St. Mary's, WCC beefing up

St. Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett has a bad back. This spring, he had to hit the deck and watch from the floor -- ala Larry Bird style -- when he went recruiting. One of those recruits who found honor in Bennett’s determination was Calvin Hermanson (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lake Oswego). On Wednesday, the rising small forward turned Bennett’s pain into a gain and committed to the Gaels.

Hermanson, one of the standouts who emerged from last week’s adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas, was on the verge of raising his stock. Bennett and St. Mary’s would have none of it, and their July lead turned into an August commitment.

Who is this Hermanson kid from the Clutch Players? For starters, he’s the best player Lake Oswego’s had since Olympian Kevin Love was at the school. The 6-foot-6 lefty is a shot-making small forward, a sneaky athlete and a guy who snakes around the court looking for areas he can exploit.

The owner of a 3.47 GPA and a 40 percent stroke from behind the arc, Hermanson could have played in the Pac-12; the offers were coming. Utah, Oregon State, Drake and Santa Barbara were in the chase and the heat was going to keep coming. Hermanson shut it down because St. Mary’s was there from the jump, worked him and he knew he had a good thing in the Gaels.

St. Mary’s is one of many programs with multiple commitments. No matter whom the Gaels bring in next (think Aussie) the core of the class is strong. Hermanson and Cullen Neal (Albuquerque, N.M./El Dorado) are quite the 1-2 combo. Neal will play both guard spots and has a 3-point shot to be reckoned with.

The Gaels aren’t in the Pac-12 but they’ve added two players who would have been in the league. It’s shots fired in the WCC, and that means Gonzaga, you’re on the clock. But wait, Gonzaga’s got a pair of commitments and Brigham Young, well, that program’s getting flush with talent courtesy the Class of 2013.

Another WCC program, Pepperdine, accepted a solid commitment from guard Brandon Randolph (Playa Del Ray, Calif./St. Bernard) this week.

The league, in particular Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, has had good players the better part of the decade. Now, it seems like they’re finally receiving advance credit for the work they’re doing and it’s trickling down into the rest of the West Coast Conference making the league an extremely healthy venture from the talent side of the ledger.