The 2014 Wooden Legacy tournament features eight total teams from various conferences across the country. The teams included are Princeton, UTEP, San Diego, Xavier, Long Beach State, Western Michigan, Washington and the Mountain West's own San Jose State.
We reached out to various websites that cover these teams to get to know them a bit better, so go check out those sites and see what else they have to offer.
After losing its best player and leading scorer, C.J. Wilcox, to the NBA, the Huskies are hoping to once again become a contender in the Pac-12 after missing the NCAA tournament the last three seasons. So far this year the Huskies are 3-0 but have won against lesser opponents. Senior post Shawn Kemp Jr. has emerged as the UW's leading scorer after never averaging more than seven points per game during his first three seasons.
Fourth year junior Andrew Andrews and sophomore Nigel Williams-Goss command the backcourt for the Huskies and both have provided significant scoring, averaging 13.7 and 12.7 points respectively. Fresno State transfer Robert Upshaw recorded seven blocks in each of the UW's first two games, tying the single game school record, and is also averaging 8.3 points and five rebounds. Through the first three games the Huskies have been hampered by poor outside shooting, connecting on just 18-of-68 3-pointers. The Huskies have a lot of length at every position and the potential to emerge as one of the Pac-12's best defensive teams, something they struggled with a season ago.
Western Michigan enters the tournament as defending MAC Champions, and return almost everyone from that team. Only center Shayne Whittington graduated, and although he's now in the NBA, the Broncos look poised to contend for the MAC title again with a core featuring studs like David Brown, Tucker Haymond, and Connor Tava filling in the middle of the lineup and senior point-guard Austin Richie running the show for a third straight year.
Brown, Haymond, and Richie all generally share the scoring load, with Tava being a stat-sheet stuffer at the 4. So far, Western Michigan has held their own against the likes of Oakland and Drake, and have a 4-1 record to show for it. Like most Steve Hawkins teams, this team plays solid defense, but executes well in the half-court offense. Should the Broncos get set, and Haymond, Brown, or any other WMU shooter gets hot, Western Michigan could knock off a team or two.
UTEP Miners, Miner Rush
Having only played only two games so far in the first week and a half of the season, the jury is still out for folks outside of El Paso about this year's version of the UTEP Miners. There are two things that are for sure about Tim Floyd's latest bunch, UTEP can defend, and Vince Hunter is a true star.
Hunter opened the season with a 14 point, 16 rebound effort in the season opening win against Washington State, and after a rough first half against NMSU, Hunter finished with 23 and 10 in a hard fought comeback win against the Aggies.
After losing three scholarship guards in late December last season, UTEP reloaded with one of the best prep players in the state of Oklahoma in Omega Harris who had 13 points against NMSU, and has the speed defensively to frustrated established, veteran guards.
The Miners of course return the best defender in the C-USA in Julian Washburn who is also a scoring threat along with two battle tested seniors in Cedrick Lang and C.J. Cooper. Although now Tim Floyd has plenty of guards, and versatile big men at his disposal that can create huge match up problems for teams that lack depth.
JUCO and former Kent State transfer Earvin Morris combined with Washburn shut down Wazzu's Davonte Lacy, while freshman guard Lew Stallworth has also shown flashes of being a legit true point guard at the college level. 6'11 junior Hooper Vint, and 7'1 sophomore Matt Willms usually draw major attention, though both have consistency issues that have to be worked out during this three game stretch.
The Miners are still searching for identities on offense, as well as lineup combos that can produce points, but there is no denying UTEP's ability to shut teams down.
One of the bigger teams size wise in the C-USA and the country, the Miners have the length, depth, and athleticism to defend like a top-25 team, but the thing to watch over the Wooden Legacy Classic stay is can they find a consistent scoring chemistry on offense? And also find a guard combo that can take care of the ball better, and feed the proven depth UTEP has in the front court.
The 49ers were an enigma last season, but are exactly who we expected this year. Long Beach St is 2-3 on the season with a close loss to BYU and blowout losses to Xavier and UCLA, however they also have a win against Kansas State. The 49ers are led by Mike Caffey who is averaging 18.2 PPG, and also David Samuels who has taken more of an active role this season, averaging 10.2 PPG and 6.0 RPG. Tyler Lamb will also be a player to watch out for, now that he is getting his feet wet again after serving a two-game suspension. If Monson can get his seniors hot early versus Western Michigan, he should overtake Jerry Tarkanian's record for wins at the Wooden Legacy.
