In a pursuit to shake off the one-bid league label, the Mountain West has been involved in quite an eventful couple months.
Here is my breakdown of each of the 11 MWC team’s offseasons, and what we can expect moving forward.
Notable additions: None
Significant departures: Hayden Graham (12.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG), Zach Kocur (9.7 PPG, 2.0 APG)
It’s hard to envision any scenario in which Air Force finishes anywhere but dead last in the Mountain West next season. The Falcons won four league games last year, all of which were in Colorado Springs. AFA loses 20 points of nightly production with Hayden Graham and Zach Kocur moving on, and the incoming freshmen class is far from exciting.
Notable addition: Christian Sengfelder (12.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, Fordham transfer)
Significant departures: Nick Duncan (9.4 PPG, 34.1 3P%), James Reid (10.0 PPG, 38.8 3P%)
Boise State should have no problems combatting the void of perimeter shooters Nick Duncan and James Reid with the addition of Fordham transfer Christian Sengfelder, who is immediately eligible. Sengfelder is a consistent double-digit scorer who hit more triples last season than Nick Duncan and James Reid. With another year of development of Chandler Hutchison (if he returns to school), Paris Austin and Justinian Jessup, the Broncos will once again be a legitimate MWC title contender.
Notable additions: Kevin Dorsey (6.8 PPG, 1.4 APG, Minnesota transfer), Deion James (JUCO transfer), Alonzo Tyson (JUCO transfer)
Significant departures: Gian Clavell (20.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG), Emmanuel Omogbo (13.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG), Braden Koelliker (18.9 MPG)
Colorado State enters the 2017-18 season having to replace its two best players, Gian Clavell and Emmanuel Omogbo. The duo combined for 34.0 points, 16.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Larry Eustachy will have a major gap to fill, as the two used 51.1% of the Rams’ offensive possessions last season. CSU does welcome Minnesota transfer Kevin Dorsey, whose per-game scoring stats might be a bit misleading due to his 36.0% field goal percentage. Standout JUCO transfers Deion James and Alonzo Tyson will bolster the Ram frontcourt.
Notable additions: Ray Bowles (13.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, Pacific transfer)
Significant departures: Paul Watson (11.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG), Cullen Russo (8.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG), Karachi Edo (7.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG)
Fresno State’s lack of depth up front will be an even bigger issue in ‘17-18. The Bulldogs lose Paul Watson, Cullen Russo and Karachi Edo, all of which played significant roles in guiding FSU to a 20-win season. Bryson Williams and Terrell Carter will need to prove that they can handle a bigger workload. The duo combined to convert 183 of 313 field goal attempts last season, good for 58.5%. The Bulldogs could have potentially the best backcourt in the league with upperclassmen Jahmel Taylor, Deshon Taylor, Jaron Hopkins and talented JUCO Pacific transfer Ray Bowles.
Notable additions: Caleb Martin (11.5 PPG, 36.1 3P%, North Carolina State transfer), Cody Martin (6.0 PPG, 1.2 SPG, North Carolina State transfer), Kendall Stephens (6.1 PPG, Purdue transfer), Hallice Cooke (2.6 PPG, Iowa State transfer)
Significant departures: Marcus Marshall (19.7 PPG, 3.7 APG, 38.0 3P%), Cameron Oliver (16.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG), D.J. Fenner (13.7 PPG), Devearl Ramsey (26 G)
After nearly losing Eric Musselman to California, the third-year head coach returns to the Wolf Pack with plans of winning another MWC title. UNR has to bounce back from the departures of Marcus Marshall, D.J. Fenner and NBA hopeful Cameron Oliver, three of the top four scorers from last year’s 28-win squad. Reno is now home to the Martin twins from NC State, who will pack a scoring punch from the small forward position. Purdue transfer Kendall Stephens will extend defenses from the perimeter, and ex-Iowa State guard Hallice Cooke should provide some depth in the backcourt. Nevada will once again be a serious contender for a NCAA Tournament bid.
Notable additions: Chris McNeal (JUCO transfer)
Significant departures: Elijah Brown (18.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.1 APG), Tim Williams (17.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 56.2 FG%), Obij Aget (5.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG), Jalen Harris (4.5 PPG), Xavier Adams (3.9 PPG)
It’s a new era for New Mexico basketball. The Lobos welcome former New Mexico State head coach Paul Weir to the staff, where UNM will play its home games in Dreamstyle Arena in ‘17-18. New Mexico’s 2017-18 season could be a mirror image of UNLV last season, as the Lobos have to piece together a completely gutted roster from a 17-14 team. UNM welcomes three quality JUCO transfers, but it should be a long season for Weir in Albuquerque.
