It’s been a while since last season, so just a reminder on how this works. 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
Guard: Silas Melson — Gonzaga Bulldogs
With two incoming transfers and returning starter Josh Perkins, Melson seemed set to be odd-man-out in the Zags’ backcourt this season. But the junior guard got the start in the season-opener, scored a team high 17 points and hit eight of 13 shots.
Guard: Nigel Williams-Goss — Gonzaga Bulldogs
After a 14 point, eight rebound and six assist performance in the season-opener the former Washington Husky looks like the WCC’s most likely triple-double threat. He wears the number five on his jersey, just like former BYU point guard (and NCAA career triple-double record holder) Kyle Collinsworth.
Guard: Ronnie Boyce — San Francisco Dons
A career high 28 points for the senior on an efficient 11-19 shooting (4-9 from three). Small sample size, sure, but Boyce looks like the go-to guy for the Dons. He took 47.9% of the Dons’ shots while on the court.
Forward: Chris Reyes — Pepperdine Waves
The senior forward took a long and winding road to find playing time in the WCC. After starting his collegiate career at Saint Mary’s Reyes transferred to Utah. Friday night in his first game as a Wave he registered 20 points (10-11 FG), six rebounds and five assists. Not a bad debut.
Center: Jock Landale — Saint Mary’s Gaels
The junior set a career high with 33 points on 15 of 20 in the Gaels’ season-opener. Making that even more impressive was that it came against a quality Nevada squad.
1. Saint Mary’s Gaels (1-0)
Last week: W 81-63 vs. Nevada
This week: 11/16 vs. Prairie View A&M, 11/19 at Dayton
We knew Randy Bennett’s Gaels would play pretty offensive basketball — Joe Rahon and Emmett Naar both notched eight assists — but this high scoring output against a quality Nevada squad was a bit surprising. Also surprising is the fact that I just described a team on the Gaels’ non-conference schedule as being quality, and there’s another one coming up this week in the Dayton Flyers.
2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (1-0)
Last week: W 92-69 vs. Utah Valley
This week: 11/14 vs. San Diego State, 11/18 vs. Bryant
Before garbage time rolled around the Zags played a nine-man rotation, six of whom had not played a single minute in a Gonzaga jersey before Friday. The question was chemistry with this roster of new faces, but they put up 92 points (1.15 points/possession) in their first game together. Monday’s test against the San Diego State defense will tell us a lot.
3. BYU Cougars (0-0)
Last week: N/A
This week: 11/14 vs. Princeton, 11/17 vs. Coppin State, 11/19 vs. Coastal Carolina
Why wouldn’t you play a game on opening night? Why wouldn’t you play at all on the opening weekend? These are the questions I want to ask the BYU staff.
4. Pepperdine Waves (1-0)
Last week: W 77-68 vs. Cal Poly
This week: 11/15 vs. Weber State, 11/17 vs. Live Pacific
Jeremy Major had 11 assists and Amadi Udenyi had seven. Point guard play wasn’t the question for the Waves this season, it was how they’d replace Stacy Davis and Jett Raines inside. Well, Chris Reyes made the team of the week and went 10-11 from the field so, maybe we’ve got an answer.
5. Portland Pilots (1-0)
Last week: W 71-55 vs. UC Riverside
This week: 11/15 at San Jose State, 11/18 vs. Lewis and Clark
Alec Wintering had 24 points and eight assists in the season-opener. Run of the mill for the senior point guard. The big step for Terry Porter’s Pilots was that Jazz Johnson played a very efficient game next to Wintering in the backcourt. Could it be the start of a brilliant backcourt pairing?
6. Loyola Marymount Lions (1-0)
Last week: W 99-51 vs. Vanguard
This week: 11/14 at Nevada, 11/17 vs. Connecticut
The Lions didn’t play a Division I opponent in their opener. But a 99 point, 50.7% FG performance for this mix of veterans, transfers and newcomers is encouraging regardless of who it comes against.
7. San Francisco Dons (1-0)
Last week: W 82-80 vs. Illinois-Chicago
This week: 11/16 at UC Santa Barbara
I had the Dons dead last in my preseason power rankings, so this is a pretty big jump for them. A two point win at home over UIC isn’t convincing though. But, a win is a win and no teams below them can say they’ve got a winning record at this point.
8. Santa Clara Broncos (1-2)
Last week: W 67-64 vs. Northern Arizona, L 63-58 vs. UC Davis, L 69-61 vs. Tennessee State
This week: 11/19 vs. Northern Colorado
The 50th annual Cable Car Classic was a ... it happened for the Broncos. A 1-2 record and Jared Brownridge (13.7 ppg) has offensive rating of just 84.2. First year head coach Herb Sendek isn’t off to a good start, and neither is his senior stud.
9. San Diego Toreros (0-1)
Last week: L 69-59 at San Diego State
This week: 11/14 vs. Samford, 11/17 at UCLA, 11/20 vs. Nicholls State
Last season the Toreros posted an offensive efficiency over 100 in just eight games. So far this season they’ve yet to hit that figure, but they managed 98.0 against a high level Aztecs defense.
10. Pacific Tigers (0-1)
Last week: L 119-80 at UCLA
Next week: 11/14 vs. Green Bay, 11/19 at UC Irvine
The Tigers gave up 119 points. But they didn’t look too bad on offense. But they got blown out by nearly 40 points. Ouch.