WCC/Team Previews

They are starting, bit by bit, to drip out. Most of the really good ones, like Three Man Weave, won’t drop for another couple of weeks.

Here’s one I found this morning. It’s clearly a pretty improvised podcast between two friends (they could use a producer), but they’ve done a lot of research, and it’s a helpful primer on the incoming WCC personnel.

Feel free to add anything you come across over the next couple of months.


I am glad they are, in my opinion, underestimating our team. I think we will surprise everyone this year. Cannot wait to see these guys play.


I wouldn’t expect anyone to rank us very high pre-season.
We have zero returning starters and a playing rotation that may rely on as many as 5 transfers plus 8 new players overall, a 9th coming off a redshirt playing D1 ball for the first time, and so on.
There appears to be plenty of talent on the roster but the above leaves lots of questions…can/will the team gel?; how will roles and playing rotation shake out? (several may be unhappy with PT); can the new guys get up to speed on how Sendek wants/expects them to play? More questions and less certainty heading in to the season than I can recall.


Cams first year we were underestimated and ranked low. Despite the Josip injury, we prevailed and made it into the NIT. Cams second year they expected us to be in an even worse position with the departure of Josip, Pipes, and Williams - again, we prevailed and returned to the NIT. I am expecting an even better year this year. Sendek would be WISE to rotate the bench A LOT. This team is loaded with talent. This is not a team of about 3 key players with 3-4 backups. THIS YEAR, probably every position has 2 key players. This means the drop off is little to none. This also means we can run the daylights out of other teams and wear them down.

By the way - was ANYONE ELSE listening to this thing getting a Bill Murray “Caddyshack” vibe?


California Dreaming: https://youtu.be/6YAcOPPRpVY?si=T4at35S4mFvXmEFB

'femme- yes, 5 secs of listening to that dude and my mind immediately went to Bill Murray and ‘Cinderella story, out of nowhere, former groundskeeper, now about to become Master’s champ…’


I gotta admit - it was very distracting for me. All I could imagine was that gopher. lol


The Three Man Weave podcast preview is out. They take SCU at 4/5, fighting with USF and LMU. The pundits are pretty much all agreeing on a 4-tier WCC: (1) GU/SMC; (2) LMU/USF/SCU; (3) Portland; (4) Pacific/Pepp/USD.

Pretty good preview overall, though less glowing of a review of SCU’s transfer class than I’ve seen elsewhere. Tilly and Tongue get mentions as top returners and Tilly perhaps the breakout candidate for the whole conference.

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Other random stuff:

(1) An interesting breakdown of Adama Bal as an NBA prospect, using his summer FIBA play to show strengths and weaknesses. The author makes the bold claim that SCU goes 3 straight years with an NBA drafted if Adama develops a couple areas of his game (like that mediocre off ball defense). Good antidote for the cold water from Three Man Weave.

(2) Random tweet from a Blue-Checker saying nice things about Santa Clara. What else is this part of the off-season for if not forging wild hopes and dreams for a yet-undefeated SCU squad?


Nice article on Coach Sendek from the folks at Mid-Major Madness.


The Almanac is out. This is the upstart alternative to magazines like Lindy’s and Blue Ribbon that features the Three Man Weave guys, plus Jeff Goodman and some other college basketball experts.

It’s $20 to read but honestly worth the money if you can spare it since it gives pretty in-depth previews of every. single. team. That includes roughly 9-10 paragraphs on our own Broncos.

I want to send them the business (and don’t want to run afoul of copyright issues), but I’ll say that the preview is pretty glowing about SCU’s talent overall, especially Bal, Tilly, Benjamin, and Bryan. But the preview acknowledges the challenges of integrating an entirely new starting 5 (though Tilly and Tongue were both basically playing starting minutes by season’s end). They point to SCU’s huge and talented front court and Sendek’s coaching as the two factors that will help stabilize the Broncos from a big drop while somewhat questioning the likelihood of repeating the success of the past two years with first-round draftees on the roster.

I recommend it!


These pundits are just taking jabs in the dark.

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Zack Farmer of the Unofficial WCC Hoops Podcast spoke at length with one of the Three Man Weave guys about the WCC. His opinions are largely the same as those given at greater length in the 3MW podcast shared above, but he does say that SCU is the most intriguing team in the WCC due to an immense amount of talent but uncertainty whether all of that talent can gel quickly enough (or at all).


Not really my favorite preview and doesn’t cover any new ground from 3MW or the Scoop Media previews. But if you just have to have more preseason content, here’s another nascent podcast outlet trying its hand at conference previews:

The most interesting thing about these previews just seems to be the bigger picture of which SCU personnel get highlighted. Bal’s potential seems to always get mentioned. Sometimes the Tongue/Tilly frontcourt gets cited, often with a nod toward Caffaro and O’Neil. The guys above really like Jalen Benjamin. Herb seemed to want to talk up Carlos Marshall to 3MW. O’Neil and Bal have each had articles on their NBA-readiness. Of the possible starters, only Bryan seems to fly below the radar.

That says a lot about the depth of this SCU squad but also the lack of clarity (from the outside anyways) of its identity at this moment. There are probably at least a dozen reasonable combinations for the starting 5. Can’t remember that ever being the case before.


I honestly think that those who DID actually follow our team last year were so wrapped up in Podz, that you forgot there were any other guys on the floor. And those who followed the other conferences from which the new guys came - they do not know enough about our squad to really anticipate who may or may not be a standout.

But I for one am pretty excited that I feel they are all pretty “off base” with this squad. Because the focus is being put in the wrong place and it will surprise many. MY BIGGEST unknown is - can a team that has never played as a unit before - come together soon and strong enough to be a threat? Thats a big burden that falls on the coaches and I honestly pray that Herb makes the whole TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK philosophy become the Santa Clara mantra.

