#100 Western Michigan Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Western Michigan Broncos

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #100
Conference Rank: #2 Mid-American

Western Michigan Team Page#100 Western Michigan Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Western Michigan Basketball Tickets

Following a very disappointing 2011-2012 campaign, Western Michigan rebounded very nicely with a 22 win season and a decent run through the CBI. The Broncos managed to tie with Toledo atop the Mid-American Conference West division with a 10-6 mark. The Mid-American Conference race is usually close and this season will be no different. This is a relatively young squad, yet Coach Steve Hawkins has the talent to make another run for a conference title.

2012-13 Record: 22-13, 10-6
2012-13 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Steve Hawkins
Coach Record: 181-145 at Western Michigan, 181-145 overall

Who’s Out:
Darius Paul, Nate Hutcheson and Brandon Pokley were all starters in 2012-2013. Paul never really found his mid-range jumper, but that did not stop him from averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds. Hutcheson was also a double figure scorer and added some size on the wing. Pokley was the most efficient and prolific three-point shooter. The Broncos did not shoot particularly well from beyond the arc last season and losing Pokley could be a big blow. Forward Dan Loney is the only other departure. He saw limited action off of the bench.

Who’s In:
This is a pretty good group of freshmen and there are minutes that will need to be filled. Charles Harris, Tucker Haymond, Bishop Robinson, Leo Svete and Von Washington will be looking for playing time on the perimeter. Harris saw action in six games a season ago before redshirting the rest of the way. He is a good athlete who can get to the rim. Haymond is the other one in that group to watch right away. The athletic 6-6 wing can get up and down the floor and slash to the basket. His outside shooting needs a little work but he will be able to shoot over some defenders. More importantly, his size will help Western Michigan remain a strong rebounding team. Power forwards Mario Matasovic and Kellen McCormick add a shooting threat to the frontcourt. McCormick, the son of former Michigan standout Tim McCormick, redshirted last season. If he can play defense, McCormick could make a big splash on the other end of the court. At the least, he can provide a nice spark off of the bench.

Who to Watch:
Shayne Whittington, Austin Richie, Jared Klein, David Brown and Connar Tava are the experienced options for Coach Hawkins. Whittington, a 6-11 senior, had a breakout season in 2012-2013, averaging 13.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. The offense should again work through the talented big man. Richie is a capable ball handler and was the only player who saw significant action to have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. He only averaged 6.1 points per game, but he is a decent enough outside shooter to keep the opposition honest. Klein will attack the basket with more urgency and could make big strides as a sophomore. Klein did fall into that category of more turnovers than assists and that has to change if he is going to push Richie for minutes running the point. Brown missed nearly all of the 2011-2012 campaign with an injury and was out for the first 13 games of the 2012-2013 season. When he finally made it back onto the floor, he wasted little time getting back into the swing of things. Brown, who earned MAC Sixth Man of the Year honors, averaged 11.0 points per game and knocked down 34.4 percent of his attempts from long range. He is the scoring threat the perimeter needs. Tava could be the most interesting player for WMU. The 6-5 sophomore has shown flashes of his potential, but there is a lot more to come. Tava is a good shooter and a tough rebounder. He can handle the ball and block a few shots. He basically does a bit of everything and has the potential to be a double-digit scorer before his days in Kalamazoo are done.

Final Projection:
Experienced depth is not something this team will have, but that happens when there are just three upperclassmen that are expected to be in the regular rotation. Sophomore guard Taylor Perry and forward A.J. Avery averaged less than eight minutes per game last year, but they will be in the mix with the newcomers. In fact, Avery has more toughness than Matasovic and McCormick and Coach Hawkins will need him to do the dirty work beside Whittington. Avery is not likely to put up big numbers, but there are enough scorers on this team. If he can play decent defense and hit the glass hard, he could earn a starting job depending on the competition. Staying healthy is a must and getting production out of a few freshmen would be extremely helpful, but this group does have the talent to reach a postseason tournament of some sort again in 2014.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Austin Richie, Junior, Guard, 6.1 points per game
David Brown, Senior, Guard, 11.0 points per game
Connar Tava, Sophomore, Forward, 4.5 points per game
A.J. Avery, Sophomore, Forward, 1.1 points per game
Shayne Whittington, Senior, Center, 13.2 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.9 (188th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.9 (105, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.2 (180, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.6 (72, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.4 (256, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.0 (240, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.3 (150, 6)
Rebound Margin: 5.6 (28, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.8 (244, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.6 (269, 10)


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