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2014 Preseason MAC Top 25: #10 F Connar Tava, Western Michigan Broncos

Every day from now until the beginning of the season we’ll be counting down the top 25 players in the MAC for the upcoming season. Today we take a look at #10, Connar Tava from Western Michigan.

Connar Tava warms up before Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. March 19, 2014. Buffalo, NY.
Connar Tava warms up before Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. March 19, 2014. Buffalo, NY.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The second Bronco on this list also kicks off our top ten players. The 6-foot-6, 235 pound junior Tava is WMU's returning starter at the power forward position and is a native Michigander, hailing from Macomb. This season he'll join three other returning starters: senior point guard Austin Richie, senior shooting guard David Brown, and sophomore guard/forward Tucker Haymond.

Tava was a solid contributor from the outset of his tenure at Western, seeing playing time early in his freshman year (2012-2013) and getting his first start late in that same season. Tava ended his freshman campaign averaging four and a half points, three rebounds, and seventeen minutes per game while shooting 48% from the field.

Last year during his sophomore season, Tava proved invaluable in the Broncos' conference successes. Over the 2013-2014 season, Tava averaged twelve points, six rebounds, and three assists while playing thirty minutes per game and also shot 59%. While David Brown and Shayne Whittington were the proverbial stars of the WMU men's basketball show last year, it's pretty clear that Tava was the "best supporting" player.

Tava's best game last year was against Toledo on January 8, when he made nine field goals (a career high) out of nine, and scored 25 points (also a career high). Tava also had a stand-out game against Ball State in the midst of the Broncos 12-2 run that finished out their season, scoring 23 and gathering six rebounds during an overtime affair in Muncie.

As discussed with #21 on the MAC preseason list, Tucker Haymond, the Broncos' challenge this year is going to be adjusting to life without Shayne Whittington. There's nothing to lead me to believe that Tava won't become a more prolific scorer this year, building off the successes from last season, especially with the help of Haymond and the other returning starters.

But offense isn't the only place Tava will be needed -  he'll be expected to lead the team as the big-man defensively and mentor freshman centers Khadim Dieng and Drake LaMont. Tava also made some critical rebounds over the course of last season, particularly in the eighteen point comeback against Akron. Another well-rounded season from Tava will mean another successful year for the Broncos.