I am counting down the top 20 players that are departing the Big Sky via graduation, transfer, or any other way.
Here is how things can get tricky when it comes to ranking these players: There is no doubt that Jeff Forbes (who I rated at 17) was more important to Eastern Washington last year than Paul Garnica was to Northern Colorado last year. All you have to do to see that is look at their minutes played per game. Does that mean Forbes is better, or that he played in a system that was better for him on a team that needed him more?
Garnica has frustrated UNC coaches over the past couple years, as he has a penchant for taking quick threes, and for trying to make the spectacular play when a routine play will do, whether it's trying for steals or trying to make passes harder than they need to be. However, he is a talented player that does some things really well.
He takes too many quick threes, but he also shoots a good percentage. As a sophomore, he shot a blistering 48.5% from downtown. Last year, he shot a still-solid 42%. There is nothing wrong with that percentage. As a junior, he also upped his percentages on two-pointers (47% up from 39%), and shot 80% from the charity stripe (albeit in just 25 attempts).
Watching him, it sometimes seems like he turns the ball over too much, but he showed improvement there. His TO Rate dropped from 25.5 his sophomore year down to 19.2 his junior year. That is still not great, but it is at least respectable. Conversely, his Assist Rate went up as well, up to 23.5, which was in the top ten in the Big Sky. He took a lot of chances on steals, which sometimes hurt his defensive positioning, but he did at least turn it into the 5th best steal rate in the Big Sky.
Garnica struggled to get consistent minutes all year, but it's hard not to wonder what might have been had he played consistent minutes and had free reign out there. I am not sure if it would have meant good or bad things for UNC, but we will not be finding out as he has transferred.
Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball