Less than One Week to Go: Predict the Depth Chart

Here’s a parlor game for the final stretch: Give your predictions on the depth chart.

Who starts? Who is the 6th or 7th man? What lineup combinations most intrigue you or could be most fruitful in your opinion?

Santa Clara is more mysterious this year than ever, replacing the whole starting five (with the caveat that Tongue and Tilly basically started the last few games in all but name). Give us your predicted and/or desired lineup going into the season.


Not a serious response, but I’ll start us off by saying that a lineup of Jake Ensminger, Adama Bal, Johnny O’Neil, Christoph Tilly, and Francisco Caffaro, where the shortest player would be Bal at 6’7" would be very fun to see for even a couple minutes.

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Was about to do the same, beat me to it.

Agree, more unknowns going in to this season than I ever recall. Not surprising considering we have lost 80% or more of our overall productivity.


1/PG - Benjamin, Knapper, Ensminger
2/SG - Marshall, Bryan, Bal, Ensminger, Benjamin, Hammond
3/wing- Bal, Marshall, ONeil, Ensminger, Kosy, Tongue
4/PF- O’Neil, Tongue, Tilly, Oboye, Ensminger
5/C- Tilly, Caffaro, O’Neil, McEldon, Oboye

Tongue will get the most minutes off the bench (~20ish) followed by maybe Bryan.
The huge wildcard IMO is Ensminger…really don’t know what to expect from him, could play anywhere from 2 to 20mins+. The combination of his position versatility and so many unknowns for the team as a whole makes it difficult to predict.

Hammond, McEldon and Oboye are all redshirt candidates. Oboye is intriguing as 7footer with perimeter skills who was a guard before having a significant growth spurt but he may need a year to put on weight and add strength…he isn’t Chet Holmgren, at least not yet.

Some here will say ‘we have great depth, we should play them all’…but I doubt that will happen. Even beyond the redshirt candidates there will likely be a couple of players who find themselves out of the playing rotation or only getting sporadic and modest PT.

And the usual caveat…injuries can/will change things.


Must admit, it will be interesting. Lots of questions, but it looks like Sendek has got enough quality guys to answer those questions. Can’t wait for the season to start.


Like a game of chess….so many moves coaches can make.

My guess is Tilly, O’Neil, Marshall, Bal, Benjamin, I’ll call it the speed lineup. All can score it and from what we’ve heard Benjamin and Bal are some of the better passers in a while.

The hulk lineup: Caffaro, Tilly, O’Neill, Bal, Bryan, Ensminger. Both Bal and Ensminger have played point guard and Caffaro is a monster,
Will be fun to watch!


@Broncomusings this is exactly my take as well. This roster has the opportunity to be used situationally. Lots of finesse players but also a lot of muscle and speed too.

I see the starting line up the same as you have listed and I think Cam will be the best 6th man in the league this year, coming off the bench to provide energy to the first and second unit.

One of my best friends (and a die hard college basketball fan) went to University of Virginia and when I told him we got Caffaro he said “He’ll be good for Santa Clara. He’ll get you the 5 fouls you need.”

Challenge will be to develop cohesion among all these new pieces and use them properly. Not as easy as it sounds.

Lastly, I was in attendance at one of the games that Carlos Marshall played for SCU last year and he is going to be a difference maker. That kind of player that stops an opponent’s momentum by getting a bucket when you absolutely need one.

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So looks like 3 predictions so far for lineup of: Tilly, O’Neil, Bal, Marshall, Jennings.

One thing seems universal in fandom…interest in or proposing a ‘big’ lineup.
I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum. Had a strength/conditioning coach back in the day who’s mantra was: ‘speed is king in all sports’. I tend to agree, and prefer athleticism and skill over a bunch of big dudes. Along those lines a couple lineup ‘types’ intrigue me:

1: O’Neil, Tongue, Marshall, Bal and Jennings. Speed for great offensive and defensive transition. Tall wings partially mitigate a lack of true center. All five can hit a 3pointer to one degree or another.


2: an even smaller but athletic lineup: 5- O’Neil or Tongue; 4- Marshall; 3- Bal; 2-Bryan; 1- Ensminger. The closest we could come to ‘positionless’ basketball (though I hate that term). Good athleticism, still good length with everyone at least 6-5, can switch all screens, thwarts those teams who rely on pick/roll. Also a good lineup to try full or half court press.


Good take but you can’t leave Cam Tongue out of these line-ups. Last year he was the energizer and game changer whenever he stepped on the court and he will be even better this year. I agree with the next comment about Cam being 6th man of the year and think he might be in the starting line-up sometimes as a leader, rebounder, and defensive force.


Thank you 92Bronc and Sedulous for having faith in Cam. Much appreciated.


This roster is a full tool box of all shapes and sizes of talent. Sendek could start any of 10 guys IF he decides to use situational starters based upon opponent matchups.
I Don’t think he’ll do that, rather use his depth to put the most amount of defensive heat on the opponents best players to try to shut and wear them down.
Cam will be a go to guy to muscle up this pressure on both ends. But it doesn’t stop there. Bryan, Ensminger, Akametu, are all very physical as well, giving coaches extra fouls to give when appropriate and not have a talent drop off as in prior years.
We’ll know by game 3 at Stanford what the rotation game plan will be.
Opposing coaches and players my go full Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when the posse relentlessly just keeps on coming and Sundance wearily says “Who are these Guys!” line.

This team will bring it Top to Bottom for 40 minutes, hopefully some great wins!


My prediction wouldn’t be worth reading… it is very hard to say given the inputs we have.

In all my time watching SCU, there’s never been a time where the answer to the projected starting 5 was less obvious a day or two before the year starts.

That said, I have a strong feeling this may be one of the best Bronco squads since at least the end of the Davey era. Lots to let play out, but I am very excited to watch this group play.


I actually THINK we might sway a little this year and match up according to the opposing team. Be the wise thing to do.


I think they still start the season going big with Caffaro, Tilly, O’Neil, Marshall and Benjamin. I think they will want the experience in the starting lineup and flexibility (and energy) off the bench. Bal will be the first sub off the bench for Marshall, O’Neil, or Benjamin with Jake and Bryan also playing a fair amount. Cam will rotate with Tilly and Caffaro. Who starts is interesting but who finishes will be more interesting.

I think they will stay with that through Stanford and then make adjustments - especially defensively. I agree, there may be a lot of experimenting early in the season.

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I agree Femme and would add that Herb will try to create match up problems for the opponents.

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For fun, give me the following, since I think the most obvious guesses are taken:

Starters–Bal, Marshall, Bryan, Tongue, Tilly
Off-the-Bench Rotation–O’Neil, Benjamin, Caffaro, Akametu, Ensminger

The philosophy is to basically maximize strength and athleticism with the starters, all of whom are strong rebounders and scorers. O’Neil would fit that mold as well. The next four have more specific strengths–Benjamin = quickness and scoring; Caffaro = size and strength; Akametu = strength and slashing (assuming that he’s much more polished than last season); Ensminger = passing and rebounding.

I’ll take Benjamin, Marshall, Bal, O’Neil, Tilly
Tongue, Bryan, Caffaro, Knapper/Ensminger(really intrigued on both of their roles)

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I also agree on Tongue and Tilly starting. I think herb leans with consistency and history where we have it.

So I’ll go with Ensminger, Marshall, Tongue, O’Neill, Tilly as the starters.