This Gonzaga team should be much better than the 2017-2018 team that went to the sweet sixteen. BYU should get better with Nick Emery back. Saint Mary’s defense should be just as good as has been in previous seasons. And all other teams should fall in place. With that said, here is how we predict the WCC would like by the end of the 2018-2019 season:

1. Gonzaga Basketball

Coach: Mark Few

Off Roster:
Graduated: Silas Melson and Johnathan Williams
Transferred: Jesse Wade (BYU)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Zach Norvell Jr. (SG), Killian Tillie (PF), Josh Perkins (PG, Rui Hachimura (SF), , Corey Kispert (SF), and Jeremy Jones (SF)
Key Transfer(s): Brandon Clarke (SF, San Jose State) and Geno Crandall (PG, North Dakota)
Key Freshmen Added:  Greg Foster, Jr. (PG), Filip Petrušev (PF), and Joel Ayayi(RS)

Gonzaga will return four (4) players, Zach Norvell Jr., Killian Tillie, Rui Hachimura, and Josh Perkins, all who averaged double digits in scoring last season. With the four (4) on board, Gonzaga put up, on average, 83.5 points per game, which made this team the 11th best scoring team in the nation in 2017-2018.

Scoring will, more than likely, increase for this team with the additions of two (2) high scoring division 1 transfers, Brandon Clarke and Geno Crandall. Clarke averaged 17.5 points per game in his final season at San Jose State. Crandall averaged 16.6 points per game in his final season at North Dakota.

Gonzaga will be a hard team to beat in 2018-2019.

2017-2018 Record: 32-5 (17-1) NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Finish
Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Finish or Greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  16+

2. BYU Basketball

Coach: Dave Rose

Off Roster:
Possibly Turned PRO: Elijah Bryant,

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: TJ Haws (SG), Yoeli Childs (PF), Jahshire Hardnett (PG), Nick Emery (PG), Luke Worthington (PF), Dalton Nixon (SF), Zac Seljaas (SG), and Rylan Bergersen (SG)
Key Freshmen Added:  Gavin Baxter (SF), Kolby Lee (RS, C), and Connor Harding (SF)

BYU is the sleeper for 2018-2019. BYU has several players returning, which includes five (5) starters from previous seasons. With this team BYU finished 3rd in the WCC and in the quarterfinals of the NIT.

The player to watch out for is Nick Emery, who started in thirty-three (33) games in 2016-2017 and was the team’s 3rd best point producer. Emery missed the entire 2017-18 season due to personal reasons and whatever he had done as a result of those personal issues has earned him a nine (9) game suspension for the 2018-2019 season. Emery averaged 13.1 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game in 2016-2017. Hopefully, all of Emery’s personal problems have been solved and he’s ready to commit 100% mentally. If so, BYU could seriously challenge Gonzaga for the WCC regular season and Tournament Championships.

2017-2018 Record: 30-6 (16-2) NIT Quarterfinals Finish
Post Season Predictions: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round Exit or Greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  16-

3. Saint Mary's Basketball

Coach: Randy Bennett

Off Roster:
Graduated: Calvin Hermanson, Jock Landale, and Emmett Naar
Transferred: Evan Fitzner (Indiana)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Jordan Ford (PG), Tanner Krebs (SG), Kyle Clark (SF), Jordan Hunter (PF), Elijah Thomas (SF), and Jock Perry (C)
Key Transfer(s): Aaron Menzies (C, Seattle)
Key Freshmen Added:  Kristers Zoriks (PG), Matthias Tass (C), Alex Mudronja (PG), Quinn Clinton (PG), and Daniel Fotu (SF)

Saint Mary's has always been known for their tight and viscous defense. Don’t expect anything different this 2018-2019 season. But what we can expect to be slightly different is the team’s offence. With Calvin Hermanson, Jock Landale, and Emmett Naar missing from the roster, this team will be losing over 41 points per game. The question is, with several freshmen and bench players on the roster, who saw limited minutes last season, who’s going to make up the 41 points?

