Five for ’21: Ranking The Mountain West’s Top Five Passers
Predicting the top five Mountain West passers of the ’20-21 season
Who are the top passers in the MW?
As part of Mountain West Wire’s continued dedication to offseason basketball content, we welcome you to the first installment of the Five For ’21 series.
The Five For ’21 series features our ranking of the top five Mountain West players in five different skill sets: passing, scoring, defending, rebounding, and shot-blocking. Rankings aren’t position-specific, meaning a non-point guard can appear on the top passer list, a top scorer might not be a shooting guard, and so on.
We hope you enjoy the five-article series and engage in further conversation about where certain players should rank or appear on our Five For ’21 lists.
The Five For ’21 series schedule is below.
- Monday: Passers
- Tuesday: Scorers
- Wednesday: Shot Blockers
- Thursday: Defenders
- Friday: Rebounders
Without further adieu, we open up with a youngster looking to make an impact on one of the Mountain West’s highly anticipated teams next season.
5) RayJ Dennis, Boise State
1.8 APG, 1.90 AST/TOV, 18.3 AST Rate, 18.3 TOV Rate
Dennis is one of two sophomores on this list who played key roles on their squads in 2019-2020. While Dennis played more of a supportive role in his freshman season compared to the other youngster listed, he did so extremely efficiently in the time he was allotted.
His role for the Broncos last season was a bit limited at 17.4 MPG, but in that time he made the absolute most of his opportunities behind an experienced group of senior ball handlers with 1.8 APG and an assist to turnover ratio of 1.90:1. The upcoming season will definitely be a test for the young playmaker as even though the Broncos bring in a ton of talent via the transfer portal, the point guard position is one of the more shallow ones on the squad.
Dennis will definitely compete for the starting role with incoming transfer Marcus Shaver Jr., who was a bit more of a scorer than distributor at his previous stop but may have taken his sit-out year in Boise to add that attribute to his game.
4) A.J. Walker, Air Force
3.1 APG, 1.51 AST/TOV, 20.6 AST Rate, 17.1 TOV Rate
A.J. Walker’s decision to explore his options in the transfer portal in the midst of the Falcon’s coaching change back in March wasn’t too surprising. Guys transfer out of a program that is undergoing a coaching change all of the time, but how many opt to return? I’d love to know that number.
This will be Walker’s team next season and though he has impressive distribution numbers from last season, the Falcons lose four of their top five scorers to graduation going into 2020-2021. The junior guard will continue to get things done but may see his distribution numbers decrease a bit while his scoring averages and number of shots taken a game rise.
Walker certainly has the talent to take his game to the next level, spurning offers from TCU, Texas Tech and Tulsa this past spring to return to the Falcons. He just needs some help from guys like Mason Taylor and Christopher Joyce in the backcourt do to so.