For a while now, Saint Mary’s has been a reliable West Coast Conference understudy to almighty Gonzaga. Periodically they’ve knocked off the Zags, as they did memorably last spring. Gonzaga always has the better players though and a lot of the better players at Saint Mary’s have been due to the Boomer pipeline that coach Randy Bennett has to Australia.
Bennett has been a superb coach for Saint Mary’s. You could even make a rational argument that he’s the best Bennett in college basketball because he does so much more with less than does Virginia’s Tony Bennett.
His latest star though grew up within walking distance of campus and if you haven’t heard of Aidan Mahaney yet, don’t worry.
The kid is pretty impressive. Just a freshman, he has an amazing feel for the game. He can shoot, he can drive, he can pass and he can do something that he makes look easy but can’t be: he can drive past a bigger player and use the high part of the backboard like you wouldn't believe. It’s an amazing knack.
The tournament is coming soon and Saint Mary’s will be there. And there’s a reasonable chance that Mahaney could put on a spectacular show. No one is going to want to be in that bracket.
By the way, also on the roster for Saint Mary’s: Augustas Marciulionis, son of the great Sarunas.