As the Zags enter the 09-10 season, point guard Matt Bouldin looks to be the top player for GU. Here's five reasons why the senior-to-be will win the West Coast Conference's player of the year award next march.
1) He's The Unrivaled Starting Point Guard
With Jeremy Pargo leaving, Steven Gray firmly positioned as a two-guard, and Demetri Goodson not yet ready to take over the reigns of the offense, Bouldin will enter the season as the unquestioned starting point guard of the Zags. That means from March 28th of this year (the day after the Zags lost to UNC in the Sweet Sixteen) until the season tips off, Bouldin will be running the first team offense every day in practice. That means by November Bouldin should be more than comfortable in his role and be ready to take on the season. Plus, Zags starting pgs have in recent years been privileged to get some private tutoring from Zags and NBA great John Stockton, and I think everyone can agree that some pointers from one of the best to ever play the game can't hurt.
2) The Zags Offense Will Be Even Faster Paced in 09-10
With the loss of inside players Josh Heytvelt and Ira Brown, the Zags have lost a huge portion of what little inside game they had. That means that the offense will likely be even more up tempo, and conducive to huge numbers from the 1 spot. As long as Bouldin gets a firm grasp of the offense, and doesn't buckle under the pressure of being the top guy in the offense, he should have a chance to put up monster numbers next year.
3) Bouldin Has Come Into His Own
After struggling to find consistency in his first two years as a Zag, it all seemed to click last year for Bouldin. While Jeremy Pargo struggled midway through the non-conference slate, Bouldin was getting better each game. Bouldin finished the season with career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and a career low in turnover ratio. If he continues that trend next year, he could be one of the premiere point guards in not only the WCC, but the nation.
4) The WCC Has a Shortage of High Profile Players
Potential NBA stars Austin Daye from GU, and Patty Mills from St. Marys have both declared for the NBA Draft, and while both can still withdraw their names, many speculate they could both be mid-first round picks and thus, are likely to remain in the mix. Last year's POY, John Bryant from Santa Clara, has graduated. As have Zags stars Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt. That means that the West Coast Conference has lost a lot of top talent and marquee names. Bouldin may enter next year as the best pro prospect in the league, and the face of the conference. That early season publicity will give him a perfect launching pad to start his 09-10 campaign.
5) Bouldin is the Best Player on the WCC's Best Team
The Zags are hands down the best team in the West Coast Conference. That means that the best GU player has an inside track to the conference's post-season awards. With all the aforementioned GU stars leaving, Bouldin is now the top dog in the Kennel, and if the Zags can dominate the conference like they have in the past, and are still more than capable of, Bouldin should take home the trophy next March.