Can we all admit that Pepperdine looked like a much different team in this tourney? They played a well-rested St. Mary’s tough.
Better, but SMC played like crap. If they play like that I don’t care who their 1st round NCAA opponent is they will get bounced. Pepp has been missing pieces all year and finally got full strength at the end, but that’s still a garbage team. SMC should have blown them out of the water, but they were lucky come away with the W. Hopefully that game is a wake up call for SMC (even though I don’t like them, I do cheer for WCC success in the NCAA’s).
Pepp is better than their record indicated. They’ve had a ridiculous # injuries and missed games including starters and key players like Cameron Edwards. And still weren’t fully healthy for the tourney, starter Cooper has been out of late.
IMO, there same talent on that roster including several young guys. With Wilson departing it will be interesting to see how many guys leave. Freshmen Colby Ross is probably the biggest risk, I could see another decent program like SDSU try to cherry pick him. Breaking down their returning talent compared to us:
– Edwards > Vrankic
– Berthow > Hauser
– Cooper (injured) > Walters
– KJ > Ross but not by much and Ross is probably as good or better than KJ was a freshmen.
There’s some talent there and superior athleticism at several positions so not surprised they beat us. Show’s how far we need to go and why it is so critical that Sendek recruit well including getting immediate impact from several newbies per year….this so far Vrankic is the only Sendek recruit to have an immediate impact.
Agree on Niyi. Omitted him partly for brevity (which I probably still failed at). No question Niyi was probably the most athletic ‘4’ KK recruited but just so-so O skills and limited perimeter skills whereas Traz and Kratch are more comparable to Vrankic given their perimeter shooting ability.
Another solid KK era ‘4’ is Dowdell though technically he was DD’s recruit but only played under KK. Started as a frosh, averaged around 10pts and 4-5rebs, decent athlete and tough, hard-nosed player, evidenced by the fact he played some Aussie Rules Football when he returned home after SCU.
If we don’t land Otchere or someone similar for 2018/19 then i’d settle for a Dowdell 2.0….someone 225+, decent athlete, tough, physical player, defends the post well maybe undersized for the 5 but still capable of playing there some given strength and physicality. Wouldn’t push us to another tier but at least keeps us from being completely outmuscled and manhandled in the paint.