#127 Weber State Men's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

Weber State Wildcats

2012-2013 Overall Rank: #127
Conference Rank: #2 Big Sky
Weber State Men's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
Weber State Team Page


No team can lose a player who averaged 24.5 points, 4.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals and expect to improve. Damian Lillard was the heart and soul of Weber State and ended up being drafted sixth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Wildcats will need to find a new identity, but it may not be quite as difficult as it sounds. Coming off a tough season where they missed out on the NIT thanks to Montana and a week later the NCAA Tournament thanks to Montana, the Wildcats will be right back in the mix for a Big Sky title, even without Lillard.

2011-12 Record: 25-7, 14-2
2011-12 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Randy Rahe
Coach Record: 120-68 at Weber State, 120-68 overall

Who’s Out:
Losing Lillard alone would be enough to knock down any team a peg or two, but he is not the only departure for Weber State. Kyle Bullinger and Darin Mahoney were both starting forwards for most of their senior seasons. Bullinger was a relatively dynamic scorer who could stretch out the defense with his outside shooting, while Mahoney was the defensive presence in the paint and easily the best rebounder Weber State had on the roster. Little used Mike Brown has left the program after his freshman season.

Who’s In:
Despite the losses, Weber State will mostly just need the newcomers to provide quality depth. The exception is likely on the wing, where there should be a fierce competition for a starting gig. Davion Berry, a transfer from Cal State Monterey Bay, was with the team last season and may have a leg up in the competition for that reason. Berry is also a tremendous scorer who averaged 18.3 points during his two years playing at the Division II level. He can score in bunches, as his 41 point outing two years ago would imply, and from anywhere on the floor. At 6-4, he also has the size to help out on the glass and attack the basket. Junior college transfers Abdusamad Zaid, Royce Williams and Wayne Bradford are a few more experienced options. Zaid is more of a point guard than a scorer, but could be involved in a battle of his own for playing time at the point. The incoming freshmen are led by big man Joel Bolombay. Bolombay may need a little time to gain strength, but in the long run he is expected to make a pretty big impact. Kyndahl Hill, a 6-7 forward, will look for a few minutes in a suddenly crowded roster as well.

Who to Watch:
Jordan Richardson is the heir apparent to Lillard. The 6-1 junior did start 14 games last season allowing Lillard to play more off of the ball. Thus, he is already an experienced point guard. He may not score much, although there are shots to be had now, but as long as Richardson can find his teammates and keep his assist-to-turnover ratio as impressive as it was in 2011-2012, he will be running the show. Scott Bamforth was second to Lillard in scoring last season, averaging 14.5 points per game and will start on one of the wings. Bamforth is a superb outside shooter, knocking down 40.1 percent of his 6.2 three-point attempts per contest. He will be asked to do a lot more scoring this time around. Gelaun Wheelwright is the only other returning guard on the roster. Wheelwright showed plenty of promise during his limited playing time as a freshman and could be in for a big season if he can hold off all of those newcomers.

Final Projection:
While others may get more attention, this team runs through center Kyle Tresnak. That will be the case even more in 2012-2013. The 6-10 junior is a major scoring threat inside, averaging 10.0 points per game last season, and that helped open up looks for shooters like Bamforth and Lillard. The same will happen this year, but Tresnak does need to improve his rebounding or this team will miss Mahoney a lot more than they think. If rebounding turns into a big problem, expect to see more of Frank Otis. Limited to just a dozen games last season, Otis is ready to step back into the Wildcats frontcourt. He may only be 6-6, but he is the toughest rebounder this team has right now. Byron Fulton is another option. Fulton really does do a fine job on the glass considering how much time he spends beyond the arc. Fulton can stretch out the defense from the power forward spot, but last year Coach Randy Rahe exclusively used him as a shooter off of the bench. James Hajek could be in for more minutes after limited action as a freshman. Weber State has options and a lot of shooters. This is a team that can put Bamforth, Berry and Fulton on the floor at the same time and those three will knock down a ton of shots. This group may not be better without Lillard, but they will not fall far either. And maybe they can get their revenge on Montana.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jordan Richardson, Junior, Guard, 4.2 points per game
Scott Bamforth, Senior, Guard, 14.5 points per game
Davion Berry, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Byron Fulton, Junior, Forward, 7.2 points per game
Kyle Tresnak, Junior, Center, 10.0 points per game