WMU senior Connar Tava is unquestionably one of the top athletes in MAC men's basketball. Unfortunately, we don't know when he'll get a chance to influence the MAC basketball narrative this year. That's because Tava broke his foot in October and is currently out indefinitely.
This is not great news for the Western basketball program. Let's get into why he'll be missed and what we'd expect from a healthy Tava.
The six-foot-six, 245 pound Macomb, Michigan native is the Broncos' highest scoring returning starter from the 2014-2015 campaign, averaging 12.3 points per game over an average of 30.1 minutes per game. That's also the greatest per-game playing time of any returning Bronco this year.
He also led the team last year in rebounds and assists per game. Pretty obvious that Connar was integral piece of the Bronco offense, no? And what made Tava such a great weapon? A combination of size paired with agility and confidence in shooting. The confidence goes beyond shooting really, as Tava knows how to orchestrate an offense, driving and distributing when necessary.
Last year we saw Tava at his best in an overtime win against Toledo in January when he put up 25 points and shot 8-of-12 over 38 minutes. Tava was kept relatively quiet at the end of the year during the MAC Tournament though. In the first round win against Ohio, he was held to just four points, and in the second round loss to Akron, he shot just three-of-eight for only seven points. If we do get to see Tava for some post-season basketball, the Broncos will need more out of him. Keep in mind though, that defenses often keyed on Tava which, while slowing him down, opened up other Broncos on offense.
Tava's defensive abilities are also more that solid. As we mentioned, he's the team's leader in rebounds, and his similarly aforementioned agility makes him more than competent to keep up with the other forwards in the conference.
Tava is really the elder statesman of Bronco basketball. Last year, the team was really led by senior guards David Brown and Austin Richie. With those two gone - and with Tava starting every game for the past two years - Tava is the most experienced player and is in a fantastic position to lead.
We hope for a speedy recovery for Tava and hope to see him suite up in the Brown and Gold as soon as he can.