For the first time in West Coast Conference history, two #WCChoops teams enter the 2016-17 season ranked in the 2016-17 USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll. Gonzaga checks in at No. 13 and Saint Mary’s is No. 19.
In another conference first, two #WCChoops programs made the AP Preseason poll: Gonzaga (No. 14) and Saint Mary’s (No. 17).
Gonzaga has now cracked the top-15 in the preseason polls the last four consecutive seasons - 2016-17 (13), 2015-16 (11), 2014-15 (13) and 2013-14 (14).
Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss earned a spot on the 2016-17 Naismith Watch List. RELEASE
Four WCC student-athletes have cracked preseason major individual awards watch lists for 2016-17. Gonzaga junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss is on the Bob Cousy Award list (top collegiate point guard), BYU sophomore center Eric Mika is on the Kareem Abdul-Jabaar Award list (top collegiate center) while BYU sophomore guard Nick Emery and Gonzaga’s Jordan Mathews made the Jerry West Award list (top collegiate shooting guard).
Call it a #WCChoops mini-marathon. Three conference teams will participate in the popular ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon Monday, Nov. 14. BYU will square off against Princeton in Provo at 8:00 p.m. (MT), followed by San Diego State at No. 13 Gonzaga at 9:00 p.m. (PT) while Pacific hosts Wisconsin Green Bay at 11:00 p.m. to wrap up a WCC tripleheader on ESPN2.
A minimum of 40 men’s basketball games involving West Coast Conference programs will air nationally on an ESPN network this season, including additional exposure during the 2017 West Coast Conference Basketball Championship in Las Vegas.
For the third straight year, the West Coast Conference will establish yet another record this season by broadcasting every game during league play on a national or regional level, and/or produced for broadcast on the conference’s digital network, TheW.tv.
#WCCHOOPS COACHING WATCH
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.
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose enters the 2016-17 season with a 283-99 ledger and ranks eighth among active coaches in career winning percentage.
Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few enters the 2016-17 season ranked fourth in Division I history with a career wins percentage of 80.76% (466-11 overall record) all at Gonzaga. A 10-time WCC Coach of the Year, Few is the only coach in conference history to surpass 200 league wins and owns a 226-28 slate (89%) in league contests.
Saint Mary’s Head Coach Randy Bennett enters his 16th season in Moraga with a 319-149 (68.2%) overall record and his next league victory will be No. 150 (149-67/69%). The reigning WCC Coach of the Year, Bennett has directed the Gaels to nine straight 20-plus win seasons.
Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis earned Academic All-America honors in 2016, marking the fifth straight season at least one #WCChoops student-athlete cracked the prestigious list. The WCC led all of Division I with three selections in 2013 and 2014.
RECENT #WCCHOOPS PAST
Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis was selected with the 11th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft becoming the first WCC underclassman selected since Gonzaga’s Austin Daye in 2009 (Pistons/15th pick).
BYU’s Collinsworth extended his own NCAA triple-double record with No. 12 vs. UAB (3/16/16). The 2016 WCC Player of the Year owns the NCAA single-season record with six triple doubles in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Saint Mary’s led Division I in both assist/turnover ratio (1.74) and field goal percentage (50.4). This marks the second straight year a WCC program has led Division I in field goal accuracy. Gonzaga shot 52.0 in 2014-15.
Three #WCChoops student-athletes captured 2016 AP All-American Honorable Mention selection: Kyle Collinsworth (BYU), Donamtas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga).
Five #WCChoops alumni competed in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. John Cox (Venezuela/San Francisco), Matthew Dellavedova (Australia/Saint Mary’s), Damian Martin (Australia/Loyola Marymount), Patrick Mills (Australia/Saint Mary’s) and Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania/Gonzaga) all appeared on the international stage. Dellavedova, Mills and Martin powered the Boomers into Olympic Bronze medal match.
RECENT #WCCHOOPS POSTSEASON HISTORY
BYU completed its second march to the NIT semifinals since 2013. The Cougars won the event in 1951 and 1966.
Gonzaga advanced to the Sweet-16 for the second straight year (seventh overall) and owns four trips as a double-digit seed - the most in NCAA history. The Bulldogs reached the Elite Eight in 2014-15, falling to eventual national champion Duke.
Gonzaga earned its 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth (19th overall), the fourth longest streak nationally (Kansas, Duke, Michigan State). The Bulldogs shared the WCC regular season title with Saint Mary’s and won their fourth straight WCC Tournament title.
Gonzaga is 24-19 in the NCAA Tournament in its 19th appearance and 21-17 under head coach Mark Few.
Gonzaga is one of just two programs (Kansas) to win its opening round NCAA Tournament game each of the last eight seasons.
BYU and Saint Mary’s made the NIT Quarterfinals - the first time two WCC programs have reached the quarters in the same season.
BYU has qualified for 11 straight postseasons, the best run in program history.
Saint Mary’s made its third straight NIT appearance and extended its postseason streak to nine - the best in program history.
For the second time in three seasons and just the fourth time overall, the WCC sent two teams into the NIT field in 2016 (1988-89, 2014).
Five West Coast Conference programs advanced to the 2015 postseason while a conference-record six competed in 2014.
The WCC is the only league to boast championships in all four current postseason tournaments - CBI (Santa Clara, 2013), CIT (Santa Clara, 2011), NCAA (San Francisco 1955-56) and NIT (USF, 1949).*