Hey Bronco Hoops Family,
As the season is approaching, I wanted to create a formal thread to get everyone’s perspectives/analysis on the upcoming season. I know people have already written some analysis which is scattered around the forum, but with the recent shifts in our roster, I wanted to create a new designated thread for our thoughts.
As @PattyMac has mentioned, it seems like a majority of the analysts have SCU at around 6th in the league, but they don’t consider us a part of the bottom tier with Portland, USD, and Pacific (thank goodness). Like PattyMac said, I’d be pretty disappointed if the Broncos end up 6th in the league once again, even with Bessilink and Djuricic’s unexpected departures. I still believe we have a great group of men with 6 of our key players from last season returning. I think now with some continuity and consistent practicing in our facility without any pauses, the team will be able to build up some chemistry and at least have a chance to build on some momentum unlike last season.
PG: PJ Pipes, Miguel Tomley, Brenton Knapper
SG: Jalen Williams, Giordan Williams, Carlos Stewart
SF: Keshawn Justice, Jalen Williams
PF: Josip Vrankic, Parker Braun, Camaron Tongue, Jacob Holt
C: Jaden Bediako, Parker Braun, Jacob Holt
With the departure of Carlyle, we obviously needed to get a new point guard who can handle and shoot the ball, and I think both PJ Pipes and Brenton Knapper fill that hole. PJ Pipes being one of the top free throw and three point shooters automatically puts him in the starting line-up in my eyes. Because he’s a grad transfer, he’s got lots of NCAA hoops experience and I believe he will do a great job in being a leader for the group. I also have hopes for Knapper being a key part of the Bronco’s success in the future, so I hope he gets some playing time and can learn from some of the older guards. My only concern for him is his lack of size and defensive ability. We are all familiar with Jalen, Giordan, and Miguel, but I honestly expect a big jump in productivity from all three of them, especially the two Williams. I predict that Jalen will end up on the All-WCC team at the end of the season. Carlos Stewart now has to be the freshman I’m most excited to watch after Bessilink’s departure. Having won Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year is a significant achievement in itself, but seeing his highlights from high school and pictures/videos from this summer, he looks like he’s uber athletic and talented. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if towards the end of the season, he starts at SG and Jalen starts at SF. What we really lacked last season in our backcourt was shooting and depth and I think we addressed both of those fairly well.
Losing Willie Caruso was probably our biggest loss during the offseason and unfortunately we weren’t really able to fill that hole completely. Parker Braun seems to be the coaching staff’s efforts to address the loss but we haven’t seen Braun play enough minutes at Mizzou to really conclude on anything. I will say he seems like he has lot of potential on the offensive end, but needs to work on his defense. I’m hoping he can add on more weight and muscles so that he can man the 5 spot at times. Bediako will take up majority of the Center minutes unless Herb decides to play Vrankic at the five spot. From pictures and videos, it looks like Bediako has slimmed down a little and added more muscles so hopefully he shows some improvement on both the offensive and defensive end. With Vrankic back, we can definitely rely on him to get us a bucket or rebound, but I hope we don’t rely on him as much as last season. Whenever we throw the ball down low to him, our offense is stagnant and we lack ball movement. If he can improve his 3 point shot, that will open the floor for more ball movement and spacing. Keshawn Justice has always been reliable, and I hope his three-point percentage goes back to what we expect from him now that he can consistently practice in the new facility. Tongue and Holt both are freshmen who I think can play a bit of the 5 spot but mainly the 4. I think with the departure of Djuricic, both can compete with each other to see who deserves those open minutes.
In the end, I hope our Broncos can find some momentum in non-conference, snag a few solid wins against higher ranked teams, and continue the momentum through conference play to end up in 4th place in the WCC behind the Zags, BYU, and LMU. Although I may be too optimistic, I can’t help but feel excited to watch this team, which seems way more balanced in all departments compared to last year. I’ll be sure to catch a few games live this season, which I haven’t been able to do since I was still in school. Go Broncos!!