99 in 99: #71 Weber State Wildcats

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Damian Lillard

Weber State has dominated the Big Sky in the past two years but have fallen short of punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.  This season behind NBA prospect Damian Lillard, the Wildcats are itching to put on dancing shoes.

The Sports Bank’s 99 in 99 breaks down the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors.  Everything you need to know about the up-coming college basketball season is right here at your disposal.  Click here for teams #72-#99.

By: David Kay

Weber State Wildcats (1st, 13-3 in Big Sky, 20-11 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: Trevor Morris (Sr)/Kyle Tresnack (Fr)/James Hajek (Fr)
PF: Darin Mahoney (Jr)/Byron Fulton (Fr)
SF: Kyle Bullinger (Jr)/Blake Davis (Fr)/Josh Noble (Sr)
SG: Lindsey Hughey (Sr)/Scott Bamforth (So)/B.J. Porter (So)
PG: Damian Lillard (Jr)/Jordan Richardson (Fr)

Gone: C-Steve Panos, G/F-Franklin Session (transfer-Cal State L.A.), SG-Nick Hansen

2010-2011 Outlook:
The Wildcats have dominated the Big Sky the past years compiling a 28-4 regular season record.  However, the memory of Montana’s Anthony Johnson going off for 42 points as the Grizzlies upset Weber State 66-65 in Big Sky Championship, thus costing the Wildcats a trip to the NCAA Tournament, has certainly haunted the team this off-season.  To add to the misery, it was the second straight year Weber State entered the conference tournament as the top seed only to fall short of the dance.

Back to run the show is junior point guard Damian Lillard, who by Big Sky standards is just a superior athlete.  After Lillard, the Wildcats’ next three leading scorers are gone meaning a couple players will have to step into the complimentary role.  Returning wings Kyle Bullinger and Lindsey Hughey are the most likely candidates to do so, while former high school teammates Byron Fulton and Blake Davis should add some depth after a redshirt year.  Portland transfer B.J. Porter becomes eligible after the first semester and will bring some valuable game experience.

The Wildcats will be put to the test with a pretty tough non-conference slate that features road games at Utah State, Utah, and Tulsa, a home game against BYU, and a trip to the way northwest for the Great Alaska Shootout.  If they can stay competitive in those games and maybe sneak out a win or two, Weber State will once again be the favorite heading into conference play.  They will need to get the monkey off their back and win the post-season tournament though if they want to be dancing.

Damian Lillard nba

Player to Watch: Damian Lillard, PG
The reigning Big Sky Conference MVP is showing up on a lot of 2011 NBA Draft boards and could be heading into his final year at Weber State.  He led the conference in scoring and is dangerous off the bounce as well as a pretty efficient outside shooter.  Lillard was also rather consistent last season, scoring in double figures in 29 of the Cats’ 31 games.  I cannot help but think of Lillard in the same regard as what Eric Maynor brought to VCU; an NBA-caliber floor general playing in a mid-major conference who can score and also distribute the basketball.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 at Utah State
11/20 at Utah
11/26 vs. Arizona State/Houston Baptist (Great Alaska Shootout)
11/27 vs. St. John’s/Ball State/Drake/Southern Utah (Great Alaska Shootout)
12/16 at Tulsa
12/21 vs. BYU
2/19 vs. TBA (ESPN Bracket Buster)

Other 99 in 99’s:
#72 Alabama
#73 Bradley
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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