San Diego State
Notable additions: Devin Watson (20.3 PPG, 4.9 APG, San Francisco transfer), Jalen McDaniels (redshirt 4*), Jordan Schakel (4*)
Significant departures: Zylan Cheatham (9.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG), Dakarai Allen (8.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG), Matt Shrigley (5.2 PPG), Valentine Izundu (16.9 MPG)
Even despite Steve Fisher’s retirement, the Aztecs shouldn’t decline a bit next season. Brian Dutcher is now at the helm, and he has a talented roster to work with. Elite San Francisco scorer Devin Watson joins two four-stars Jalen McDaniels and Jordan Schakel in possibly the second-best offseason haul in the league. If the trio of Trey Kell, Jeremy Hemsley and Malik Pope can stay consistent and healthy, San Diego State will be a scary team to oppose.
San Jose State
Notable additions: Oumar Barry (4* JUCO transfer), Keith Fisher (3* redshirt), Nai Carlisle (3*)
Significant departures: Gary Williams, Jr. (7.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG), Isaac Thornton (4.6 PPG), Cody Schwartz (3.8 PPG), E.J. Boyce (3.9 PPG)
San Jose State’s losses are minor, and I don’t think many people are aware of the talent that Dave Wojcik is bringing in this fall. Oumar Barry, Keith Fisher and Nai Carlisle are all nationally-rated recruits that provide a spark at the guard, wing and forward position. Let’s not forget that the Spartans also bring back one of the most efficient players in the conference in Brandon Clarke (17.3 PPG) and also Ryan Welage (13.2 PPG). A top five league finish is a very realistic possibility for SJSU in ‘17-18.
Notable additions: Brandon McCoy (5*), Jordan Johnson (12.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 8.1 APG, Milwaukee transfer), Shakur Juiston (JUCO transfer), Anthony Smith (JUCO transfer), Amauri Hardy (4*), Tervell Beck (3*)
Significant departures: Tyrell Green (11.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG), Christian Jones (10.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG), Jalen Poyser (10.4 PPG, 2.6 APG), Uche Ofoegbu (7.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG), Troy Baxter (4.3 PPG), Zion Morgan (12.2 MPG)
What an offseason it’s been for Marvin Menzies. After the second-worst season in school history, Menzies has stocked up with top 10 recruit Brandon McCoy, Milwaukee transfer Jordan Johnson and four more nationally-rated recruits. McCoy is one-and-done good, and Johnson could mess around and lead the country in assists per game. There is a lot that this UNLV team has to live up to, but UNLV finally has talent again, and could scratch its way to the 20-win barrier if everything clicks.
Notable additions: Daron Henson (3* redshirt), Klay Stall (3* redshirt), Brock Miller (3*)
Significant departures: Jalen Moore (16.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.7 APG), Shane Rector (8.3 PPG, 2.3 APG), Ngor Barnaba (11.7 MPG)
Replacing seniors is tough, but having to deal with the loss of do-it-all player Jalen Moore, as well as Shane Rector, is even a tougher task. Utah State struggled with consistency all season long, as the Aggies failed to string more than three W’s together after December. Luckily, standout freshman Koby McEwen (14.7 PPG, 41.8 3P%) could break out next year. Tim Duryea welcomes some quality contributors to campus, but it’s the returnees that could make or break the 2017-18 season. Koby McEwen, Sam Merrill, Quinn Taylor and Norbert Janicek need to take the next step.
Notable additions: Brodricks Jones (3* JUCO), Anthony Mack (3*), Hunter Thompson (4*)
Significant departures: Jason McManamen (11.3 PPG, 2.4 APG), Jeremy Lieberman (4.8 PPG)
I was expecting huge things out of senior guard Jason McManamen last season, but he just wasn’t able to shake off his slow shooting start. This could be more reassuring for Wyo fans, though, as the loss of an 11-point scorer is far more doable than a 17 or 20-point scorer. He and Lieberman are the only major departures, and second-year man Allen Edwards should keep things exciting with a solid group of incomers. The frontcourt is set with Hayden Dalton, Alan Herndon, Jordan Naughton and two 6-10 recruits, but the backcourt will be a major question mark. For the first time since the pre-Larry Nance days, Wyoming lacks a go-to scorer.
What are your thoughts on the Mountain West offseason? Feel free to leave a comment below or send a tweet to @boettger_eli and @MWCConnection.