Boise State is in its 10th season under Leon Rice, the longest-tenured head coach in the Mountain West Conference. The Broncos have made the postseason in five of Rice’s previous nine years – including the first two at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in school history. The Broncos have also won at least 20 games in seven of Rice’s nine seasons. The Broncos return All-Mountain West honorees Justinian Jessup and Derrick Alston, in addition to Marcus Dickinson, Alex Hobbs and RJ Williams, each of whom started at least 18 games in 2018-19. Jessup (14.0), Alston (13.4) and Hobbs (12.1) were the Broncos’ top three scorers a year ago, and Jessup (4.5) also led the team in rebounding.
Georgia Tech enters its fourth season under head coach Josh Pastner, having gone 14-18 last season and posting its highest Atlantic Coast Conference finish since the 2013 season. Paster welcomes back all five players who started their final two games of the season. Tech returns its top three scorers from the 2018-19 season - 6 foot junior guard Jose Alvarado, 6'9 senior center James Banks III and 6'4 sophomore guard Michael Devoe - who accounted for 48.4 percent of the Yellow Jackets' points, 41.6 percent of the rebounds and 47.2 percent of the minutes.
Hawai'i has been a model of consistency with a winning record in six of the last seven seasons, and are looking to make the postseason for the first time since head coach, Eran Ganot's inaugural season in 2015-16. Last year was defined by depth and balanced scoring and it should be more of the same this season. UH returns three starters and nine letter winners from last year's squad that went 18-13 overall. Among the returnees is senior forward Zigmars Raimo who was among the most improved players in the country after co-leading the team in scoring (11.5ppg). Junior point guard, Drew Buggs (8.8 ppg), an honorable mention all-Big West selection, is also back. A two-year starter, Buggs is one of the league's premier guards after leading the Big West in assists per game(5.4). Five newcomers - including four from the high school ranks - add to one of the most diverse rosters in the NCAA. UH boasts players from four different U.S. time zones as well as three foreign countries.
With back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths under their belts, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2019, the Houston Cougars look to continue their recent success during the 2019-20 season. Under the leadership of two-time defending American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Kelvin Sampson, Houston returns six letter men from last season's team. This posted a school-record 33 wins and captured the American Athletic Conference regular-season Championship, the program's first outright league title since 1984. This will be seventh time Houston has competed in the Aloha State during tournament play, but its first appearance at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
Portland head coach, Terry Porter, enters his fourth season at the helm and has an experienced roster highlighted by the return of three starters, all five front-court players, and the addition of two graduate transfers. Porter, returns three players who started at least 17 games last season and six players that averaged double digit minutes. He returns a total of nine letter men from the 2018-19 roster. Junior guard JoJo Walker highlights the returners after averaging 11.5 points per game and a team-best 3.3 assists per game. He scored 20 or more points four times, including a 23-point effort in a road win at CSUN. Key front-court returners are juniors Tahirou Diabate (5.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and Jacob Tryon (5.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg), as well as sophomores Theo Akwuba (3.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Hugh Hogland (4.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg). Akwuba also ranked third in the West Coast Conference in blocks per game (1.5). The pilots also signed a pair of prep standouts in point guard Chase Adams (Chicago, III.) and center Cody Collinsworth (Lindale, Texas).
The 2019-20 UTEP Miners will stir up an exciting brand of hoops in Rodney Terry's second season as head coach. The revamped roster will feature six transfers. Kaden Archie, a 6'6 sophomore forward from TCU, a four-star player coming out of Midlothian High school. Souley boum, a 6'3 sophomore guard, set San Francisco's freshman record by hitting 121 free throws and earning a spot on the West Coast Conference All-Freshman team. Anthony Tarke, a 6'6 junior guard and forward, led NJIT at 15.7 points per game during the 2017-18. Tydus Verhoeven, a 6'9 sophomore forward, set a Duquesne freshman record with 71 blocked shots, and led the Atlantic 10. Eric Vila, 6'11 junior forward, played for no. 1 ranked Northwest Florida State College last season. Bryson Williams, a 6'8 junior forward, played for Terry at Fresno State, while earning All-Mountain West third team honors during the 2017-18 season.
The back-to-back Pac-12 Men's Basketball Coach of the Year, Mike Hopkins, returns to Montlake for a third season full of fresh faces and rejuvenated returners. Washington is coming off of a 27-win season that saw the Huskies reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years and advance to the second round. The Huskies went 15-3 in Pac-12 action, won 15 out of the 16 home games and recorded a home attendance average of 7,846, which was their highest since the 2012-13 season. Hopkins states, "This group coming in is so dynamic and exactly what we were looking for in regards to continuing to build this culture." The Huskies will get off to a quick start in 2019-20 as they open the season in the Armed Forces Classic in Alaska facing Baylor, before heading to Honolulu for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
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