#101 Weber State Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Weber State Wildcats
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #101
Conference Rank: #1 Big Sky
Not surprisingly, Weber State dominated the Big Sky last season. The Wildcats went 15-3 during conference play and captured the regular season and tournament titles. Winning the Big Sky was no easy task, but it was Coach Randy Rahe’s squad that came out in the end. The result was a date with #2 seed Xavier in the NCAA Tournament. That game did not go particularly well, but Weber State will look for another trip to the big dance in 2017. With Jeremy Senglin leading the way, Weber State will be among the favorites. Senglin, a 6-2 senior, averaged 17.9 points per game last season and knocked down an amazing 43.3 percent of his 245 three-point attempts. With that many outside shots, it would be easy to think that Senglin is just a shooter, but he is not. He can attack the basket effectively and his scoring total would have been even higher if he was more consistent at the charity stripe.
2015-16 Record: 26-9, 15-3
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Randy Rahe
Coach Record: 208-113 at Weber State, 208-113 overall
Who’s Out:
The other superstar for Weber State last year was Joel Bolomboy. The 6-9 center averaged 17.1 points and 12.6 rebounds during his senior season. Bolomboy was not a traditional bruiser in the paint and he could knock down some shots too, but there is a huge hole in the frontcourt now. Bolomboy was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft and it is never easy for a program like Weber State to replace a player of Bolomboy’s quality. The only other loss is little used Jeremiah Jefferson.
Who’s In:
Coach Raye has three newcomers in this class and all three will look to add depth to the frontcourt. Nobody is going to come close to replacing Bolomboy, especially from this group right away, but Jordan Dallas is a big 6-10, 220 pound center who can eat up space in the paint. Brenden Morris also redshirted last season and he is a 6-7 forward who can score. The lone incoming freshman is George Darling, a 6-9 200 pounder out of Doncaster, England.
Who to Watch:
The key for Weber State will be finding a player or two who can step up and compliment Senglin. There are certainly options. On the perimeter, McKay Cannon is perhaps the least likely to boost his scoring too much, but the sophomore point guard is a capable outside shooter and will set up his teammates efficiently and effectively. Ryan Richardson is another quality shooter who averaged 6.7 points per game last season. If he wants to average double digits in the scoring column, Richardson will have to turn into more than just a shooter. Richaud Gittens is in the same position, but he has proven that he can score a lot more than his 4.3 points per game last season. Two years ago he averaged 9.9 points per game. Dusty Baker, a 6-4 wing, averaged 5.4 points per game as a sophomore and can attack the basket. Sophomore Cody John showed promise during his freshman campaign, but he had trouble with his outside shot. Juwan Williams saw even less playing time, yet he is a big 6-5 wing who has a ton of potential. Williams may find it tough to find quality minutes again this year though.
Final Projection:
In an effort to replace Bolomboy’s scoring, the best place to look is in the frontcourt. Zach Braxton started beside Bolomboy last season and averaged 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds. He is an efficient scorer in the paint, but without Bolomboy by his side, Braxton may find it more difficult to get easy buckets in the paint. Kyndahl Hill, a 6-7 senior, was third on the team in scoring with 8.2 points per game and second in rebounding with 5.9 per contest. Hill only started three games though. Now he will step into Bolomboy’s old starting spot. He is not as versatile as Bolomboy, but Hill can score in the paint. As long as Hill and Braxton can be as effective as they were last year and others step up to prove that this team is more than just Senglin, Weber State will be the team to beat in a top heavy Big Sky conference.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
McKay Cannon, Sophomore, Guard, 5.5 points per game
Jeremy Senglin, Senior, Guard, 17.9 points per game
Ryan Richardson, Junior, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Kyndahl Hill, Senior, Forward, 8.2 points per game
Zach Braxton, Sophomore, Center, 6.9 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.1 (101st in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (56, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.1 (19, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (75, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.3 (61, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.9 (67, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.4 (266, 10)
Rebound Margin: 3.8 (59, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.7 (138, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (227, 10)