The MWC Wire Top 25 Basketball Countdown Begins With Honorable Mentions
Take a look at which players just narrowly missed the top 25 on this year’s list
Grad transfers, JUCOs, freshmen and key returnees compile the honorable mention list
Yes, it’s that time again.
The 2017 MWC Wire Mountain West Basketball Top 25 begins with the hoopers who just narrowly missed the cut. To be considered one of the premier 25 players in an 11-team league is a fairly noteworthy distinction, so being a part of the honorable mentions list is nothing to complain about, either.
A total of 43 different players were selected at least once by our staff, but instead of giving a rundown on 18 players, I’ve narrowed it down to some highlights.
***Once again, thank you for joining us with our annual basketball countdown tradition. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we do creating it***
Christian Sengfelder, Boise State
A graduate transfer by the way of Fordham, Sengfelder adds a much-needed double-digit scoring option at the power forward position. Sengfelder averaged 11.4 points per game in his first three collegiate seasons, and will immediately replace Nick Duncan at the #4 spot in the BSU starting lineup. He’s a workhorse, logging 30+ minutes in 68 of his 93 appearances with the Rams. He’ll be a nice complimentary option behind star swingman Chandler Hutchison.
Deion James, Colorado State
The only JUCO transfer on the list, the Tucson native averaged a 20/10/4 slash line with Puma CC before being named the junior college D-II national player of the year. With a college-ready 6-8, 195-pound frame and plenty of production to match, James will start at the four in the CSU lineup this season.
Nico Carvacho, Colorado State
James’ partner in crime in the Colorado State front court is Nico Carvacho. The 6-11 sophomore center took a few by surprise last season by starting 33 of CSU’s 36 games. Carvacho is not yet elite on offense, but Mountain West coaches seem pleased with the direction that he’s trending. He converted 53.7% of his field goal attempts as a freshman, and will likely see a bigger workload now that all-Mountain West forward Emmanuel Omogbo has graduated.
Ray Bowles, Fresno State
The Pacific transfer is yet another productive offensive option in a loaded Fresno State back court. Bowles is a prototypical two-guard that averaged 13.4 points per game last season in the WCC. He won’t get as many looks this year in the crowded FSU offense, but he should be a tremendous option wherever head coach Rodney Terry places him within the Bulldog rotation.
Kendall Stephens, Nevada
The Nevada Wolf Pack keep the impact transfer wheel churning with the addition of former Purdue Boilermaker Kendall Stephens. The perimeter wing threat connected on 175 triples in three seasons with Purdue, but his three-point percentage dipped from 38.4% as a sophomore to 31.7% as a junior. With a whole calendar year to work on his shooting touch, Stephens should come out firing in the wide-open Nevada offense.
Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State
Jalen McDaniels is the only freshman on our honorable mention list, but he definitely deserves to be here. McDaniels was considered a three- and four-star recruit in the class of 2016 by national recruiting sources. He averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as a senior and led his school (Federal Way, Washington) to an undefeated season at 29-0. He redshirted last year, and will be ready to roll this fall under new head coach Brian Dutcher.
Kameron Rooks, San Diego State
Another Aztec newcomer is Kameron Rooks, a seven-foot California transfer who will be a senior this season. Rooks isn’t a stat sheet stuffer – he averaged just 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds his first three years – but he’ll be active on the glass and on defense, both of which are fundamental aspects to any SDSU squad.
Sam Merrill, Utah State
Teaming up with Koby McEwen in the Aggies back court, Sam Merrill shined as a freshman, scoring 9.1 points to go with 3.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Utah State lost two of its top four scorers in the spring to graduation, and starting center Norbert Janicek had a season-ending surgery last week. Merrill should become even more of a key cog in the in-and-out USU offense. Head coach Tim Duryea has told the media he wants the Aggies to move the ball and find open looks this year, which is great news for Merrill – a 45.1% three-point shooter.