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UTRGV guard Jordan Jackson skies for the Dunk of the Year against Kansas City in January. Courtesy UTRGV Athletics.

WAC Hoops Digest is Coming Back to Life Amid This 2020 Craziness

As I have been trying to navigate the craziness we know as 2020, I have taken a lot of time away from WAC Hoops Digest. I mean, the last article I wrote was on March 31, 2020. It was at that time Bryce Drew and Billy Gillispie were named the new head coaches at Grand Canyon and Tarleton State, respectively. 

Believe me when I say there have been many times I have wanted to post something. Whether it has been out of pure laziness or simply the fact that I enjoy my time with my son, I just haven’t posted any content over the last three and a half months.

I think a lot of it is worrying about saying the wrong things with regard to what is happening around the world right now. We have Covid-19 which has created a lot of changes in our normal routines. At one point, there was a report of a killer bee/wasp. Then, we all saw what happened to George Floyd and what has happened as a result of that unfortunate event. 

So, forgive me if I have been a little more absent than most during this time. I have chosen to spend more time playing with my son on a daily basis. My wife and I bought a camper so we can get away to the beautiful mountains of Utah from time to time. And, as most homeowners understand, the honey dew list is something that comes into play every Spring/Summer. 

This isn’t to say that I haven’t been paying attention. For those of you that follow on Twitter, I have been somewhat active. I debated who some of the best coaches in the WAC currently are. And who the best coach in the WAC is. That was fun and New Mexico State fans will agree that Chris Jans, at this point in time, is the best coach in the WAC. 

I still have the questions followers asked when I said I was going to do a mailbag podcast episode. I am still planning on that so I ask for your patience. There has been a lot of change in the WAC over the last three and a half months. CSU Bakersfield and Kansas City both left while Dixie State and Tarleton State made the official jump to the Division I ranks. Dan Majerle was fired and replaced by Bryce Drew. Mark Madsen is bringing in 10 new players at Utah Valley. Seattle, Grand Canyon, Tarleton State along with Utah Valley all seem to be in rebuild mode. 

The WAC loses star power from 2019-20. Player of the Year Milan Acquaah won’t return to California Baptist. All-WAC First Team members Terrell Brown, Ivan Aurrecoechea, and Lesley Varner II along with Acquaah are all gone. In fact, of the 10 players selected to the first and second teams, only three will return in 2020-21. And out of those three, Jabari Rice will be the leading candidate for WAC Player of the Year after a stellar sophomore season. 

Perhaps the worst part of this Covid mess is how it may impact non-conference games. For the record, it is still strange how Covid can separate the difference between non-conference and conference games. That is a story for another day.

But seriously, it is kind of depressing. Gonzaga, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Texas, Texas A&M, Maryland, BYU, Utah among others. These are huge games against brand name opponents. These are the kinds of games where if an upset happens, it helps put the WAC on the map a little more. Hopefully, things can be worked out where at least a few non-conference games can be played. It’s not just the prestige of the games. It is also the money tied to these guarantee games. One athletic director in the WAC said basically that it’s a lot of money to lose and to pray that things get better before the basketball season. 

There are a lot of unknowns right now related to the sports world, especially college sports. Some conferences have cancelled fall sports altogether. Other universities have cut some athletic teams due to budget issues. Travel, testing, management and so forth are all certain to cause ops people a lot of sleepless nights over the next year or so. 

I am not going to let that unknown keep me from producing content. Both on this site and with regard to the WAC Hoops Digest Podcast any longer. There are a lot of stories to tell and information to put out there related to our favorite college basketball conference. So, welcome back. If you have any questions you want answered, shoot me an email at kylesportsbias@wachoopsdigest.com. Or send me a direct message on the WAC Hoops Digest Twitter account. 

Stay safe, be happy, give your loved ones a hug and know that there will be a tomorrow. 

About the author

Kyle McDonald

Love everything about WAC Hoops so decided I wanted to write more about it and cover this amazing conference that just keeps getting better. Follow us on Twitter @wachoopsdigest for information, game analysis and much more.

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