Not sure if this one has been shared. Here ya go! https://youtu.be/38zeCRN36Qg


I missed this one. Good find! It’s amazing how many “2-3 young dudes discussing college basketball” podcasts there are these days. That said, Andy Patton is a Zag alum and very knowledgeable about the WCC. No new ground but worth a quick listen.

I agree that Podz sucked up a lot of the attention, but we also lost all five starters–though Cam and Christoph were basically starters by the end, and Carlos Marshall would have been starter or 6th man if he stayed healthy. It’s not crazy for pundits to see this team as a bit of a wildcard. Though I think most seem to be acknowledging the significant talent and identifying the challenge that you did: do all the players fit together as a cohesive whole?

It’s easy to forget that Jalen Williams, the best SCU player in a generation, struggled to will SCU to victory if Josip Vrankic wasn’t available or Keshawn was off his mark a bit. Talent matters a lot, but you have to be greater than the sum of the individual pieces to be great. Randy Bennett’s SMC squads are the best example of this.


Good take! I swear a ton of these guys probably played b-ball all through High School, maybe a little D3 ball too - and just love the game, they have resorted to now analyzing it. Kinda fun.


Pardon my intrusion because I have been a Zag fan for over 20 years but as of recent, I have been following Santa Clara as well. Had it not been for Hickman having the best game of the year at Santa Clara, the Zags would have lost. I thought the forum would be interested in my take about the top five teams this year. By the way, I have Santa Clara as number 3.

Finally, St. Marys has posted their 2023-24 roster and they look impressive. There will be no lack of talented big men in the top half of the conference, not to mention backcourts and wings. This will be a very interesting year for WCC basketball because so many teams have brought in talent via the portal as well as bringing in some promising freshman and redshirts.

In one of the posts today concerning the first day’s practice, it was noted that Graham Ike has yet to practice. If that is true, it leaves us with only two big men and might force us on some occasions to use Watson at the 5 and Yeo at the 4. St. Marys, Santa Clara and Loyola Marymout all have greater size (not necessarily greater talent) in the front court than us and have plenty of backups. I think we will know a lot more by mid December on what I consider the top five of our conference: Gonzaga, St. Marys, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount and San Francisco (that is my order for now). All of these teams, except St. Marys, and then Gonzaga, have so many new faces it will hard to judge how well they come up to speed and gel without seeing them play.

Here are just a few brief comments on two players from each team:
Ryan Nembhard will be the straw that stirs Gonzaga. Every time I have seem him play, he is awesome. He plays with great confidence, makes clutch play after clutch play and is definitely not easily intimidated. If any of you watched the Arkansas - Creighton game, you saw this on full display. I think he will absolutely thrive in the Zag offense and will elevate the whole team. I think Jun Seok Yeo will surprise. He has played on big stages before and against good competition. Not only is he aggressive in getting his shot, he is aggresive on the boards and plays with a high energy level. When he is on the floor, he will be giving 110% every minute he is out there.

Saint Marys is loaded at all positions, especially with the return of Alex Ducas. Personally, I think they will have the best backcourt in the league. At the end of last year, Marciulionis was coming on strong. If he gains more confidence with his outside shot, he will be deadly. He is not afraid to take it to the bucket and has good size and strength. When you add freshman Jordan Ross to the mix, you have three guys who can run the point if needed. If any of you have seen Jordan Ross in action, you know that this kid can ball. This kid started four years at point guard and lead his team in assists, he made back to back trips to the Geico High School Championship and helped MoKan Elite to the 1022 EYBL Peach Jam Title. In other words, he has competed at the highest high school levels and succeeded. This kid is quick, great ball handler and very athletic. He will be hard to keep on the bench.

Santa Clara has an absolute ton of new faces and who knows how they all will mesh. I think their top two players will be Christoph Tilly and Carlos Marshall, Jr. Tilly got better with each game last year and is ready for a breakout year. He has a great touch, plays smart, good length, well coordinated (and getting better) and passes well out of the post. If Santa Clara is the third best team in the league it will because of the veteran presence of Carlos Marshall. At 6-6 205, he has great size for a guard. He can shoot at all three levels, plays good defense and get rebounds. He was injured last year except for the first three games. While with Tennesses state he was a two time OVC selection. Santa Clara is probably one of the deepest teams in the league.

Loyola Marymount has brought in a ton of transfers also plus they have an excellent coach in Stan Johnson (really all the top five have excellent coaches). My first person of interest here is Dominick Harris. As we know, this kid has talent and drive. Now with an opportunity to play more (and probably start) he will have an opportunity to get those game reps that he has needed to get in the groove. We know he is athletic and aggressive on defense plus he can score at all three levels. I think he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder to prove the type of standout guard he is. Time will tell but I wish him all the best. The othe player is Keli Leaupepe who the the Almanac calls “college basketball’s best version of a Charles Barkley clone - with a pristine mullet”. As we know he is one big load to slow down while being a great blend of power and finesse.

Finally we will take a brief look at San Francisco. The Almanac calls Mike Sharavjamts, sometimes referred to as Mongolian Mike, “effectively he’s a lead guard in a small forwards frame and drowning in tools”. He brings a new twist to the Dons because at 6-8 he will be totally differen in height compared to the Don’s guards over the last eight years. Joining him in the backcourt will be Marcus Williams who played his best against top-flight competition last year and now will be leaned on to do more scoring.

Looking forward to your thoughts.


CPKZagfan…Appreciate the solid take and analysis of the WCC.