Last season, and it’s 13 wins, wasn’t a pleasant one for WMU coaches, players and fans. It’s a program that has won at least 20 games a season more often than not under Coach Hawkins. One of the bright spots was the play of sophomore point guard Thomas Wilder.
He led MAC scorers in league play wire to wire. It’s not always best for your point guard to score so many points with regards to wins and losses. Last season was no exception. However, it is a good indicator of the level of play Wilder is capable of.
Everything on his stat line was impressive. He averaged 18 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.6 steals, while only committing 2.1 turnovers a game. This was a big improvement over his freshman year, where he averaged a respectable 7.2 points per game. That off-season he was slowed by injury.
Coach Hawkins expects a big improvement again this season, as Wilder is one of the hardest working kids he ever had. He did say that it might not show up in his points per game, as his job as a point guard is to run the offense, not score all the points.
In my team preview, I predicted that Wilder would win MAC player of The Year. I have an affinity for true point guards, and Wilder fits that mold. It will be his job to make the offense go, putting players in a position to score. With a good core of returning players, and some promising newcomers, I believe he will do exactly that.
Will it be enough to win Player of The Year, and get the team over 20 wins? I don’t know if you can use the 51 point win over Kalamazoo College in the teams exhibition game as any indication.
November 17th, the Broncos play defending national champions Villanova in the ESPN Gildan Charleston Classic. That probably wont tell us much, either.
Their schedule prior to MAC play has some heavy hitters, including UCLA, a program Coach Hawkins and Coach Farmer have ties to. I do think we will have a good indication going into MAC play. If they are sitting at 6-6, or 5-7, look out.