Busting Brackets
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WCC Basketball: Ranking of the top 25 players for 2021-22 season

Apr 3, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) celebrates during the first half against the UCLA Bruins in the national semifinals of the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) celebrates during the first half against the UCLA Bruins in the national semifinals of the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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WCC Basketball Brigham Young Cougars guard Alex Barcello Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
WCC Basketball Brigham Young Cougars guard Alex Barcello Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Andrew Nembhard, Gonzaga, Guard

If it’s possible to be underrated as the starting point guard and Preseason All-WCC Team, then Nembhard is deserving of the title. With the losses of Joel Ayayi and Suggs, Nembhard’s steady hand becomes invaluable for Few’s team. Yet somehow many analysts forecasting the Zags’ lineup see Nembhard potential playing off the ball deferring to Bolton or Hickman. That ignores a junior season that showed Nembhard as one of the best pick-and-roll players in the country.

Nembhard’s unselfishness is often visible, never forcing the ball to in his hands when he shared lead guard duties for a team that almost went undefeated last year. But after a disappointing performance in the national championship, he will be asked to get the offense going for over 30 minutes per game.

He’ll be paired often with off-ball combo guards and asked to get Timme and Holmgren going. He will also be asked to shoot and score more, something that he excelled in with the ball in his hands off of screens. It’s entirely possible that he leads the conference in assist totals with his increased usage. If Gonzaga wants to return to the championship and take the next step, Nembhard will be instrumental.

3. Alex Barcello, Bringham Young, Guard

Another marquee returner in the conference was the decision to play a fifth year by Barcello. At 47%  from three, the marksman finished 10th in the country in three-point percentage but first for players with at least 100 attempts. He also was an adept dimer, averaging 4.3 assists per game last season. That showing earned him All-American honors and sets him up to be in the national conversation for the Bob Cousy award this year.

Barcello’s decision-making makes him a nightmare for opponents. Averaging just 2 turnovers a game, he forces defenses to not overcommit when guarding him and allows him to create good looks off the dribble. The Arizona native had a 60.5% effective field goal rate last season which saw him lead the team in scoring and the best offensive threat for the Cougars since the days of Jimmer Fredette.

The addition of Lucas adds a wrinkle where Barcello won’t need to manage the entirety of the offense and find open looks off the ball with more catch-and-shoot opportunities. Retaining Barcello gives Pope a fighting chance against the Zags this year and a clear NCAA tournament team.