So apparently Xavier is an offensive juggernaut now, which is good, because our defense isn't heroic. Last time out made the depth chart setting a little trickier, as both power forwards played well and pretty much everyone with a scholarship got onto the floor. When everything is clicking like that, it's the finest of margins that determine who plays and who watches.
- Dee Davis seems to be just fine, honestly.
- Edmond Sumner debuted and looked good - if a bit nervous - against Murray State.
- Makinde London is still redshirting and will be all season.
- JP Macura took a hard foul and left the game; he did practice Wednesday though.
- Jalen Reynolds will not serve a suspension after being ejected from the game for rushing to Macura's aid.
San Diego Torerros, USDTorerros.com
Senior guard Johnny Dee, who has been the team's leading scorer in each of his first three years, enters the Xavier game with 1,601 career points. A preseason All-WCC pick and All-WCC performer last season, he currently is third on USD's all-time scoring list, and needs 190 points to set the new mark of 1,791 points and move ahead of Brandon Johnson (1,790; 2005-10). He needs 125 points to move into second place ahead of Gyno Pomare (1,725 points; 2005-09). In his first three seasons Dee has turned in season point totals of 426 (2011-12), 511 (2012-13), and 582 (2013-14). He is USD's all-time leader in three-pointers made (269) and attempted (660), and last year ranked No. 1 in the nation in free throw percentage (.945, 120-127). He owns a career mark of .902 (286-317) from the charity stripe.
Senior point guard Christopher Anderson set the USD single season record for assists with 216 last year and also became the program's all-time leader in career dishes with 560. Through 4 games this season he has improved his school record to 596. Now with 202 career steals, he needs 39 more this season to move into USD's all-time No. 1 spot with 241 (240, Brandon Johnson, 2005-2010). In his first three seasons he has tallied the following totals for assists/steals - 156/63 (2011-12), 188/69 (2012-13), and 216/64 (2013-14). Including 4 games this season, Anderson owns 990 career points and needs just 10 points to become USD's 24th player to join the 1,000 point club.
Defense has been a strong point for the Princeton Tigers in both games. But they must find some offensive consistency, particularly in the backcourt. Hans Brase has exploded out of the blocks, averaging a double-double in scoring and rebounding. He is building an All-Ivy resume, as expected. Amir Bell has shown some tantalizing flashes of brilliance at the point, but he must stay on the floor to learn by doing, not by watching. The Tigers clearly miss senior forward Denton Koon, whose return from knee problems remains a huge question mark.
With San Jose State ineligible for the Mountain West tournament because of low APR scores this is the only tournament action the Spartans will have all year. The main issue for the Spartans sho far is finding out its starting five. So far, there have been three different starting five in just the first four games of the year. The only two players who have started all four games have been Jaleel Williams and Jalen James, Jordan Baker and Frank Rogers have each cracked the starting lineup three times. Isaac Thornton, Darryl Gaynor, II and Leon Bahner have also started this season. Before San Jose State can start improving this year they need to find a consistent starting five.
Here is the complete tournament schedule.
Thursday, November 27 at Titan Gym (all times PT)
Game 1 - 11 a.m., Princeton vs. UTEP (ESPNU)
Game 2 - 1:30 p.m., San Diego vs. Xavier (ESPN2)
Game 3 - 5:30 p.m., Long Beach State vs. Western Michigan (ESPNU)
Game 4 - 8 p.m., San José State vs. Washington (ESPN2)
Friday, November 28 at Titan Gym
Game 5 - 12:30 p.m., Princeton/UTEP winner vs. San Diego/Xavier winner (ESPN2)
Game 6 - 2:30 p.m., Princeton/UTEP loser vs. San Diego/Xavier loser (ESPN3)
Game 7 - 6 p.m., Long Beach State/Western Michigan loser vs. San José State/Washington loser (ESPN3)
Game 8 - 8:30 p.m., Long Beach State/Western Michigan winner vs. San José State/Washington winner (ESPN2)
Sunday, November 30 at Honda Center
Game 9 - 11 a.m., Game 6 & Game 7 winners (ESPNU)
Game 10 - 1 p.m., Game 5 & Game 8 losers (ESPNU)
Game 11 - 4:30 p.m., Game 6 & Game 7 losers (ESPN3)
Championship, Game 12 - 7 p.m., Game 5 & Game 8 winners (ESPN2)