New this season is the WCC team of the week. Every Monday I'll present the five best players from the previous week. It won't necessarily be one player from each position, but I won't let it be exclusively guards or forwards, either. Behold!
Team of the Week
|Kyle Collinsworth||Guard, BYU Cougars|
|Emmett Naar||Guard, Saint Mary's Gaels|
|Bryce Pressley||Guard, Portland Pilots|
|Kyle Davis||Forward, BYU Cougars|
|Adom Jacko||Forward, LMU Lions|
Kyle Collinsworth: 17 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists vs. Utah Valley
The senior point guard didn't come up with a triple-double, which is almost a disappointment at this point, but he came close and got a win. Collinsworth showed he can still rack up assists even without Tyler Haws on the floor.
Emmett Naar: 27 points (9-13 FG, 7-11 3pt FG), 5 assists vs. San Francisco State
It took ten-and-a-half minutes for the Gaels' sophomore guard to score. Three minutes later he had bested his previous career high of 14 points. After missing his first two shots the Aussie went on to make ten of his final 12.
Bryce Pressley: 30 points (8-11 3pt FG) and 9 reb vs. Oregon Tech
Like Naar, Pressley opened the season with a career high outing against a non-Division I opponent. The 6-foot-4 senior followed that with a respectable 10 point, six rebound outing in a loss at UC Davis.
Kyle Davis: 17 points, 20 rebounds vs. Utah Valley
In his first game as a Cougar —Davis played last at Utah State— the 6-foot-8 transfer set a career high for rebounds and fell just four points short of his career best in that category.
Adom Jacko: 22 points, 10 rebounds vs. Cal State Fullerton, 17 points, 6 rebounds at UC Irvine.
Despite coming off the bench Jacko has been LMU's leading scorer and rebounder in both games this season. The 6-foot-7 juco transfer appears up to Division I level right out of the gate.
This is the small sample size edition of the power rankings. Two of these teams haven't played a D-1 opponent yet and one team technically hasn't played at all. Keep that in mind when you're making critical comments, make them angrier.
1. BYU Cougars (1-0)
Last week: W 85-54 vs. Utah Valley
This is still the high-speed, high-scoring BYU team we've seen over years past. But it's now also a team that is bought into playing defense and features a strong frontcourt. Tyler Haws is gone, but the Cougars might be better than last season. The Cougars' 68 rebounds on Friday set a Marriott Center record.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0)
Last week: N/A vs. Pittsburgh (suspended)
It's hard to drop a team for playing half a game on the worst court ever, but it had to be done. Gonzaga started all three bigs —the best frontcourt in the nation— but had a lot of trouble getting the ball to them. Kyle Wiltjer looked like the scoring machine we expected, but the rest of the team didn't. Pitt led 37-35 at half when the game was called off.
3. Pepperdine Waves (0-1)
Last week: L 66-69 at Fresno State
It's early. Chalk this one up to jitters and move on. Those last four minutes or so saw the Waves turn the ball over six times, and cough up an eight point lead. Fresno State won't be a bad loss come March, but this was a game Pepperdine should've won. This is still an elite defensive team —Fresno State scored just 0.88 points per possession on Friday.
4. Saint Mary's Gaels (1-0)
Last week: W 80-56 vs. San Francisco State
San Francisco State isn't a Division I program, I'm not going to move the Gaels up for winning a game that barely counts. This is still a team that lost all five starters, and the new guys haven't yet shown if they can succeed at the D1 level. Emmett Naar, Dane Pineau and Evan Fitzner look capable, though. But they've all played at this level before.
5. San Francisco Dons (1-0)
Last week: W 78-75 at UIC
The Dons went half way across the country and picked up a win. It wasn't efficient and it wasn't convincing but it was balanced and high-scoring. Tim Derksen (17 points, 12 rebounds) looks ready for a season of senior leadership. With all kinds of roster turnover, that's something Rex Walters has to be happy to see.
6. LMU Lions (1-1)
Last week: W 79-74 vs. Cal State Fullerton, L 77-53 at UC Irvine
This team can't shoot (34.7% FG). They can't really defend either (74 and 77 points allowed). But that's pretty much what we expected. Mike Dunlap went out and found a bunch of talented JUCO transfers this offseason. They've proven up to the task, now they just need to gel a little more.
7. Portland Pilots (1-1)
Last week: W 98-81 vs. Oregon Tech, L 79-66 at UC Davis
Like LMU, this team can't really shoot and can't really defend. If an NAIA team can walk into your gym and put up 81 points how do you stop D1 teams? Maybe Portland can't, seeing that UC Davis dropped 79 on them. Unlike LMU, this team doesn't really have the potential to gel and improve.
8. Pacific Tigers (0-1)
Last week: L 61-79 at No. 12 Arizona
It was a valiant effort from a shorthanded Tigers squad in one of the tougher gyms in the nation against a top-15 team. They still lost by 18. The step forward many expected in the Tigers' third year is now overshadowed by an NCAA investigation that caused Pacific to voluntarily withhold three players from the game.
9. San Diego Toreros (0-1)
Last week: L 83-45 at USC
San Diego can't score. They couldn't last year, either. They lost their best players from that squad, along with the coach. This is probably the highest they climb in the rankings.
10. Santa Clara Broncos (0-3)
Last week: L 65-63 vs. Lipscomb (2OT), L 55-33 vs. Denver, L 71-65 vs. Milwaukee
Three home games in as many days to start the season, because of their annual Cable Car Classic. The first game was heartbreaking, the second was embarrassing and the third was just a loss. It's not easy to make adjustments with back-to-back-to-back games. So there's hope, because adjustments are needed.