2012-2013 was a breakout season for the MWC sending five teams to the NCAA Tournament. No MWC team reached the second weekend, but what’s more startling is the list of teams that eliminated the league’s team from the tournament: No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast, No. 14 Harvard, No. 13 La Salle and No. 12 Cal. Only Colorado State could leave the tournament holding its head up high, and the eighth-seeded Rams lost in the round of 32 to Louisville. Biggest disappointments: NMU losing to Harvard, so long Steve Alford and UNLV to Cal, so long Anthony Bennett and Mike Moser. Only SDSU and Colorado State had a respectable tourney.
With that said, will the MWC reload for the 2013-2014 and recruit top prospects, unfortunately at this point of the year the answer is "No."
Let’s take a look at who is entering in to the Nations No. 11 RPI conference this fall. I use that No. 1 loosely after being disappointed in March and fear that the chants of overrated may have been dead on.
The best teams get better and then there is everyone else. San Diego State appears to have the strongest incoming class with two 4 star wings: Dakari Allen 6’5" and RS freshman Matt Shringly 6’6" wing players and PG D’Erryl Williams a solid 6’3" PG from Sheldon HS. The Aztecs need to replace 63% of their total scoring; as they lose NBA bound Jamaal Franklin and senior starters Chase Tapley, Deshawn Stephens and James Rahon. Jamal Jones a 6’8" juco wing has narrowed down the Aztecs to his top choices.
The Running Rebels have no loss of talent either with three incoming recruits, 4 star 6’10" Christian Wood from hometown Findlay Prep, 3 star Kendall Smith SG and 6’5" Juco transfer Jelan Kendrick. But the Rebs lose 60% of their offense with the loss NBA bound Anthony Bennett; Udub bound Mike Moser and 3 4 year seniors. UNLV and SDSU will fight in out for Shabazz Muhammad’s little brother Rashad another 6’4" SG.
Lobo Nation won’t fair much better not only is Head Coach Steve Alford in Westwood but Bryce Alford is coming along with dad. Bryce a 3 star SG was Mr. Basketball New Mexico. Tony Snell applies for the NBA draft as well leaving a hole at SG. Will Cullen Neal follow his dad to Albuquerque now that team Alford is gone? Cullen is a 6’4 SG who has spent his HS career in the shadow of Bryce Alford. Currently, Cullen is the #1 recruit at St Mary’s but I assume dad will ask him to reconsider. UNM also brings in 6’7" PF Tim Myles.
The Rams lose 5 senior starters and over 80% of scoring with NBA fence sitters Colton Iverson and Dorian Green. Will 6’11 JC transfer Marcus Holt fill the shoes of Iverson? And will recruit guards David Cohen and Carlton Hurst get playtime? Both are 3 star players.
Boise State should be strong as the current squad is made up of freshman and sophomores. They have 3 recruits coming in, 2 star Dezmyn Trent just committed in March.
Three players to watch for are Fresno State PF Soma Edo 6’5" 225, UN Reno’s SF D.J Fenner out of Seattle Prep. He won’t however make up for the loses of Jordan Burris 6’7" and Devonte Elliott 6’10 who want out of the program. The last on the watch list is 6’4" SG Joe McGlaston who has committed to Utah State.
Here’s how the rest of MWC look for incoming recruits: Wyoming 67, Utah St 67, Fresno State 65, San Jose State 58, Boise St 55 and AF 55 (Average player rating.)
These will all change once the list of transfers comes out and players look to the MWC for more playtime and better competition. So far 100 players have decided to make the move, last year a record 450 transfers players changed schools and I expect more of the same this year.