Team preview: Santa Clara

Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2006-07 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 18, 2006, 10:38 AM ET
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

COACH AND PROGRAM

Which is better, quantity or quality?

For this season, at least, Santa Clara coach Dick Davey hopes it's the former.

The Broncos have tons of experience back from an up-and-down 13-16 season in 2005-06, but that team's most potent weapon, forward Travis Niesen, has departed, taking his 18.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game with him.

Both of those totals led the team -- his scoring average ranked third in the West Coast Conference -- which is why the hole left by his absence is gaping.

As for the quantity, there are four starters and nine lettermen returning, plus a couple of veterans coming back from a red-shirt season and some intriguing recruits.

So it's not as if there are no options. And it's not to suggest there's no quality at all on hand, either. Point guard Brody Angley (10.1 ppg, 4.9 apg), for example, was second in the league in assists.

But instead of having one go-to guy, the Broncos' scoring now figures to come through a collective approach.

"We don't think we have a 20-points-a-game guy, but we think we have a lot of capable people," Davey said. "Depth-wise, this will probably be the best team we've had in a long time. & We're kind of a by-committee thing."

Angley is the undisputed chairman of the committee, not just as Santa Clara's leading returning scorer, but as a set-up man. The 5-11 junior is a true point guard who is focused as much or more on getting his teammates involved in the offense as in scoring himself.

In fact, shooting the ball is Angley's one glaring weakness. Last season, he shot an anemic .376 from the field and hit only 30 percent of his three-pointers.

"The key ingredient is to improve his shooting," Davey said. "But he's a tough, hard-nosed kid who's very smart. We're counting on him to be our leader. We counting on a lot of things from him -- defensively, athletically, leadership wise, all that."

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