{{ article.title }}

WCC Announces Men's Basketball Preseason Polls and All-Conference

Oct. 15, 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Gonzaga University edged Saint Mary's College and the University of San Diego in the 2008-09 WCC men's basketball preseason poll, as selected by the league coaches. The announcement was made at the 2008 WCC Basketball Media Day at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Zags tallied 46 points and received five first place votes to earn the top spot. Just two points behind Gonzaga is Saint Mary's, which earned an at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, with 44 overall points and two first place votes. The Gaels are followed in the poll by 2008 WCC Tournament champion, the University of San Diego, which collected 39 overall points and received the final first place vote. Rounding out this year's poll is Santa Clara University (30) in fourth, the University of San Francisco (23) picked fifth, followed by the University of Portland (22) in sixth, Loyola Marymount University (12) in seventh, and Pepperdine University (11) in eighth.

The WCC Preseason All-Conference team was also unveiled at the media day, highlighted by eight returning 2008 All-WCC first team members, the most returning all league players in conference history. Headlining the preseason all-conference list was Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo, the reigning WCC Player of the Year, as well as Saint Mary's Patrick Mills and Diamon Simpson, last season's WCC Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

The Zags return 10 letterwinners, including three starters, from last season's squad that posted a 25-8 overall record, captured its eighth consecutive WCC regular season title, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive season. Headlining the list of returners for the Bulldogs is Pargo, the 2008 WCC Player of the Year. Pargo leads a talented backcourt that includes, junior guard Matt Bouldin, a 2008 All-WCC first team member, and sophomore Steven Gray, a 2008 All-WCC freshman team selection.

Saint Mary's, looking for a return trip to the NCAA Tournament, returns four starters and eight letterwinners overall from last season's squad that tied the school record for most wins in a season with a 25-7 overall mark. Mills, a sophomore guard, returns to the Gaels after starring for the Australian National Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mills will team with Simpson, a senior forward, to give the Gaels one of the top inside-outside tandems in the league.

Head Coach Bill Grier had a successful debut season at San Diego, leading the Toreros to the 2008 WCC Tournament title and their fourth NCAA Tournament bid in program history. Once there, the Toreros pulled off one of the most memorable upsets of the tournament, knocking off No. 4 seeded Connecticut, 70-69, in overtime in the first round. The Toreros return all five starters and 10 letterwinners overall from last season's squad. Leading the way for the Toreros is the senior duo of guard Brandon Johnson and forward Gyno Pomare, both of whom earned 2008 All-WCC first team honors.

This season, the WCC welcomes three new head coaches to the fold. Bill Bayno takes over the reins of the Loyola Marymount program, while Pepperdine welcomes back Tom Asbury, who guided the Waves for six successful seasons (1988-94). Rounding out the list of new head coaches is Rex Walters, who is guiding the San Francisco program.

2008-09 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 46 (5)
2. Saint Mary's - 44 (2)
3. San Diego - 39 (1)
4. Santa Clara - 30
5. San Francisco - 23
6. Portland - 19
7. Loyola Marymount - 12
8. Pepperdine - 11
(First place votes)

2008-09 WCC Men's Preseason All-Conference Team
Matt Bouldin, GON
John Bryant, SCU
Austin Daye, GON
Brandon Johnson, USD
Dior Lowhorn, USF
Patrick Mills, SMC
Jeremy Pargo, GON
Gyno Pomare, USD
Omar Samhan, SMC
Diamon Simpson, SMC