Scouting the Bay Area teams
The season opens Friday night for five Bay Area squads
Here’s the skinny on the Bay Area college basketball teams, all but one of which opens its season Friday night.
Coach: Wyking Jones (first season). 2016-17: 21-13overall, 10-8and tied for fifth in the Pac-12(NIT). What has changed: Almost everything. Gone are coach Cuonzo Martin (to Missouri), forward Ivan Rabb (Memphis Grizzlies), guard Jabari Bird (Boston Celtics), point guard Charlie Moore (Kansas Jayhawks) and center Kam Rooks (San Diego State). First-time head coach Jones will try to stitch together a team with a roster featuring six freshmen.
Who towatch: Senior forward Marcus Lee is home after three seasons at Kentucky. The 6-foot-9native of Antioch will pair with returning center Kingsley Okoroh to give the Bears size and experience inside. Junior guard Don Coleman, who scored a career-high 26points in last season’s final game, is an aggressive, high-energy player. What will happen: The inexperienced Bears were picked 11th in the Pac12media poll and their chances of exceeding that projection might depend on howwell they execute Jones’ plan for a full-court pressing defense.
Season opener: Friday vs. UC Riverside at Haas Pavilion, 9p.m. For complete schedule, go to www.calbears.com STANFORD CARDINAL Coach: Jerod Haase (14-17 in second season at Stanford, 94-70in sixth season overall).
2016-17: 14-17overall, 6-12 and tied for ninth in Pac-12.
What has changed: The expectations. Stanford’s players and coaches are counting on an NCAA tournament bid after nine losses in their final 12games a year ago. Most of the personnel returns, but freshmen point guards Daejon Davis and IsaacWhite should have impact. Who towatch: Reid Travis got a medical hardship waiver after missing most of the 2015-16season, so he returns as a junior. He found his groove late in last season, averaging 19.8 points, 9.6rebounds and shooting 62percent over the final nine games.
What will happen: Stanford should score near the top of the nation in strength of schedule with at least eight games vs. preseason Top-25teams by the end of January, including nonconference games against North Carolina, Florida, Kansas — and possibly No. 1Duke. Season opener: Friday vs. Cal Poly at Maples Pavilion, 4p.m. For complete schedule, go to www.gostanford. com SAINT MARY’S GAELS
Coach: Randy Bennett (362-156in 17th season).
2016-17: 29-5overall, 16-2 and second in theWest Coast Conference (NCAA tournament).
What has changed: The No. 22Gaels were picked first in theWCC coaches poll, the first time since 2001the nod did not go to Gonzaga. “I wish it meant something,’’ said all-WCC forward Calvin Hermanson. “In our eyes, Gonzaga is still the team to beat.” The Gaels lost their two top defenders, guard Joe Rahon and forward Dane Pineau, but picked up graduate transfer guard Cullen Neal of Mississippi. Who towatch: Senior center Jock Landale (16.9points, 9.5rebounds) was pegged as the nation’s 10th-best player by Sports Illustrated. Hermanson (13.1points) is a versatile scorer, and point guard Emmett Naar enters his senior season needing 231assists to break Matthew Dellavedova’s school record of 731. Whatwill happen: One of the nation’smost efficient offensive teams, the Gaels will fight it out forWCC supremacy with Gonzaga, as usual. A seventh NCAA bid in 14years is the minimum goal.
Season opener: Saturday vs. Saint Francis at McKeon Pavilion, 5p.m. For complete schedule, go to www.smcgaels.com SANTA CLARA BRONCOS
Coach: Herb Sendek (17-16 in second season at SCU, 430-311in 24th season overall). 2016-17: 17-16overall, 10-8and tied for fourth in theWest Coast Conference.
What has changed: The Broncos move forward without Jared Brownridge, the school’s No. 2all-time scorer (2,313points). But they picked up a valuable asset in Bay Area native Henry Caruso, a graduate transfer from Princeton, where he averaged 15 points as a junior before an injury cut short his 2016-17 campaign.
Who towatch: Guard K.J. Feagin (14.9points, 4.4assists) missed 14games last season because of injury but converted 49percent of his 3-point tries in the other 19games. Feagin will pair in the backcourt with fellow junior Matt Hauser (10.3 points, 5.2assists).
What will happen: With the arrival of a four-man freshman class, Sendek has more pieces than a year ago, when the Broncos won three more games than the season before. Expect a little more still. Season opener: Friday vs. La Verne at the Leavey Center, 7p.m. For complete schedule, go to www.santaclarabroncos.com SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS Coach: Jean Prioleau (first season). 2016-17: 14-16overall, 7-11 and tied for eighth in the MountainWest.
What has changed: A whole bunch. Coach Dave Wojcik resigned for personal reasons after getting SJSU closer to .500than it has been since 2011. Then star forward Brandon Clarke (17.3points, 8.7rebounds) transferred to Gonzaga. So, another SJSU reboot.
Who towatch: The Spartans hired Colorado assistant Jean Prioleau to run the program and he inherits forward RyanWelage (13.2 points) and redshirt freshman forward Keith Fisher III, a former L.A. City Player of the Year, who had 16 points in the team’s second exhibition.
What will happen: The Spartans have had one winning season since 1994, and they were projected to finish 10th in the 11-team MountainWest this season. Prioleau, who used 12players in each of two exhibition games, will try to whittle his rotation down to something that can generate success. Season opener: Friday vs. Antelope Valley at the Event Center, 7p.m. For complete schedule, go to www.sjsuspartans.com USF DONS Coach: Kyle Smith (20-13 in second season at USF, 121-95in eighth season overall). 2016-17: 20-13overall, 10-8and tied for fourth in theWest Coast Conference.
What has changed: The Dons won’t sneak up on anyone this season. Last year, after being picked ninth in theWCC, USF tied for fourth andwon 20 games in Smith’s debut season. Only leading scorer Ronnie Boyce is gone among the roster’s top 10 point producers.
Who towatch: Everyone. The Dons excelled last season because of depth, defense and a school-record 2993-pointers. Smith might even go deeper to his bench with the arrival of four newcomers, including 6-9Estonian forward Taavi Jurkatamm and guard Jamaree Bouyea. What will happen: USF should be as good or better than a year ago, but the climb near the top of the WCC becomes very steep. Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and BYU have held down the top three spots the past three seasons, and that will be tough to change. Season opener: Friday vs. Long Beach State atWar Memorial Gym, 8p.m. For complete schedule, go to www.usfdons.com
Cal center Kingsley Okoroh, left, and forward Marcus Lee, right, answer questions during the Pac-12’s NCAA college basketball media day.