In this segment, I outline the emerging prospects for the 2011-2012 MAC Conference season.
Anthony Marshall, UNLV- With Willis gone, Marshall should become UNLV's go-to scorer on the perimeter. Last year, Marshall proved to be a tenacious defender that also thrived attacking the basket. He ranked 16th in the Mountain West in kenpom.com's Fouls Drawn statistic, while moving his feet well and finishing 9th in the Mountain West in % Steals. Further, Marshall rebounded well for his size (6'3), finishing 27th in the MWC in Defensive Rebounding % and 26th in Offensive Rebounding %. Look for Marshall to improve upon these numbers and to have an All Conference season for the Running Rebels. With that said, he must become a better 3 pt. shooter (20.3%) in order to receive looks from NBA scouts.
Kendall Williams, New Mexico- Williams was probably the most underrated freshman in the country last season. Standing at 6'3, Williams proved that he has the features of a prototypical NBA point guard, capable of distributing the ball and scoring efficiently. According to kenpom.com, he finished 5th in the MWC in Assist Rate. And, he ranked 9th overall in the Mountain West in terms of his 'Offensive Rating', even with the 23rd highest usage. He demonstrated a proficiency shooting the ball at a 42.6% rate from beyond the arc and posting a 59.8 TS%. With the graduation of Dairese Gary, Williams will have increased responsibilities as a primary distributor; therein, he should become one of the nation's leading passers this season, particularly with the arrival of impact freshman Hugh Greenwood. Defensively, Williams must improve as a 1-on-1 defender, but was effective stealing the ball (2.7 Steals %), while rarely being called for a foul. (2.2 fouls called per 40 minutes) Look for Williams to emerge on a national scale this season, and to lead New Mexico to an NCAA tournament birth.
J.R. Cadot, TCU- Cadot quietly had a very productive season for the Horned Frogs in 2010-2011. While he does not have a defined position at the NBA level because of his inability to hit shots from the perimeter, Cadot was extremely efficient from the field. He posted a True Shooting Percentage of 65.2%, (19th in the country) despite only attempting 10 three point field goals. Further, he was one of the best rebounders for his size, ranking 3rd in the MWC in Offensive Rebounding % and 11th in Defensive Rebounding %. Cadot has an opportunity to improve on last season's offensive numbers, as he got to the line fairly frequently, but only connected on 55.1% of his attempts. Look for him to be one of the few bright spots on this year's TCU program.
Dorian Green, Colorado St.- In Green's second season with the Rams, he regressed in most categories. However, with the losses of Ogide and Franklin, Green should once again take on a larger role in his team's offense in 2011-2012. With that said, Green was a more willing passer last season, ranking 13th in the conference in Assist Rate. With more possessions, Green should continue to get to the line as he did in his freshman season. Further, he must improve his long range shooting in order to regain his standing as one of the conference's elite offensive weapons. For reference, he only connected on approximately 29% of his three point attempts last season. Look for Green's production to improve this year as a result of personnel changes, and for him to become more of a facilitator.