EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - With the 2014-15 basketball campaign just over 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 all nine possible first place votes and a unanimous 81 points. The poll and the all-conference team were announced Monday at Time Warner Cable Sports studios as part of the Fourth Annual West Coast Conference Basketball Tip-Off event streamed live on TheW.tv.
No. 13 Gonzaga enters the season with its highest USA Today Coaches Poll preseason ranking since 2011-12 (12) and received nine first place votes. The Bulldogs won their 13th regular season title in the last 14 years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 16th straight year after posting a 29-7 overall record and a 15-3 league slate. Three-time All-WCC selection senior guard Kevin Pangos (14.4 ppg, 3.6 apg) and junior center Przemek Karnowski (10.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 blocks) earned preseason All-WCC honors for Gonzaga.
Brigham Young University received one first place vote and was picked second in the WCC preseason poll with 69 points. The Cougars earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament last season after turning in a 23-12 record, 13-5 during conference play. BYU led the WCC in scoring for the third straight season (83.7 ppg), good for third place among NCAA Division I leaders. Two Cougar guards made the preseason squad. Senior Tyler Haws (23.2 ppg), the 2013-14 WCC Player of the Year, led the league in scoring for the second straight season and was sixth among NCAA leaders. Junior Kyle Collinsworth (14.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.6 apg) ranked second among league-leaders in rebounds and was third in assists.
Saint Mary's College was picked third with 62 points after going 23-12, 11-7 in the WCC last year. The Gaels qualified for their seventh straight postseason berth and marched to the second round of the 2014 NIT Tournament. 2013-14 All-WCC senior forward Brad Waldow (15.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg) earned a spot on the preseason team. WCC coaches tabbed the University of San Francisco fourth with 59 points after capturing a berth in the 2014 NIT field. The Dons went 21-12, 13-5 during league play a year ago and senior forward Kruize Pinkins (12.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) earned a spot on the preseason team.
The University of San Diego rounded out the top-five with 47 points, just two in front of the University of Portland's 45 points. The Toreros advanced to the 2014 CIT Tournament, finishing the year at 18-17. San Diego welcomes back All-WCC senior guard Johnny Dee (16.6 ppg), who led the NCAA in free throw accuracy last season, connecting on 94.5% from the stripe. Portland was 15-16 in 2013-14 and senior center Thomas van der Mars (13.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is a preseason team pick for the Pilots.
Pepperdine University and Santa Clara University each collected 29 points for a share of seventh place in the preseason poll and each placed one student-athlete on the preseason team. Pepperdine junior forward Stacy Davis (15.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg), a 2013-14 All-WCC performer, appears on his second preseason squad. Santa Clara sophomore guard Jared Brownridge (17.2 ppg), the 2013-14 WCC Newcomer of the Year connected on 95 3-pointers in his first collegiate season. Loyola Marymount University (19 points) and University of the Pacific (10 points) round out the preseason poll.
West Coast Conference play begins on Saturday, December 27th. 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.
2014-15 WCC Preseason Men's Basketball Coaches Poll
|Team (First Place Vote)||Pts.|
|1. Gonzaga (9)||81|
|2. BYU (1)||69|
|3. Saint Mary's||62|
|4. San Francisco||59|
|5. San Diego||47|
|7. Santa Clara||29|
|9. Loyola Marymount||19|
2014-15 All-WCC Preseason Men's Basketball Team
|Jared Brownridge||Santa Clara||So.||G|
|Johnny Dee||San Diego||Sr.||G|
|Kruize Pinkins||San Francisco||Sr.||F|
|Thomas van der Mars||Portland||Sr.||C|
|Brad Waldow||Saint Mary's||Sr.||C|
About the West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference was formed in 1952 and has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized and competitive force in Division I intercollegiate athletics, with 14 conference-sponsored sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. The WCC is characterized by the stability of its membership and its unique emphasis on combining excellence in athletics with excellence in academics. For more information, visit WCCsports.com or follow the West Coast Conference on Twitter @WCCsports.