MWC Wire Top 25 Basketball Countdown: Honorable Mentions

MWC Wire Top 25 Basketball Countdown: Honorable Mentions

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MWC Wire Top 25 Basketball Countdown: Honorable Mentions

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Jazz Johnson, Nevada

The Portland transfer comes to Reno after lighting things up in the WCC. Johnson scored 15.8 a night and shot 41.5 percent from deep as a sophomore, with nearly 40 percent of his field goal attempts coming from downtown. He’ll see plenty of action at the guard position for the loaded Wolf Pack.

Lindsey Drew, Nevada (17th last year)

If it weren’t for the unknown status of Drew’s injury, the Wolf Pack point guard would be a lock for a top 25 ranking. Drew ruptured his Achilles in February, missing the rest of Nevada’s special season. If Drew’s healthy, he’s the best do-it-all point guard in the conference. A redshirt year isn’t out of the realm of possibility, though.

Nisre Zouzoua, Nevada

Like it’s no big deal, Nevada adds another guard capable of averaging 17+ points a game in Zouzoua, a Bryant transfer. He might not see the type of playing time he did at Bryant until the Martin twins graduate, but he’s still an electric scorer who will hit big shots for the Wolf Pack the next two seasons.

Tre Thurman, Nevada

Thurman comes over from Omaha after sitting out this past season as a redshirt. Thurman is physical, aided by his 6-7, 220-pound frame and savvy around the paint. He was a handful of buckets away from averaging double figures in scoring in each of his first three years.

Ed Chang, San Diego State

Chang, formerly committed to Washington, is a 6-8 wing who could see his role expand as the season progresses. The four-star recruit from Nebraska has range that extends beyond the three-point line. Don’t be surprised if he develops into a reliable combo forward in an Aztec uniform.

Jeremy Hemsley, San Diego State (14th last year)

Now a senior, Hemsley hopes to close out his SDSU career with another NCAA Tournament appearance. Hemsley’s career progression has been strange, to say the least. The 6-4 guard averaged 12.0 and 12.9 points per game in his underclassmen seasons, starting 56 times. Last year, he scored just over seven points a night and lost his starter status while seeing his three-point effectiveness disappear.

Jordan Schakel, San Diego State

Schakel had a relatively quiet year, as expected, as a freshman behind an experienced San Diego State lineup. Now a sophomore, we can expect Schakel’s role to expand. Schakel, a former three-star recruit, has been commonly listed as a breakout candidate in the conference over the summer.

Oumar Barry, San Jose State

At 5.8 points per game, Barry is San Jose State’s leading returning scorer. The former DePaul Blue Demon started 14 games last season and should immediately be SJSU’s go-to outlet down low in ’18-19. He will need to grow up quick and take the reigns of the Spartan frontcourt that has a lot of question marks.

Bryce Hamilton, UNLV

Hamilton, a four-star freshman shooting guard, brings a much-needed scoring spark to the Runnin’ Rebel offense. A dynamic scorer, Hamilton could see his name in the starting lineup in no time as a freshman.

Kris Clyburn, UNLV

With the departures of Brandon McCoy and Jovan Mooring, UNLV needs to replace over 30 points of nightly offensive production. Clyburn, who averaged 7.3 points per game in both his sophomore and junior seasons, might need to shoulder a bit of the workload. Consistency and efficiency on the offensive side could go a long way towards a successful senior campaign.

Trey Woodbury, UNLV

Woodbury, another UNLV freshman wing, comes to Vegas with perimeter shooting and driving abilities. The three-star recruit picked UNLV over multiple high-major programs.

Dwayne Brown, Jr., Utah State

Brown is currently dealing with a broken hand, but when healthy, he could be Sam Merrill‘s sidekick in the Utah State offense. The JUCO product scored 9.0 points per game as a guard-forward. In a more fluid, up-tempo Craig Smith offense, Brown should be able to maximize on his potential.

Quinn Taylor, Utah State

Taylor might be one of the most underrated players in the conference. The 6-7 senior forward shot a 60.5 percent clip from the field last year and has some glances of a versatile and efficient (1.29 points per possession) offensive asset. Taylor could be featured in every Aggie starting lineup as a senior.

Hunter Maldonado, Wyoming

The ceiling is sky-high for Maldonado, a 6-7 slasher with limitless potential. Maldonado was banged up quite a bit as a freshman, but still showed flashes of a player who could morph into an honors candidate in the conference. He’s likely the No. 2 option in the Cowboy offense behind star Justin James.

Hunter Thompson, Wyoming

Thompson might be exactly what Allen Edwards needs in the post-Hayden Dalton/Alan Herndon era of Wyoming basketball. The 2017 Mr. Wyoming Basketball winner sat out last season as a redshirt. He’s a four-star recruit and stands at 6-10, 225.

Eli Boettger is the lead basketball writer at Mountain West Wire. He’s covered Mountain West basketball since 2015 and his work has been featured on Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, SB Nation, Yahoo Sports, MSN, and other platforms. Boettger is a current USBWA member.

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