College Basketball Preseason: West Coast Conference 2012-13 Preview
Gonzaga and St. Mary's have traditionally been the top teams in the WCC. But Brigham Young crashed that party when it joined the conference last year.
In addition to those big three, Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara could compete for the conference title this year.
Here is a 2012-13 season preview, with team-by-team breakdowns, a preseason all-conference team and a predicted order of finish.
Lost: Charles Abouo, Noah Hartstock, Austin Nelson, Nick Martineau, Jaren Sweeney, Damarcus Harrison
Found: Jordan Chatman, Cooper Ainge, Cory Calvert, Tyler Haws, Raul Delgado, Agustin Ambrosino, Kyle Rose
Brigham Young barely made it to the NCAA Tournament last year as a No. 14 seed, but the Cougars pulled off the biggest comeback in tournament history during its First Four game against Iona, overcoming a 25-point deficit to win 78-72.
The Cougars lost Noah Hartstock, their leading scorer at 16.8 points per game, and Charles Abouo, who averaged 11 points and 6.2 rebounds. But they return an all-conference forward in Brandon Davies and a future star in Matt Carlino.
Davies averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season as he proved to be the most crucial piece to Brigham Young's success.
Carlino, in his first year of eligibility, averaged 12.2 points and 4.6 assists per game.
The Cougars will need to find a way to replace the frontcourt production of Hartsock and Abouo, but Carlino and Davies alone have the talent to lead Brigham Young to a top-three finish in the WCC.
Lost: Robert Sacre, Mathis Keita, Ryan Spangler, Marquise Carter
Found: Przemek Karnowski, Kelly Olynyk, Kyle Dranginis
Gonzaga had won 11 consecutive WCC regular-season championships until St. Mary's won the conference last year. But the Zags look prepared to retake the regular-season crown in 2012-13.
They return four starters. Sophomores Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who both had impressive freshman seasons, will head the backcourt, along with junior David Stockton, son of NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton.
Pangos led the Bulldogs in scoring, averaging 13.6 points, and in assists with 3.4 per game. He also shot 40.1 percent from beyond the arc. Despite being a freshman, he had a few huge games, like his 33-point, six-assist effort against Washington State.
Bell emerged as a sharpshooter, making treys at a 47.7-percent clip. He averaged 10.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and two assists.
In the frontcourt, the Zags return Elias Harris, Sam Dower and Guy Landry Edi.
Harris proved himself as one of the best players in the WCC last year. He averaged 13.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 41 percent on three-pointers.
Dower should replace Robert Sacre, who averaged 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds as a senior.
Lost: Jared DuBois, LaRon Armstead, Kelsey Chine, Tim Diederichs, Drew Viney, Daniel Latimer, Quincy Lawson, Edgar Garibay
Found: Nick Stover, Taj Adams, Patson Siame, Chase Flint, Adam Drexler
Loyola Marymount lost a trio of solid players in Drew Viney, Jared DuBois and LaRon Armstead from last year's team, but the Lions return leading scorer Anthony Ireland and leading rebounder Ashley Hamilton.
Ireland is an early candidate for WCC Player of the Year after averaging 16.1 points, 4.9 assists and 1.7 steals last season. He had as many as 11 assists in a single game.
Look for sophomore C.J. Blackwell to have a breakout season. Blackwell averaged 6.2 points and three rebounds as a freshman and shot a solid 35.4 percent on three-pointers.
The Lions also add junior college transfer Chase Flint. He led his conference in steals last season. He was also No. 2 in assists, No. 4 in rebounding and No. 7 in scoring.
If Loyola Marymount can make up for the losses of Viney and Armstead in the frontcourt and DuBois in the backcourt, it could be a sleeper for the conference title.
Lost: Taylor Darby, Corbin Moore, Joshua Lowery, Dane Shuttle, Hector Harold, Ramon Eaton, Richard Branning, Don Martin
Found: Stacy Davis, Atif Russell, Malte Kramer, Jett Raines, Lorne Jackson, Jan Maehlen, Morida de Freitas, Brendan Lane
Pepperdine has struggled plenty in recent years. The Waves haven't been to a NCAA Tournament since 2002, and their last winning season was in 2004-05.
The Waves will have a different look this season. They lost three of their top four scorers and only have one incoming freshman, forward Stacy Davis, who appears to have the talent to contribute immediately. Another newcomer who might be able to contribute is UCLA transfer Brendan Lane, who averaged 1.6 points and 1.8 rebounds last season.
Senior Caleb Willis and sophomore Jordan Baker need to have much more productive seasons as they are being asked to replace Taylor Darby, Corbin Moore and Joshua Lowery.
Lost: Tim Douglas, Eric Waterford, Nemanja Mitrovic
Found: Jake Ehlers, Bryce Pressley, David Ahern, Oskars Reinfelds
Portland struggled, finishing second-to-last in the conference last year. But this season has more promise for the Pilots.
