2012-13 Season Preview: Santa Clara Looking To Bounce Back

Ethan Miller - Getty Images

The Santa Clara Mens Basketball team struggled tremendously last year, but look to bounce back and compete in the WCC this upcoming season. They gain a couple of missing peices that plagued them last year in Kevin Foster and Marc Trasolini. These two players will provide experience and stability that will help Santa Clara erase a 0-16 conference record from 2011-12.

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2011-12 Win-Loss Record

Conference: 0-16

Overall: 8-22

Post Season: None

To say the Santa Clara basketball team struggled last year would be an understatement. It is clear that they had some major setbacks that I will mention, but their 0-16 conference record says it all. It is safe to say that Santa Clara will have more success in the 2012-13 season. Those two reasons lie on the back of senior guard Kevin Foster and senior forward Marc Trasolini.

Let's first start with Marc Trasolini. Trasolini suffered an ACL tear during an exhibition game last year while playing in front of his hometown crowd in Vancouver, BC which led to him missing his entire senior season. The 6'9 Forward is a crucial peice of the SC basketball program, and his injury was a huge setback for the potential success in 2011-12. Trasolini looks to bounce back for a breakout senior year. The now RS senior averaged 12.8 ppg and 6.1 rpg as a junior, a slight decline in points production from his sophmore campaign where he averaged 13.6 ppg while pulling in the same amount of rebounds. Santa Clara would take another hit when they lost the WCC's leading scorer Kevin Foster for most of the season due to an arrest following a DUI.

Kevin Foster led the WCC in scoring in 2011-12 with an average of 17.8 ppg before his arrest on DUI charges; another blow for Santa Clara as Foster would be suspended for the last 11 games in conference play and the WCC Tournament. Foster is a lethal shooter, most us will remember when he torched Gonzaga in the 2009-10 season for 36 points, 6/14 from beyond the arc and 11/20 overall shooting clip that ultimately led Gonzaga falling to the Broncos 85-71.

When both Foster and Trasolini were in the lineup in 2010-11 Santa Clara had more success. They finished with an overall record of 24-14 while going 8-6 in conference play, which put them at a respectable 4th place finish in the WCC standings. To top it off, they beat the Iona Gaels 76-69 to win the CIT post season tournament. I predict more of the same will happen this year. They will have a solid team with the fire power to upset the top teams in the conference.

Who's Out: Santa Clara will return all but one player. They will lose walk-on guard Phillip Bach. Bach had no real impact for the Broncos as he registered under 3 mpg and less than 1 ppg. This a positive sign for Santa Clara moving forward as they will have all their starters returning for the 2012-13 season.

Who's In: Santa Clara added one player to their roster. Nate Kratch is a 6'6 Forward from Watertown, MN. Nate avg 20 ppg, 14 rbg, and 6 bpg in his senior season in high school. Here is what Bob Hennen, Head Boys Basketball Coach at Watertown / Mayer High School had to say about Nate:

"Nate is a great player. He is so versatile on offense. He can hit the three, drive to the hoop, or post up. He is a great mid-range shooter. He can shoot off the dribble or off the catch. Defensively, Nate is a great rebounder and shot blocker. Nate is able to defend in the post or on the perimeter. He works real hard in practice and is a great leader. He is well-respected by his teammates because of his commitment to success and his high character."

Who to watch: Evan Roquemore-Evan averaged 13.8 ppg and led the team with 5.3 apg in his sophomore campaign. He had notable highs vs. respectful competition last season: 26 pts in OT win over New Mexico, and 27 points in loss to Oklahoma where he hit seven 3's and dished out 10 assists. Look for Evan to gain momentum with Kevin Foster back in the lineup. Pressure will be taken off both players while on the floor together and they will provide a nice 1-2 punch.

Projected Starting Five for 2012-13:

Kevin Foster- Senior, Guard, 17.8 ppg 3.2 apg

Evan Roquemore- Junior, Guard, 13.8 ppg 5.3 apg

Raymond Cowels III- Senior, Forward, 10.1 ppg

Niyi Harrison- Senior, Forward, 10.7 ppg 6.3 rbg

Marc Trasolini- Senior, Forward, 12.8 ppg 6.1 rpg

Final Projection: I believe the Broncos will find much more success this season; looking at their roster they have a lot of experience coming back. Having the consistency of a player like Trasolini, and lights out shooter in Kevin Foster back in the lineup is going to be the difference maker for Santa Clara this year. Both Foster and Trasolini will provide some much needed floor leadership that was missing last season. If Evan Roquemore can provide that spark like he did last year and Cowels can continue to be consistent, this team will upset some teams in the WCC in the upcoming season. I predict the Broncos will finish around 7-9 this year in WCC play. The big concern is the depth for Santa Clara, if they lose guys to injuries, or off the court issues, this team will crumble.

Head to Head: Kevin Foster is a guy you don't like to see get into rhythm. A player that I believe will disrupt his game will be Gonzaga's Gary Bell. Bell is one of the best defenders in the country and will most likely be shadowing Foster. GU did a exceptional job on Foster last year holding him to nine total points, 3 turnovers and 0-4 from the 3 point line in 30 minutes of play. If we can have the same success this year, Santa Clara will struggle against us. Another luxury GU has is depth. We have the ability to sub players in throughout the game without missing a beat, this will exhaust teams like Santa Clara that have depth issues. The size of our frontcourt with Dower, KO, Karnowski, and Harris, along with exceptional guard play from Pangos and Bell will pose a challenge that Santa Clara will not overcome. In any regard, the Broncos will improve from last season and will provide some competition, and hopefully play spoilers to teams like Saint Mary's and BYU, just not our ZAGS!

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