#133 Santa Clara Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Santa Clara Broncos
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #133
Conference Rank: #6 West Coast
 Santa Clara Logo
Santa Clara finally started to turn things around last season. Coach Herb Sendek has had the Broncos playing solid basketball during his four seasons leading the program, but 2019-2020 saw Santa Clara win 20 games. In fact, on February 1st the Broncos were 18-6 and at least looked like an NIT team. The team lost their next six games though. That has lessened the expectations heading into the 2020-2021 season, but that was a young squad with no scholarship seniors on the roster. They did lose a few transfers, but this is still a group that has the experience to have their best season yet under Coach Sendek. 
2019-20 Record: 20-13, 6-10
Coach: Herb Sendek
Coach Record: 64-64 at Santa Clara, 477-359 overall
Key Departed Players:
Trey Wertz, Guard, 11.9 ppg
Tahj Eaddy, Guard, 9.1 ppg
David Thompson, Guard, 1.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Josip Vrankic, Senior, Forward, 12.5 ppg
DJ Mitchell, Senior, Forward, 10.7 ppg
Keshawn Justice, Junior, Forward, 9.0 ppg
Jalen Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 7.7 ppg
Guglielmo Caruso, Junior, Forward, 9.7 ppg
Jaden Bediako, Sophomore, Center, 6.4 ppg
Giordan Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Key New Players:
Christian Carlyle, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Florida Gulf Coast
Trent Hudgens, Freshman, Guard
Miguel Tomley, RS Freshman, Guard
Not only does Santa Clara have experience, but they have size too. The six main returning players are all at least 6-6. Josip Vrankic was the most productive of the bunch, leading the team with 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He also tallied 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals. DJ Mitchell and Keshawn Justice add even more flexibility to the frontcourt. Both shot 38.3 percent from beyond the arc last season and are capable of scoring inside and out. Guglielmo Caruso and Jaden Bediako are the more traditional big men and spent much of last season coming in off the bench. That may be the case again this season with all of the options in the frontcourt, but that balanced depth will give Coach Sendek plenty of solid options. Jalen Williams is a big 6-6 guard who had a very good freshman campaign, averaging 7.7 points per game. Fellow sophomore Giordan Williams and a handful of newcomers will have to fill in the rest of the backcourt. Christian Carlyle, a graduate transfer from Florida Gulf Coast, will likely make the biggest impact. Two years ago he averaged 8.1 points per game with the Eagles before missing last season with an injury. If the backcourt can find a playmaker, this frontcourt will lead Santa Clara to their first postseason tournament since 2013 when they won the CBI.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.7 (58th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.7 (241, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.2 (48, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.4 (154, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (147, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.4 (71, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.2 (75, 3)
Rebound Margin: -1.6 (259, 8)
Assists Per Game: 15.4 (27, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (203, 7)