SAN BRUNO, Calif. - After turning in the best start and the longest winning streak in program history en route to a top-five national ranking, Gonzaga swept all four major West Coast Conference individual awards. Senior point guard Kevin Pangos, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award presented to the top point guard in collegiate basketball, earned WCC Player of the Year honors. Senior backcourt mate Gary Bell Jr. collected Defensive Player of the Year accolades, while junior forward Kyle Wiltjer earned Crons Newcomer of the Year award. Mark Few became the first WCC mentor to surpass 200 league victories and was selected for his 10th Coach of the Year honors as announced Tuesday by the league office.
All four individual awards - along with the All-West Coast Conference Teams and the All-Freshman Team - were voted on by the league's 10 head coaches.
Kevin Pangos is the sixth Bulldog student-athlete selected as WCC Player of the Year in the last 10 seasons and the 14th overall. A midseason selection for the Naismith Trophy, The Oscar Robertson Award and the Wooden Award, Pangos averaged 11.6 points, 5.0 assists and 2.1 3-pointers per game. Gonzaga's all-time leader in 3-pointers (310), Pangos ranks second among NCAA Division I leaders in assist/turnover ratio (3.72) and keys one of the most efficient offenses in the country.
Gary Bell Jr. is the fifth Gonzaga student-athlete to capture Defensive Player of the Year since the award made its debut in the 1998-99 season. Bell keys the top defensive unit in the West Coast Conference, limiting league foes to just 38.3% from the field and 59.9 points per game. A strong defender, typically tasked with guarding the opposition's top offensive perimeter player, Bell adds 8.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
Junior forward Kyle Wiltjer is the seventh Bulldog student-athlete named Crons Newcomer of the year and the first since Pangos collected the hardware in 2011-12. A midseason selection for the Naismith Trophy, The Oscar Robertson Award and the Wooden Award, Wiltjer scored 45 points at Pacific (2/19/15), the most by a Bulldog in more than 50 years. Only 10 WCC players have scored more. In his first season at Gonzaga, Wiltjer averages a team-high 16.5 points on 50.9% shooting, 48.4% from 3-point range to go along with 6.1 rebounds.
Mark Few is the first WCC basketball head coach to reach double digits in Coach of the Year honors. Few guided the Bulldogs to the best start (29-1) and longest winning streak (22 games) in program history.Along the way, Few became the first coach in West Coast Conference history to reach 200 career league victories and enters the WCC Championship with a 211-25 (89.4%) and directed Gonzaga to its 14th WCC Regular Season title in 15 seasons.
Of the 10-member All-WCC First Team, eight appeared on the 2014-15 preseason All-WCC squad. Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos makes more history in his record-setting career and becomes just the fifth player in league history to earn four All-WCC first team honors. Pangos is the second Bulldog to accomplish the feat, joining All-American Blake Stepp (2000-04). BYU's Tyler Haws collects his third straight first team nod, while Pepperdine's Stacy Davis and San Diego's Johnny Dee earn their second straight berths.
This season the WCC honors a five-member second team. The last time the league recognized a second team came in 1979-80 when both the first and second squads were comprised of five student-athletes. The first team expanded to 10 members in 1980-81.
All 10 West Coast Conference teams head to Las Vegas to compete for the 2015 West Coast Conference Basketball Championship and subsequent automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tournament action tips off Friday, March 6 at the Orleans Arena.
Player of the Year: Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga
Coach of the Year: Mark Few, Gonzaga
Defensive Player of the Year: Gary Bell, Jr., Gonzaga
Newcomer of the Year: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga
|2014-15 All-WCC Men's Basketball First Team|
|Jared Brownridge||So.||G||Santa Clara|
|Kerry Carter||Sr.||G||Saint Mary's|
|Johnny Dee||Sr.||G||San Diego|
|Brad Waldow||Sr.||C||Saint Mary's|
|2014-15 All-WCC Men's Basketball Second Team|
|Gary Bell Jr.||Sr.||G||Gonzaga|
|Mark Tollefsen||Jr.||F||San Francisco|
2014-15 WCC Men's Basketball Honorable Mention Selections
Christopher Anderson, San Diego; Kevin Bailey, Portland; Aaron Bright, Saint Mary's; Brandon Clark, Santa Clara; Jett Raines, Pepperdine; Thomas van der Mars, Portland; T.J. Wallace, Pacific; Anson Winder, BYU
|2014-15 WCC Men's Basketball All-Freshman Team|
|Matt Hubbard||F||Santa Clara|
|Emmett Naar||G||Saint Mary's|
|Devin Watson||G||San Francisco|