WAC Hoops Mailbag; Rivals, Youth Movement, and Chicago State

The weather in Utah is changing. That can mean only one thing: college hoops is near. Okay, it means many other things and that’s okay. But, our favorite time of year is coming closer. Fans are excited, teams are starting practice, and the excitement is very real.

In last week’s mailbag, we answered questions related to schedules and conference expansion. 

This week, we get a variety of questions. One thing that is interesting, despite finishing last nearly every year in the WAC, many fans and followers are always asking questions about the Cougars. And we have some more this week. So let’s get started.

This is a tough one. The non-conference schedule for Chicago State isn’t as overwhelming as it has been over the last few years. Chicago State should get at least 3 wins in the non-conference schedule. And, there are some very winnable games during WAC play as well. UMKC is rebuilding. CSU Bakersfield lost a ton from a year ago. And while it pains this writer to say this, UVU has a lot of unknowns on its roster that lost the WAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Lance Irvin has done a solid job recruiting to the South Side. But, Billy Donlon has done a good job at UMKC. And it is the opinion of this writer that one of those two teams will finish at or near the bottom of the WAC standings. 

This next question was sent via DM from @thesdmatt.

Who do you see most likely becoming CBU’s WAC rival over the coming years? Aside from UCR being the non-con rival, obviously.”

Grand Canyon and Dixie State seem like legit rivals for California Baptist. Grand Canyon because of the money situation and Dixie State because of logistics. Plus, Dixie State is just joining the NCAA Division I ranks so sits in a similar boat at California Baptist. 

Because this site is biased toward WAC schools, we would have to say no. Logistics-wise, it seems like it’s unwise for Chicago State to stay in the WAC. Traveling is expensive and Chicago State has to travel the furthest to compete. It might be in the best interest of the school and athletic department to move down a level in order to save money and be more competitive. It is an interesting situation for both Chicago State and the WAC to be in. And we believe there will be more news on this front going forward.

When all the schedules are released, we will come back to this question. Seattle University has yet to release its schedule so once we have that, we will answer this.

Some of these underclassmen are untested. However, these are some names to keep an eye on in 2019-20. There are others who could make this list as well. But there were just a few names that we came up with at this time.

Jovan Blacksher Jr. – FR – GCU – 4-star recruit – highest in program history.

Trey Woodbury – SO – UVU – UNLV transfer – 4-star recruit out of Las Vegas.

Jabari Rice – SO – NM State – played in 31 of 34 games in 2018-19.

Tre Armstrong – FR – Cal Baptist – Played for Australia’s U18 team.

Riley Grigsby – SO – Seattle – appeared in 30 games for the Redhawks, valuable experience during the injury riddled season. 

This is a loaded question. NM State returns four of five starters. Chris Jans also has a potential WAC Player of the Year candidate in Trevelin Queen that came off the bench last year. The only big loss was Jojo Zamora from a season ago. It is very possible that NM State plays 13+ guys again because they are just that deep. It’s a big reason why they are the favorites to win the WAC again. 

Please keep sending us your questions. We love the interaction and love providing information for each and every team in the Western Athletic Conference. You can reach us on Twitter at @WACHoopsDigest or on our Facebook page


About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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