clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Potential Starters and their WCC POY Chances

Each starter this season is so talented, they all have a realistic chance of being WCC Player of the Year

NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

This past weekend, Peter asked someone to write an article about which players should be this season’s starting five. Since Arden did such a great job of covering starting five options a couple of weeks ago, I figured I’d list who my ideal starting five would be but add a little twist. This year’s starters are all so talented, any one of them has a realistic chance of being WCC Player of the Year. So, without further ado, here are my ideal starting five and my thoughts of their chances to win WCC POY:

Zach Norvell Jr. – A sophomore hasn’t won WCC POY since Quintin Dailey in 1981, but does anyone doubt last season’s WCC Newcomer of the Year Zach Norvell Jr. could have a breakout season? Norvell is like the hero in an old western, he shows up at just the right time to take the perfect shot to kill the bad guy. Problem was with shooting percentages of just 46% from the field and 37% from the arc, he’s also shot up the town. Most player hitting 1 for 8 in the first half will stop shooting in the second half. Not Zach, he’ll continue firing away, hit his next 6 of 8 and finish the game with 22 points. That’s the beauty of Zach Norvell, his confidence and fearlessness. He’s not afraid to take the big shot or to put the team on his back. I’m a little torn about wanting him to be more selective when hunting his shot. While I’d like to see him be more consistent and improve his shooting percentages, I’d hate to see it restrain his fearless, gunslinger mentality. Odds to Win: 25 to 1

Brandon Clarke – It’s hard to write anything about Brandon without ever having seen him play. Yeah, my bad for not scheduling San Jose St. games on my DVR two years ago. What I have done is scour his stats on Sports-Reference. First team all Mountain West as a sophomore, 17.3 points per game, 1st in the conference in field goal percentage, 5th in rebounds (8.7) and he’s spent the last year improving his body and his shooting. In his first year after transferring, I thought Nigel Williams-Goss’ stats would decrease with better teammates at Gonzaga. I was wrong, both points and rebounds per game increased. If the same happens with Brandon, he won’t only be WCC POY, he’ll be an All-American. Odds to Win: 12 to 1

Killian Tillie – Mark Few was not happy with Tillie’s effort after last season’s Texas A&M scrimmage, so he didn’t start him in the exhibition game against College of Idaho. Tillie responded after entering the game by hitting all 14 of his shots and scoring 28 points. He also didn’t start against IUPUI then scored 27 points off the bench. I’m not sure what Mark Few said to him before the WCC Tournament, but he had one of the greatest individual performances ever going 13 for 14 from three over the three Gonzaga wins. He’s an elite offensive player with elite athleticism, an above average shot blocker, ball handler and passer and a decent rebounder who’s packed on 15 pounds of muscle in the off-season. His 94 three-point attempts weren’t enough to qualify for the NCAA 3-pt % leaders list, but if they did he’d have been fourth in the nation at .479%. If his game improves this season like it did between his freshman and sophomore seasons, WCC POY might be among the least of his honors. Odds to Win: 8 to 1

Rui Hachimura - A Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook preseason All-American, preseason Wooden Finalist, a potential preseason lottery pick in 2019 NBA draft who a Sporting News article called “the most intriguing NBA draft prospect”. So, shouldn’t we go ahead and anoint him as WCC POY? Maybe, maybe not. Rui may not lead the team in any major statistical category this season. Last season, he finished 5th in scoring, 3rd in rebounding and blocks and 7th in assists. Conversely, Rui has seemed to get better and more comfortable with every game he plays. Occurrences of his clearly being the best player on the floor became more frequent as the season progressed culminating in his NCAA tourney performance against Ohio State. Of all the talent on this squad, Rui is the most likely to have a quantum leap improvement in his game. If that happens, the scrimmage against Michigan State will be the first of two trips Gonzaga takes to Minneapolis this year, the second will be for the Final Four. Odds to Win: 4 to 1

Josh Perkins – In a normal year, last season’s all-WCC first teamer Josh would have the inside track for WCC POY. Being a fifth-year senior, he’ll have the longevity vote, his horrific freshman injury adds the sympathy vote and his team’s outstanding long-term success give him the stellar career vote. He’ll also be the team leader of what should be the best team in the WCC by a wide margin. Over the years, Josh has gone from a ready, fire, aim loose cannon to a consistent and effective team leader who only has the occasional misfire. If Rui, Tillie, Clarke of Norvell have a year where they earn first or second team All-American honors, yeah, they’ll probably be WCC POY. If not, I think Josh Perkins has the inside track. Odds to Win: 7 to 2

Getty Images