Predicting Mountain West Basketball 2019-20 Breakout Candidates
Who will be next in line to take over in the Mountain West?
Predicting ’19-20 MWC breakout candidates
A.J. Walker, Air Force
A.J. Walker became the first Falcon freshman since 2001 to average eight points per game this past season, helping guide Dave Pilipovich’s squad to a sixth-place Mountain West finish. Air Force already has its point guard of the present and future in Walker. The San Antonio native will help set the table for the league’s top frontcourt duo in Lavelle Scottie and Ryan Swan.
Brae Ivey, San Jose State
Brae Ivey enters his senior season as SJSU’s leading returning scorer. The former Riverside City College standout needs to be more efficient on offense, given last season’s poor field goal percentage (37.7%) and alarmingly-high turnover rate (26.7). Ivey does have a knack of getting to the free throw line, though, where he converted 78.9 percent of his attempts a year ago. He also led the Spartans with 102 assists on the season.
Jake Hendricks, Wyoming
Losing Justin James to graduation means someone is going to have to step up for a Wyoming team that was 325th in offensive efficiency even despite having a top 40 draft pick on its roster. Jake Hendricks figures to be the guy, carrying his three-point prominence over from the junior college level last season. Hendricks hit nearly three triples a game and shot at a 40.6 percent clip from deep in his first year with the Cowboys. An LCL tear hardly slowed Hendricks in ’18-19, so he should be even better as a healthy senior.
Kendle Moore, Colorado State
Colorado State found a good one in Kendle Moore, a shifty point guard listed at 5-10/145. As a freshman, Moore tallied nearly nine points and three assists per game while converting 69.8 percent of his at-rim field goal attempts. With double-digit scorers J.D. Paige and Anthony Masinton-Bonner no longer on campus, look for Moore’s offensive workload to step up a notch as a sophomore.
Justin Bean, Utah State
You won’t find many guys in the country that better fit the “glue guy” or “dirty work” or “intangibles” role as Justin Bean. The former walk-on was pivotal down the stretch as the Aggies went on a 17-1 tear to reach the NCAA Tournament. Bean can jump out of the gym if you let him, makes his presence felt on the boards, and is dependable on offense.