Kyle Bullinger, WEBER STATE, 6-foot-6 junior forward: Bullinger is a hard-nosed, hustle player who can shoot from the perimeter. He has made 62 straight starts for the Wildcats, and is a leader both on and off the court. He averaged 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season.
Matt Massey, SOUTHERN UTAH, 6-FOOT-9 JUNIOR CENTER: This athletic big man from Australia has a year of Div. I hoops under his belt and will be one of the Thunderbirds’ main go-to guys. He averaged 7.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last year. His coach, Roger Reid, says that he has an amazing outside shooting touch for a guy his size and is crafty around the basket. This season he is expected to pick up his game even more.
Brockeith Pane, UTAH STATE, 6-foot-2 junior guard: Pane was named the media’s preseason WAC newcomer of the year. He brings something to the Aggies they have not had in quite some time, a point guard that create off the dribble and attack the basket. In his first game as an Aggie, Pane scored 23 points against Weber State. If that is any indication of things to come, Pane could be quite a special player for the Aggies.
Jordan Swarbrick, UTAH VALLEY, 6-foot-7 senior guard: A silky-smooth shooter, Swarbrick was a second-team All-Great West Conference player last season. He was the team’s leading scorer at 12.4 ppg and third in rebounding at 4.9 rpg. He scored in double-figures 20 times last season and also led the team in steals and assists. He is fourth on the school’s all-time points scored list, and is in the top five in 13 other categories.
Josh Watkins, UTAH, 6-foot junior guard: After his team struggled at the point guard position, Utah coach Jim Boylen was thrilled to get Watkins, who led his Howard College team to the National Junior College Athletic Association title. Watkins averaged 16 points and five assists on the season and was the most valuable player in the NJCAA tournament. Watkins is known for his toughness and knack for getting to the hoop as well as his ability to find teammates for assists.
Jackson Emery, BYU, 6-FOOT-3 SENIOR GUARD: As the perfect complement to Jimmer Fredette in BYU’s backcourt, Emery knows how to find the open spot when Fredette is double teamed, and he’s one of the MWC’s top long-range shooters. He has hit five 3-pointers in a game five times in his career. An athletic player with great quickness and leaping ability, Emery is perhaps best known for his defense, earning MWC All-Defense accolades last season with a school-record 91 steals.
David Foster, UTAH, 7-foot-3 junior center: Foster came off his LDS mission last year and immediately became a defensive force for the Utes. He set school records for blocked shots in a game (10) and for the season (115) and was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year. He was just the third MWC player to get more than 100 blocks in a season. This year he expected to keep up his defensive prowess in the middle, while improving both his point and rebound averages.
Damian Lillard, WEBER STATE, 6-foot-2 junior guard: Lillard is the reigning Big Sky Player of the Year and led the conference in scoring last season at 19.9 points per game. He can shoot, has tremendous ball-handling skills and can play both point guard and shooting guard. He opened the season with 28 points and six 3-pointers against Utah State.
Tai Wesley, UTAH STATE, 6-foot-7 senior forward: Wesley was named the WAC coaches’ preseason player of the year and was voted first team by the media. He has started in 95 games for the Aggies during his career and is the team’s undisputed leader. In the paint he displays a dizzying array of post moves. An all-around contributor, he is the only active player in Division I with at least 1,200 points, 600 rebounds, 250 assists and 100 blocks.
Jimmer Fredette, BYU, 6-FOOT-2 SENIOR GUARD: No BYU player since the legendary Danny Ainge has carried the accolades or expectations that Fredette has on his shoulders every game. He’s a preseason first-team AP All-American and a first-teamer on five other preseason All-American teams. He’s coming off a junior season in which he scored more than 22 points per game, scored more than 30 points eight times and set a school record with 49 points against Arizona last December.