2017-2018 Record: 30-6 (16-2) NIT Quarterfinals Finish
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or Less
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  14-

4. San Diego Basketball

Coach: Sam Scholl

Off Roster:
Graduated: Cameron Neubauer
Transferred: Juwan Gray (Towson)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Isaiah Wright (PG), Isaiah Pineiro (SF), Olin Carter III (PG), Tyler Williams (SG), Yauhen Massalski (PF), Alex Floresca (SF), and Jose Martinez (PF)
Key Freshmen Added:  Akim-Jamal Jonah (PF), Andrew Ferguson (PF), Emanuel Hylton (SG), Joey Calcaterra(RS)

San Diego is a very experienced team with several seniors returning. Four (4) of those seniors were starters in 2017-2018. San Diego should remain a very good defensive team. However, depth may be an issue. Does this team have the depth to sustain a lead and to pull away from a team? San Diego was ranked 262nd in the nation and 7th in the WCC in offensive scoring last season.

2017-2018 Record: 20-14 (9-9) CIT Quaterfinals
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  11+

5. San Francisco Basketball

Coach: Kyle Smith

Off Roster:
Graduated: Chase Foster
Transferred: Souley Boum (UTEP), Erik Poulsen (Oregon)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Frankie Ferrari (PG), Jordan Ratinho (PG), Charles Minlend (SG), Nate Renfro (PF), Matt McCarthy (PF), Jamaree Bouyea (PG), Remu Raitanen (PF), Taavi Jurkatamm (PF), and Jimbo Lull (C)
Key Freshmen Added:  Trevante Anderson (PG), Dylan Belquist (SF), and Dmitry Ryuny (PF)

San Francisco will have four starters returning from the 2017-2018 season and one (1) starter, Charles Minlend, returning from the 2016-2017 season. If Charles Minlend remains healthy, this team could be a challenge in the WCC. Minlend missed all of the 2017-2018 season due to injury. He averaged 10 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 33 games in 2016-2017. San Francisco had one of the worst scoring offenses in the WCC last season. Minlend’s 10 points per game should be enough to maintain a lead and to help the team to improve in the scoring category.

2017-2018 Record: 22-17 (9-9) CBI Finals
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  11+

6. Pacific Basketball

Coach: Damon Stoudamire

Off Roster:
Graduated: Namdi Okonkwo,
Transferred: Jack Williams, Miles Reynolds (Oklahoma)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Roberto Gallinat (SG), Jahlil Tripp (SF), Lafayette Dorsey (PG), Kendall Small (PG), and Anthony Townes (SF)
Transfer(s):  Khy Kabellis (PG, North Dakota State), Jeremiah Bailey (PF, Pima), Zach Cameron (PF, Mineral Area), Amari McCray (C, Howard (TX)), and Zach Cameron (C, Mineral Area)
Key Freshmen Added:  Ajare Sanni (SG) and Jahbril Price-Noel (SG)

Pacific will have a good mixture of returning players and transfers on their roster for 2018-2019. This team will be returning two (2) of their top scorers, Roberto Gallinat and Jahlil Tripp.

The transfer to watch is, JUCO transfer, Jeremiah Bailey, who can play both ends of the floor. He is a scorer, a great rebounder, and a great defender. Bailey averaged 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in his final season at Prima Community College. He will joined by D1 transfer, Khy Kabellis, who was the 2nd best scorer in his final season at North Dakota State. Kabellis averaged 11.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game.

2017-2018 Record: 14-18 (9-9) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: NIT Appearance or greater
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  10-

7. Santa Clara Basketball

Coach: Herb Sendek

Off Roster:
Graduated: Henry Caruso, Kai Healy, Matt Jasaitis, Emmanuel Ndumanya, and Jarvis Pugh

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: KJ Feagin (PG), Josip Vrankic (PF), Matt Hauser (PG), and Henrik Jadersten (C)
Transfer(s):  Josh Martin (PF, Cal Poly), Tahj Eaddy (PG, SE Missouri State) and Fallou Ndoye (C, CSU Bakersfield)
Key Freshmen Added:  Juan Ducasse (PF), Trey Wertz (SG), Keshawn Justice (SF), Ezekial Richards (C), and Guglielmo Caruso (PF)

Santa Clara will return three (3) starters from the 2017-2018 season in KJ Feagin, Josip Vrankic, and Matt Hauser. Lack of depth was a problem for this team in 2017-2018. As a result, Santa Clara was one of the worst scoring teams in the nation last season. They ended the season with a -5.7 scoring margin, which means the opponent put up, on average, more points than the team.

