Weber State Wildcats (18-14, 11-5)
Projected starting five:
Jr. G Damian Lillard
Jr. G/F Scott Bamforth
Sr. F Kyle Bullinger
Sr. F Darin Mahoney
So. C Kyle Tresnak
Lindsey Hughey: 12.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 5.2 rpg, 1.4 steals per game, 50 3-pointers made per game
Trevor Morris: 9.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1 block per game
Bullinger: 11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 54 3-pointers per game
Bamforth: 12.4 ppg, 2.8 apg, 78 3-pointers per game
Mahoney: 5.2 rpg, 1.1 blocks per game, 1.1 steals per game
Lillard: Medical redshirt (19.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Frank Otis: transfer from Southern Methodist
Toughest nonconference match up: at Utah State or at California.
Hardest conference stretch: at Northern Colorado and at Montana to end regular season.
Here’s how Weber State didn’t win its third consecutive Big Sky regular-season conference title: Damian Lillard got injured nine games into the season.
Yes, Northern Colorado went on a tear, and Montana played exceptional, but 2010-11 produced Randy Rahe’s second-worst record during his coaching career. Lillard scored nearly 20 points a game in nine straight, and the production, while very good, dropped off when he was out injured. It helped that the scoring was spread among a quartet of players – between 315 and 398 points scored for Morris, Bullinger, Bamforth and Hughey – which will make the team that much stronger this year. But Lillard, the Big Sky MVP in 2009-10 and a two-time first-team all-conference member, is the straw that stirs the drink, the key to the ignition…you get the point. Bamforth and Bullinger are great second and third options, especially when someone drives and kicks it to them beyond the arc — they posted a combined 128 3-pointers last season — and Bullinger and Mahoney provide most of the glasswork.