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MWC Preview 2021-2022 - Incoming Freshmen

String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader

We still aren't even halfway through the off-season so it is way too early to preview MWC teams. But since news is slow these days and the 2021 freshman classes are mostly completed, I offer an early preview of the incoming MWC freshmen.

The opinions given on players are based on my own binge-watching of high school games in the NFHSNetwork video library. International players are not included, since video of them is scarce. Time will tell whether or not my opinion is any better than the scouting services who generally aren't very good at differentiating between 2-star and 3-star players and often overrate 4-star players. Obviously, the more times one watches a player, the more accurate their assessment will be. But I found that watching more than two games made no difference.

Five players stood out to me -- three posts, one point guard, and one wing -- with one of them (literally) standing above the rest.

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Topic starter Posted : June 7, 2021 3:05 pm
String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader

My pick for Freshman of the Year is Wyoming's 6-4 Allyson Fertig. (Think of Richelle van der Keijl, only faster.) Allyson only lost two games in her four years in Douglas, WY. She always wanted to be a Cowgirl and committed early before the P5 schools discovered her. She doesn't have the shooting range of Mallory McGwire, but she is fundamentally sound at converting high lobs into easy points like a taller Jaisa Nunn. Defensively, she is a mobile rim protector who (scary to think) will make Wyoming's defense that much better. And she has a place in the starting lineup reserved for her because of the graduation of Davidsdottir, Wyoming's one-year rent-a-center. ( https://www.hudl.com/profile/10550790/Allyson-Fertig)

UNLV signed three freshman point guards. The one most likely to challenge former MWC all-conference transfer, Essence Booker, for the starting job is 5-6 Alyssa Durazo-Frescas. Frescas is very reminiscent of Fresno State's Aly Gamez -- good handles, good shooter, and she darts around the court like Aly. If not for Booker, Frescas could easily be a four-year starter. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLg84E1ImOQ)

UNLV also signed 6-1 Alyssa Brown who was the Arizona Gatorade POY in 2020. She is a strong, athletic post with a decent inside touch. She won't likely start in place of last year's Freshman of the Year, Desi-Rae Young. But she will certainly replace the 6-1 subs that transferred out. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghbwcVO-7cQ)

Nevada signed a quality post, 6-3 Natalie Lathrop. She is very mobile and wiry, a decent defender and rebounder who should fit Nevada's style quite well. Her shooting range is limited, but her footwork around the basket is very good. With Ormiston, Nevada now has two 6-3 centers to share the minutes. ( https://www.hudl.com/profile/13984915/Natalie-Lathrop)

My 5th pick (not necessarily in rank order) is UNM's 5-10 Viané Cumber. The two-time New Mexico Gatorade POY has very good ball-handling skills and can score from deep, mid-range, or inside. She has great court vision and understanding of the game. She is used to walking the ball up the court and playing at a comfortable speed where she can dominate shorter, less talented high school players. There will be some adjustment for her to the college game and UNM's faster tempo, but she won't have to worry about the constant attention and box-and-one defenses. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0sbyZ8jixo)

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Topic starter Posted : June 7, 2021 3:06 pm
String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader

Ten Honorable Mention:

Boise State: 5-9 Linsey Lovrovich (ambidextrous slasher with a small frame)
Colorado State: 5-10 Kylee Arzner (stocky wing, 3-way scorer, passer)
Colorado State: 5-6 G Anna Prim (PG for Spain's national team)
Fresno State: 6-2 Sydney Dethman (lanky perimeter player)
Fresno State: 6-3 Jessica Peterson (strong athlete; needs work on her shot)
Nevada: 5-9 Audrey Roden (good outside shooter)
New Mexico: 5-10 Mackenzie Curtis (outside shooter and inside banger)
San Diego State: 5-10 Meghan Fiso (loves the mid-range jump shot, DNP at U. of Mich.)
San Diego State: 5-11 Khylee Pepe (stocky inside banger, ranked #83 by ESPNW)
Wyoming: 5-10 Emily Mellema (slender, skilled combo guard)

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Topic starter Posted : June 7, 2021 3:07 pm
nmsutoo
(@nmsutoo)
Pack Leader

Thanks for the info, you've been busy.  MW has been getting some good players in the last few years, losing some good ones too.  It was just a crying shame the injuries and abandonment (Fresno player) didn't do the conference much good in post season play.  I think both teams (one or the other) would have had a change to get into the WNIT championship game or at least gotten a lot further than we did.  I guess none of the outstanding post player offers are going to be practicing with the team this summer.  Haven't heard of any new names. 

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Posted : June 7, 2021 4:44 pm
String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader
Posted by: @nmsutoo

MW has been getting some good players in the last few years, losing some good ones too.

It does look like the MWC has a pretty strong freshman class coming in. But it is hard to say how they will adjust to college ball.

UNLV signed five good freshmen and three transfers, two of which were all-conference and the other a starter at Washington. Considering they also have four non-senior starters returning, I would say the long-term balance of power in the MWC is shifting away from a much weaker Boise State to UNLV. UNM, Wyoming, Fresno State, and CSU are just trying to keep up and also trying to stay ahead of Nevada and SDSU. Of course, fortunes can change quickly in basketball with just a couple of big-time recruits.

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Topic starter Posted : June 8, 2021 1:14 pm
abqpianist, Lobo2x53, nmsutoo and 1 people liked
String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader

bump

Update: CSU signee Kylee Arzner wound up at a D2 school in her home state of Oregon. The other 14 mentioned above are on the rosters and to my knowledge healthy and ready to roll.