This team also had problems in the rebounding category last season.

Hopefully, this Santa Clara will do better in 2018-2019.

2017-2018 Record: 11-20 (8-10) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  6-

8. Loyola Marymount Basketball

Coach: Mike Dunlap

Off Roster:
Graduated: Steven Haney
Transferred: Mikail Simmons

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: James Batemon (PG), Eli Scott (SF), Erik Johansson (SG), Mattias Markusson (C), Petr Herman (PF), Jeffery McClendon (SG), Zafir Williams (PF), Cameron Allen (PG), Joe Quintana (SG), and Donald Gipson (SG)
Key Freshmen Added:  Dameane Douglas (SF) and Ivan Alipiev (SF)

Loyola Marymount will return several players from their 2017-2018 season, which includes starters James Batemon, Eli Scott, Erik Johansson, and Mattias Markusson. Hopefully, forward Petr Herman will be healthy enough to contribute some valuable minutes to the team. Herman played in 25 games in 2016-2017, averaging 4.2 point and 3.0 rebounds per game. Herman sat nearly the entire 2017-2018 season due to injury. Loyola Marymount can desperately use his rebounding and scoring to compete in the WCC.

2017-2018 Record: 11-20 (5-13) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  5+

9. Portland Basketball

Coach: Terry Porter

Off Roster:
Graduated: Philipp Hartwich and D'Marques Tyson
Transferred: Joseph Smoyer (Columbia)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Marcus Shaver Jr. (PG), Josh McSwiggan (SF), JoJo Walker (PG), Franklin Porter (SG), Tahirou Diabate (PF), Malcolm Porter (SG), and Taki Fahrensohn (RS, SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Crisshawn Clark (SG, Pitts) and Jacob Tryon (PF, East Los Angeles)
Key Freshmen Added:  Josh Phillips (PF), and Theo Akwuba (C)

Portland is returning all five starters from the 2017-2018 season in Marcus Shaver Jr., Josh McSwiggan, JoJo Walker, Franklin Porter, and Tahirou Diabate. However, this team is going to have to do better with moving the ball and putting points up on the boards. Portland ended the 2017-2018 season with only two (2) players averaging double digits in scoring. In addition, there was not one player on the team to average more than three (3) assists per game.

This team may still have an uphill battle getting to the top of the WCC.

2017-2018 Record: 10-22 (4-14) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  5-

10. Pepperdine Basketball

Coach: Lorenzo Romar

Off Roster:
Graduated: Matthew Atewe, Amadi Udenyi, and Kevin Hempy
Transferred: Trae Berhow (Northern Iowa) and Knox Hellums (UTSA)

On Roster:
Key Players Possibly Returning: Colbey Ross (PG), Eric Cooper Jr. (PG), Kameron Edwards (SF), Darnell Dunn (PF), Jade' Smith (PG), and Kaijae Yee-Stephens (RS, SG)
Key Transfer(s) added: Kessl, er Edwards (SF), Andre Ball (SF), Jackson Stormo (C), and Darryl Polk, Jr. (PG)
Key Freshmen Added:  Victor Ohia Obioha (C)

Pepperdine has their top three (3) scorers, Colbey Ross, Eric Cooper Jr., and Kameron Edwards, returning from their 2017-2018 season. But what good is to have your top scorers returning when they can’t stop anybody. Pepperdine had the worst scoring defense in the WCC last year, allowing their opponent to put up, on average, 78.6 point per game. There is no indication that this team has made the changes designed to address this problem.

2017-2018 Record: 6-26 (2-16) No Appearance
Post Season Predictions: No Appearance
Projected Conference Wins 2018-2019:  5-

Jack Williams
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WCC College Basketball Predictions 2018-2019

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Jack Williams is the Owner and Operator of D1Coachcorner.com, a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and a member of the USBWA. Twitter: @d1coachcorner

November 1, 2018
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