepperdine (2013 WCC Newcomer of the Year).
Gerard Coleman, junior, guard, Gonzaga (transfer from Providence).
Kyle Collinsworth, sophomore, guard/forward, BYU (played in 2010-11 before taking two year LDS mission to Russia).
Erik Mika, freshman, forward, BYU.

10. Cody Doolin, Senior, Point Guard, San Francisco Dons
In the guard-heavy WCC, Doolin has been overlooked since his arrival. He has started all but three games in his career, all three of which were in his freshman year and all three were losses. The Dons have undergone massive personnel shakeups over the past few seasons but Doolin has been there to keep them afloat. Last season he averaged a respectable 12.2 points per game, good for 14th in the WCC. Far more important than his scoring ability is his passing ability. His assist per game have rose from 3.5 as a freshman to 3.8 as a sophomore before skyrocketing to 5.6 last season. When he's on the floor 34.3% of the buckets made come from one of his assists, and he's on the floor almost all the time. Doolin has is the oil that keeps this patchwork Dons engine running smoothly.

9. Evan Roquemore, Senior, Point Guard, Santa Clara Broncos
The Broncos roster last season included four 1,000 point scorers. So far this season only Roquemore is in that club. His assist numbers are great and not just because he had an array of scoring threats catching his passes. Roquemore's assist rate in 2011-12 was higher than last season, despite the Broncos being without two of their 1,000 point scorers. He's also a capable scorer himself, having scored 1,316 points over his first three seasons.

8. Ryan Nicholas, Senior, Forward, Portland Pilots
The past couple of seasons have been rough on The Bluff. Brutal schedules, lack of point guard play and general ineptitude on offense have combined to keep the Pilots in the conference cellar. Obviously, Nicholas has no control over the schedule and, being a forward, has nothing to do with the lack of point guard play. But, that offensive ineptitude comment doesn't apply to him either. Far and away the best player on the team the past two seasons, Nicholas has drawn all the attention on defense. Despite that, he's posted offensive ratings over 100 and crashed the boards like a mad man. Last year he logged eight double-doubles, this year he might average a double-double. He should also make his first appearance on the all-conference team.

7. Przemek Karnowski, Sophomore, Center, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Karnowski passed on big time schools like Duke and Kansas to become one of the most highly touted recruits ever to commit to Gonzaga. He is a big reason why I'm not putting freshmen in this top-ten. Last season, Karnowski sat on the bench behind Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris. Because he only saw the floor for about ten minutes per game, his line in a box score often underwhelmed. However, accounting for 26.6% of the shots taken when he's on the floor, he is the focal point of the Zags' attack when he's in the game. He's not going to come off the bench this season, so expect numbers closer to his 20 and 10 (his points and rebounds per 40 minutes last season) than 5.7 and 2.6. The 7' 1", 300lbs center will have few challengers in the paint this season.

6. Brad Waldow, Junior, Forward, Saint Mary's Gaels
Waldow's first two seasons were characterized by high efficiency. He posted offensive ratings of 121.8 and 118.7 while shooting well over 60% from the field. Entering his third year he's more likely known for his toughness. In last season's WCC Tournament semifinal against San Diego, Waldow had a front tooth knocked clean out of his mouth. He tried to stay in the game, but was forced out because he was bleeding. After being attended to he promptly returned, pulled down an offensive rebound (he's a force on the glass) and drew a foul. Point guard Matthew Dellavedova and forward Mitchell Young are both gone so Waldow looks to take the lead role for the Gaels.

5. Johnny Dee, Junior, Shooting Guard, San Diego Toreros
Dee and point guard Christopher Anderson form one of the best backcourt duos in the nation, but they're overlooked in their own league. Dee and Anderson, both juniors, were overshadowed as freshmen by Gonzaga's freshman backcourt duo. As a tandem they've started earning their due respect but on his own Dee is starting to shine as well. He's lethal from three point range, having made 79 and 80 shots from deep in his first two years. For the second straight year he led San Diego in scoring. With 937 career points, Dee is on pace to become San Diego's all time leading scorer well before the end of his senior year.

4. Cole Dickerson, Senior, Forward, San Francisco Dons
There were six games last season in which Dickerson had more rebounds than points, yet he led the Dons in points per game with 15.2. His stats and his form, 6' 7", 230lbs, make him seem like a replica of former Saint Mary's Gael Rob Jones, who was the last WCC player to average a double-double. A knack for ending possessions, on both ends of the floor, makes Dickerson invaluable to the Dons. When he's on the floor, one of every four shots taken and defensive rebounds grabbed by the Dons are his doing. Oh yeah there's one more thing he's really good at, stretching defenses. Last season saw him connect on 41% of his 117 attempts from long range.

3. Kevin Pangos, Junior, Point Guard, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Gonzaga has a history of stellar guard play and Kevin Pangos made it clear from the very beginning that he would not break that trend. His first collegiate start, and second game overall, saw him tie Gonzaga's all-time single game record by sinking nine three pointers. He's a career 40% shooter from beyond the arc but he's also capable at the hoop. Known to Head coach Mark Few is known to get frustrated with Pangos because he attempts tough, acrobatic layups in practice. Coach Few puts up with it because Pangos routinely makes them in games. The past two years have seen three Gonzaga big men head to the NBA. With the focus shifting back to the guards this year, Pangos will surely be in line for a third straight all-conference season.

2. Tyler Haws, Junior, Shooting Guard, BYU Cougars
Returning from a LDS mission, nobody was quite sure what to expect out of Tyler Haws. They remembered a promising freshman campaign from the season before Jimmermania, but two years away from the game tempered expectations. Now, coming off a season as the nation's seventh leading scorer, expectations are sky high. In his first two seasons, Jimmer Fredette scored 780 points. Last season, Tyler Haws scored 780 points. It's worth noting that as a junior, Jimmer only scored 751 points. He gets buckets both inside and out. Since he can score so well, he draws a lot of fouls. Even better, he commits just 1.8 fouls per game. This Summer Haws was a part of Team USA at the World University Games.

1. Anthony Ireland, Senior, Point Guard, Loyola Marymount Lions
The most overlooked player in the country is the best player in the West Coast Conference. Anthony Ireland has played in every single LMU game since his arrival three years ago. He's played nearly every minute too. As a freshman he was on the floor for 75% of possible minutes. As a sophomore that number jumped to 89.9% and last year, even higher, to 92.7%. Averaging 20.2 points per game last season was good for 14th in the nation. If he does that again he'll finish second all time at LMU. That's impressive because he'll be passing a trio of players from back in the age of super high scoring -- seriously, they used to score in the mid-100s. Not only is he a scorer but, given some weapons around him, he can be a great pure point guard as well. Last season he dished out 4.4 assists per game. When you look at how anemic the Lions' offense, other than Ireland, was last season that's very impressive. No player in the WCC means more to their team than Anthony Ireland. That was the case last season as well, but this season it is a little bit different. This season he's the best player in the conference.

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