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Mid-Major Top 10: Big West Conference

As we rapidly approach the season, let's take a look at the top 10 players from the Big West who will look to make an impact on the league.

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10. Alex Young - University of California, Irvine

Despite only being a Freshman last season, Young made an automatic impact with the Anteaters, averaging 9.2 PPG in 28.4 MPG. This season, the Anteaters have been picked first in the preseason media poll, putting pressure on Young and others to perform at their highest quality. Can Young rise to the challenge, or will the Sophomore slump set in?

9. Chris Patton - University of California, Riverside

The Senior from Down Under has a chance to do some real damage and also make an automatic impact on the conference stats when the Highlanders travel to San Diego State on Friday. Patton averaged 13.5 PPG last season, and averaged 21.0 PPG on UCR's exhibition tour to Canada earlier this year. He'll be looking to continue that trend once the season actually begins.

8. Ryan Sypkens - University of California, Davis

Corey Hawkins might be the leader of this team, but Ryan Sypkens has been quietly consistent the last two years. The Senior Guard has averaged over 14 PPG his last two seasons and there has been an improvement percentage-wise on nearly all fronts. If that trend continues, Sypkens has a chance to be the most dangerous player in the Big West.

7. Kyle Boswell - University of California, Santa Barbara

One of two Gauchos on this list, the Senior Guard might be the most out-of-place in the top 10. Boswell made a huge jump in productivity last season, being called the "top sixth man in the conference" thanks to his 13.0 PPG. Whether or not Boswell is overshadowed by Williams when being scouted, rest can be assured that when he steps on the court, the opposing coaches better not overlook him.

6. Will Davis II - University of California, Irvine

Davis II is the second Anteater to appear on this list, and does so for good reason. His 9.7 PPG were the second best on a highly defensive 2012-13 UCI team. Under his leadership, the Anteaters have a chance to win their first regular season conference title since 2002. If there is one record Davis II is eyeing, it is the Big West blocked shots record. Last season Davis II had 88 blocked shots, one within tying that record.  That being said, there should be no reason why he does not obliterate it this year.

5. Mike Caffey - Long Beach State University

Caffey averaged 12.0 PPG last season, and this season must be the leader the 49ers need. The Junior Guard will have his chance to make the nation aware of his skill set, as the 49ers play many high-profile, non-conference games this season. One of the things to look out for: how Caffey will lead his team, in what will be a reloading year for The Beach.

4. Christian Standhardinger - University of Hawaii

The big German led the team last season in numerous categories, among them scoring (15.8 PPG) and steals (45). The Senior Forward, is looking to take the Rainbow Warriors back to the postseason, specifically a better one than the Postseason Tournament. He was honored with being named to the preseason all-conference team, and if his stats continue, he should have no problem being named to his second end-of-season all-conference team.

3. Chris Eversley - Cal Poly University

Last season, Eversley made sure the Big West's most defensive team had enough points to win, averaging 15.4 PPG. This season, he'll look to do the same on a team that is built similarly to last year. If he can remain consistent, Eversley should have no problem remaining one of the conference's top players.

2. Corey Hawkins - University of California, Davis

Did someone say "score a lot of points?" The Junior Guard heard you and will be looking to continue his scoring rampage. Hawkins averaged 20.3 PPG last season, which was the best in the conference by far. If there is one person who will challenge Alan Williams for conference MVP, it will be Hawkins. For the Aggie to do this however, he'll need to step up other aspects of his game, namely rebounds.

1. Alan Williams - University of California, Santa Barbara

The Junior Center looks to be the front-runner for league MVP. He exploded on the scene last season, averaging 17.1 PPG and 10.7 RPG despite the Gauchos' woes. Williams needs to be the veteran leader UCSB turns to in order to make the postseason once more.