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Topic starter Posted : October 8, 2021 9:40 am
Lobo2x53 liked
Lobo2x53
(@lobo2x53)
Member Admin

I never trust how the voting will go, but Paula Reus, the Lobo post from Spain, is definitely good enough to get on the all FR watch.  SHe is going to be very good, and has a path to a goodly amount of playing time.

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Posted : October 8, 2021 12:37 pm
String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader
Posted by: @lobo2x53

I never trust how the voting will go, but Paula Reus, the Lobo post from Spain, is definitely good enough to get on the all FR watch.  SHe is going to be very good, and has a path to a goodly amount of playing time.

I agree. When I first posted this four months ago, I hadn't seen any of our international players and didn't include them (or any international players). Internationals are the biggest wild card in predicting which teams will succeed in the MWC. Several make the all-conference team and several others rarely play. Lately, the number of internationals on the all-conference team has dwindled as CSU, Wyoming, and Fresno State have recruited fewer than they were five years ago. Interestingly, UNM has increased their number from none to four in the same period, starting with Ahlise.

 

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Topic starter Posted : October 8, 2021 1:17 pm
Lobo2x53
(@lobo2x53)
Member Admin
Posted by: @string-music
Posted by: @lobo2x53

I never trust how the voting will go, but Paula Reus, the Lobo post from Spain, is definitely good enough to get on the all FR watch.  SHe is going to be very good, and has a path to a goodly amount of playing time.

I agree. When I first posted this four months ago, I hadn't seen any of our international players and didn't include them (or any international players). Internationals are the biggest wild card in predicting which teams will succeed in the MWC. Several make the all-conference team and several others rarely play. Lately, the number of internationals on the all-conference team has dwindled as CSU, Wyoming, and Fresno State have recruited fewer than they were five years ago. Interestingly, UNM has increased their number from none to four in the same period, starting with Ahlise.

 

Actually I think UNM has had 7 foreign players recently:  Bride, Ahlise, Celine, Kat, Rebeka, Paula, and Zeyno.

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Posted : October 8, 2021 9:47 pm
String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader

Right. But this is the first time we have had as many as four on the same team. Wyoming had nine a couple of years ago.

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Topic starter Posted : October 9, 2021 11:19 am
Lobo2x53
(@lobo2x53)
Member Admin

Yes--and I suspect this will not be the norm.  I think part of the current roster makeup is clearly because of the limited recruiting opportunities last season, coupled with what looked to be very few minutes available for FR (wow, that certainly changed!).  It has to be very difficult to decide who to offer when you can't see them face to face as was the case with the three European FR.

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Posted : October 9, 2021 12:26 pm
NickChaa
(@lowbo)
Pup

Viane is gonna do big things here! Cant wait to get this thing goin.

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Posted : October 18, 2021 7:28 pm
txlobo95
(@txlobo95)
Alpha Lobo Lobo level
Posted by: @lobo2x53

Actually I think UNM has had 7 foreign players recently:  Bride, Ahlise, Celine, Kat, Rebeka, Paula, and Zeyno.

Speaking of Kat, she is the only returning underclassmen with more than 100 minutes of PT from last year.  She had more minutes, 118 than Azaria, 61, and Celine, 40, combined, 101.  What do you see her role for this year?

Corina and Autumn each had over 300 minutes last year.  Ahlise also had 549 minutes, so clearly, there are huge minutes to fill by all the new and returning players, over 1,200 in total.

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Posted : October 19, 2021 7:14 am
nmsutoo
(@nmsutoo)
Pack Leader

Kath's biggest contribution last year was her rebounding.  Which we definitely needed.

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Posted : October 19, 2021 10:15 am
String Music
(@string-music)
Pack Leader

--- UPDATE ---

Three weeks isn't enough time to evaluate freshmen, as only a rare few have the opportunity to take on a major role early in their career. And thus far, the overwhelming majority of starters in the MWC are returnees and transfers, many averaging over 30 minutes per game. Nevertheless, about a dozen freshmen have already shown themselves to be players who can make an impact in 10+ minutes per game.

The only freshman starter out of the gate was Preseason Freshman of the Year:
PG Asia Avinger (SDSU). She isn't shooting a great percentage, but is the third leading scorer on her team at 9.5 ppg.

Two other freshmen are now starting for their teams:
5-6 Alyssa Durazo-Frescas (shooting 42% from the arc for UNLV)
5-7 Jo Huntimer (mostly a low-impact role player at AFA)

Players who are making an impact off the bench are:
5-9 Audrey Roden (10 ppg at Nevada)
6-4 Allyson Fertig (ranks 7th in minutes, but is leading Wyoming in pts/min and rebs/min by a large margin)
5-7 Kiara Jackson (backup PG behind Booker for UNLV)
6-1 Paula Reus (UNM's 3rd post)
5-10 Viane Cumber(UNM's top bench scorer)
6-2 Trista Hull (4th post in the rotation at Boise State with Muse, Lalotte, and Bowers)
5-6 Anna Prim (backup point guard behind Hofschild at CSU)
5-10 Emily Mellema (backup point guard behind Olson at Wyoming)
6-3 Natalie Lathrop (4th post for Nevada shooting a perfect 5 for 5 so far)

One player that was in my preseason Top 5 has looked good in limited minutes, but is blocked by multiple upperclassmen:
6-1 Alyssa Brown (5th post at UNLV behind Young, Rooks, Obiazor, Wilfred)

There may be more to come before the conference season begins. But for now, those are the likely candidates to make the All-freshman team.

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Topic starter Posted : November 29, 2021 10:27 am
txlobo95 and nmsutoo liked
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