Junior and leading scorer Ryan Nicholas is back. After averaging 11.5 points and 7.6 rebounds last season, he has the potential to average a double-double this season. During his sophomore season, he added a three-pointer to his repertoire. He only shot 22 of them, but made 36.4 percent. Overall, he shot better than 50 percent from the field.
Portland's biggest hole is its lack of a point guard. Tim Douglas was the point guard last year and averaged three assists, but he transferred to Portland State in April.
Senior Derrick Rodgers, who played only 17.7 minutes per game, is the best candidate to replace Douglas. Rodgers was No. 2 on the team with 1.8 assists per game last season.
Lost: Darian Norris, Ben Vozzola, Blair Banker
Found: Trey Guidry, Mike Davis, Jito Kok, Therone Tillett, Duda Sanadze
San Diego has a good look for the 2012-13 season. The Toreros lost Darian Norris's 8.3 points per game and 2.7 assists, but that's about it.
Their four leading scorers are back, including Johnny Dee, who led the team with 13.7 points per game, Christopher Anderson, who averaged five assists per game, and Chris Manresa, who had a club-best 5.9 rebounds per game.
Dee, who is a sophomore, has the potential to lead the WCC in scoring. Last year, he was No. 9 in the conference in scoring.
San Diego does not have the talent to win the conference, or even finish in the top three, but it does have the talent to beat any team on a given night.
Lost: Perris Blackwell, Angelo Caloiaro, Rashad Green, Michael Williams, Charles Standifer, Justin Raffington, Avery Johnson, Khalil Murphy, Jay Wey, Gavin Hoffmann
Found: De'End Parker, Tim Derksen, Matt Christiansen, Avry Holmes, Joe Edmonds, Frank Rogers, Tao Xu, Coltin Gelb
San Francisco put together its first 20-win season of the century in 2011-12. In fact, it was the Dons' first since the 1981-82 season.
But at the conclusion of the season, their top four scorers departed, leaving them with a thin group of players for this season.
Cody Doolin (9.3 points per game), Cole Dickerson (7.1 points per game) and Dominique O'Connor (six points per game) are back, but not much else.
The Dons' biggest offseason addition was De'End Parker, a UCLA transfer who averaged four points and two rebounds with the Bruins last season.
San Francisco fans, prepare for a season near or at the bottom of the conference.
Lost: Phillip Bach, Jordan Akwenuke, Nick Lamson, Demetri Posey
Found: Nate Kratch
After starting the 2011-12 season 8-4, Santa Clara lost its final 18 games and finished 0-16 in the WCC. The Broncos last win came against Eastern Michigan on December 29, 2011.
This year shows more promise for the Broncos, though.
Marc Trasolini, who missed all of last year with an injury, is back after receiving a medical redshirt, and Kevin Foster, who was suspended for the season in mid-January after a DUI, was allowed back on the team for his senior season.
In Santa Clara's 2011 CIT championship season, Trasolini averaged 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds and shot 52.3 percent from the field.
Foster, who made his reputation as a three-point bomber, was averaging 17.8 points per game and was shooting 38.6 percent from beyond the arc before his season ended abruptly.
The Broncos also have a top-of-the-line point guard in junior Evan Roquemore. He averaged 13.8 points and 5.3 assists last year while shooting 34.3 percent on three-pointers. He posted a pair of double-doubles last season, including a 27-point, 10-assist effort one on national television against Oklahoma.
Lost: Clint Steindl, Rob Jones, Kenton Walker
Found: Paul McCoy, Matt Hodgson, Chris Reyes
St. Mary's returns three starters, but the losses of forward Rob Jones and sharpshooter Clint Steindl will hurt. Jones was possibly the best big man in the conference last year, averaging 15 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists, and Steindl made 42 percent of his three-pointers while averaging 7.9 points.
Among the Gaels' returning starters is Matthew Dellavedova. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.4 assists per game last season. With another year under his belt, he has the potential to lead the nation in assists. This summer, he played with the Australian Olympic team and against Russia had 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Also in the backcourt, St. Mary's returns Stephen Holt and Jorden Page. Holt averaged 10.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists last year, and Page averaged eight points and 2.3 assists.
Although St. Mary's backcourt is great, the big question is whether the Gaels can adequately replace Jones up front.
Sophomore Brad Waldow and senior Mitchell Young will likely have to share the load. Waldow made an immediate impact with the Gaels last year, averaging 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds, and Young averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds two years ago.
Preseason All-WCC Awards
Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary's
Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Anthony Ireland, Loyola Marymount
Elias Harris, Gonzaga
Brandon Davies, Brigham Young
WCC Preseason Player of the Year—Elias Harris, Gonzaga
Defensive Player of the Year—Brandon Davies, Brigham Young
Newcomer of the Year—De'End Parker, San Francisco
Predicted Order of Finish
2. St. Mary's
3. Brigham Young
4. Loyola Marymount
5. Santa Clara
8. San Francisco
9. San Diego