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2016-17 WCC Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll, All-WCC Team Unveiled

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – With the 2016-17 basketball campaign less than two weeks away, Gonzaga University is once again the preseason favorite to win the West Coast Conference regular season title in the annual poll of the WCC’s 10 head coaches. The Bulldogs received seven first place votes and 79 points. The poll and the all-conference team were announced Monday at Spectrum SportsNet studios as part of the Sixth Annual West Coast Conference Basketball Tip-Off event streamed live on TheW.tv. 

Gonzaga enters the season ranked No. 13 in the USA Today Coaches Poll preseason poll. The Bulldogs (28-8, 15-3 WCC) won their 15th regular season title in the last 16 years, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 18th straight year and capped their season with a second straight march to the Sweet-16. Senior center Przemek Karnowski (10.9 ppg, 62.6 FG%, 5.9 rpg – 2014-15 stats) is back after suffering a season-ending injury and joins and sophomore guard Josh Perkins (10.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.1 assists) on the preseason All-WCC team. 

Saint Mary’s College shared the 2015-16 regular season title with Gonzaga – its third since 2011 – and were picked second with 75 points and the remaining three first place votes. The Gaels (29-6, 15-3 WCC) earned a No. 19 ranking in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll after advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2016 NIT. This marks the first time the WCC has placed two teams in the preseason Coaches Poll in league history. Saint Mary’s returns 99 percent of its 2015-16 offense and three Gaels earned preseason All-WCC honors: junior guard Emmett Naar (14.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.4 assists) senior forward Dane Pineau (11.3 ppg, 66.7 FG%, 8.1 rpg) and senior guard Joe Rahon (9.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 5.4 assists). 

Brigham Young University was picked third in the WCC preseason poll with 65 points following a 2016 NIT Semifinal run. The Cougars (26-11, 13-5 WCC) led the WCC in scoring for the fifth straight season (83.6 ppg), good for ninth place among NCAA Division I leaders. Two Cougar sophomores made the preseason squad: 2015-16 All-WCC Second Team guard Nick Emery (16.3 ppg, 97 3-pointers, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 assists) and forward Eric Mika (11.6 ppg, 52.7 FG%, 6.4 rpg – 2013-14 stats) returns to the fold after serving a two-year church mission. 

Pepperdine University was picked fourth in the survey with 53 points and qualified for its second straight postseason trip (CBI). The Waves (18-14, 10-8 WCC) return preseason All-WCC Second Team selection senior guard Lamond Murray Jr. (16.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg). 

Santa Clara University rounded out the top-five with 49 points. The Broncos welcome back two-time All-WCC senior guard Jared Brownridge (20.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.3 assists), who connected on 91 3-pointers last season. Loyola Marymount University was tabbed sixth with 34 points. 

University of the Pacific was selected seventh with 29 points, on vote in front of the University of Portland. The Tigers will look to senior guard T.J. Wallace (10.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 assists), who earned preseason honors for the second straight season. A 2015-16 All-WCC First Team choice, senior guard Alec Wintering (18.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.9 assists) earned preseason honors for the second straight season for the Pilots. University of San Francisco (27) and University of San Diego (11 points) round out the preseason poll. 

This season sees an unprecedented four new head coaches taking the reigns on their respective campuses. Two onetime Portland Trail Blazer point guards make their Division I head coaching debuts in 2016-17. Former Arizona All-American and 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year Damon Stoudamire is the new head coach at Pacific while two-time NBA All-Star and former NBA head coach Terry Porter takes over at Portland. Longtime WCC assistant coach Kyle Smith is the new head coach at San Francisco after leading Columbia to the 2016 CIT Championship. Herb Sendek, a coach of the year in three conferences enters his first season at Santa Clara after a successful run at Arizona State.

West Coast Conference play begins on Thursday, December 29. For the most up-to-date schedule with game times and TV listings, visit WCCsports.com and follow @WCChoops and @TheWtv on Twitter. 

The complete preseason poll and all-conference team follows. 

2016-17 WCC Preseason Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll

Team (First Place Vote)

 

Pts.

1. Gonzaga

(7)

79

2. Saint Mary’s

(3)

75

3. BYU

 

65

4. Pepperdine

 

53

5. Santa Clara

 

49

6. Loyola Marymount

 

34

7. Pacific

 

29

8. Portland

 

28

9. San Francisco

 

27

10. San Diego

 

11

 

2016-17 All-WCC Preseason Men’s Basketball Team

Name

Institution

Yr.

Pos.

Jared Brownridge

Santa Clara

Sr.

G

Nick Emery

BYU

So.

G

Przemek Karnowski

Gonzaga

Sr.

C

Eric Mika

BYU

So.

C

Lamond Murray Jr.

Pepperdine

Sr.

G/F

Emmett Naar

Saint Mary’s

Jr.

G

Josh Perkins

Gonzaga

So.

G

Dane Pineau

Saint Mary’s

Sr.

F

Joe Rahon

Saint Mary’s

Sr.

G

Alec Wintering

Portland

Sr.

G