Nov. 8, 2007
Gonzaga Edges Saint Mary's For Top Spot In WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Poll
Gonzaga edged Saint Mary's as the favorite to capture its eighth consecutive regular season crown in the 2007-08 WCC men's basketball preseason poll, as selected by the league coaches. The Zags tallied 61 points and received five first place votes. Just two points behind Gonzaga is Saint Mary's, which earned an at-large bid to the 2005 NCAA Tournament, with 59 overall points and the other three first place votes. The Gaels are followed by San Diego (43) and Santa Clara (38). Rounding out this year's poll is San Francisco (34), followed by Pepperdine (22) in sixth, Portland (16) in seventh, and Loyola Marymount (15) in eighth.
Men's Basketball 2007-08 Preseason Poll
1. Gonzaga - 61 (5)
2. Saint Mary's - 59 (3)
3. San Diego - 43
4. Santa Clara - 38
5. San Francisco - 34
6. Pepperdine - 22
7. Portland - 16
8. Loyola Marymount - 15
(First place votes)
1San Francisco at Oklahoma - 5:00 PM
Cal State Monterey Bay at Santa Clara - 7:00 PM
Loyola Marymount at UC Irvine - 7:35 PM
2Portland at Fresno State - 8:00 PM
3Sonoma State at Saint Mary's - 8:00 PM
San Diego at Hawai'i - 9:05 PM
1San Francisco vs. TBD - TBA
4Pepperdine at Oregon - 4:00 PM
3Drake at Saint Mary's - 7:30 PM
2Portland vs. San Diego State - 8:00 PM
Montana at Gonzaga - 1:00 PM
2Portland vs. Liberty - 1:00 PM
4Pepperdine vs. Western Michigan - 3:30 PM
1 2K Sports College Hoops Classic; 2 World Vision Classic; 3 Saint Mary's Tip-Off Classic; 4 Oregon World Vision Invitational
WCC Tournament Heads To San Diego In 2008
The WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships move back to Southern California as the University of San Diego will host the conference tournament at the Jenny Craig Pavilion in 2008. The dates for the 2008 tournament will be March 6-10, 2008. The WCC Tournament, which returns to Southern California after a four-year hiatus, has been held in San Diego on three other occasions. The Jenny Craig Pavilion served as the host site from 2001-2003.
WCC Team Notes
Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Zags return three starters and nine letterwinners from last season's squad. Gonzaga returns starters Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, and Matt Bouldin.
- The Bulldogs are ranked No. 14 in both the USA Today/ESPN and the Associated Press preseason polls.
- Pargo and Heytvelt were selected among the top six returning players by the league's head coaches.
- Senior David Pendergraft, who earned WCC All-Tournament team honors last season, and Pargo are the Zags' co-captains.
- The Zags open the season by hosting Montana (11/11) this weekend.
Loyola Marymount Lions (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Lions return one starter and seven letterwinners from last season's team.
- Loyola Marymount will be one of the youngest teams in the conference, as the Lions' roster features nine underclassmen.
- Guard Jon Ziri is the lone senior on the squad. Ziri is the Lions' top returning scorer (5.3 ppg) and rebounder (4.0 rpg).
- Freshman guard Orlando Johnson was impressive in his LMU debut, tossing in a game-high 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the Lions' exhibition game versus Cal State Dominguez Hills. Johnson connected on 6-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-8 from the three-point line.
- The Lions open the season at UC Irvine (11/9) this weekend.
Pepperdine Waves (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Waves will have a significantly different look this season as they bring back just three players who saw action last season in seniors Jarrad Henry, Tyler Carr, and Jason Walberg.
- The Waves welcome in nine newcomers, including several talented freshmen.
- Led by Daniel Johnson and Tyrone Shelley, Pepperdine freshmen accounted for 71 of the Waves' 97 points in their exhibition win over Westmont. Johnson, from Australia, scored a team-high 20 points, while Shelley, a highly touted recruit out of San Diego, tossed in 19 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Other freshmen scoring in double figures for the Waves were Mychel Thompson (16) and Malcolm Thomas (14).
- The Waves open the season at the Oregon World Vision Invitational where they will take on the host Ducks (11/10), Western Michigan (11/11), and Pacific (11/12).
Portland Pilots (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Pilots return starters Sherrard Watson and Taishi Ito and five letterwinners overall from last season's squad. Watson is the lone senior on the roster and is the team's leading returning scorer at 9.0 ppg.
- Ito returns after a solid freshman campaign that saw him pace all WCC freshmen in assists (3.3 apg), three-point field goal percentage (.375), three-pointers made (33), and minutes per game (30.6) en route to All-WCC freshman team honors.
- Freshman forward Luke Sikma, son of former NBA standout Jack Sikma, was impressive in the Pilots' exhibition win over Concordia, tossing in 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, while grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds and handing out five assists.
- The Pilots open the season at the World Vision Classic in Fresno, CA where they will take on host Fresno State (11/9), San Diego State (11/10), and Liberty (11/11).
Saint Mary's Gaels (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Gaels, picked second in the WCC preseason poll, return four starters and eight letterwinners from last season's squad.
- Headlining the list of returners is junior forward Diamon Simpson, a 2007 All-WCC first team member and one of the top six returning players in the WCC as selected by the league's coaches. Simpson led the WCC with 79 blocks last season, the sixth highest single-season total in conference history.
- The Gaels have four players from Australia on their roster, including highly touted freshman Patrick Mills. Mills, one of Australia's top basketball prospects, became the youngest player to ever be invited to Australia's National Team "The Boomers" training camp.
- The Gaels open the season by hosting the Saint Mary's Tip-off Classic where they will take on Sonoma State (11/9) and Drake (11/10).
San Diego Toreros (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Diego, under the direction of first year Head Coach Bill Grier, welcomes back four starters and eight players from last year's 18-14 team.
- San Diego juniors Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomare were selected among the top six returning players by the WCC head coaches. Last season, Johnson led the WCC in assists (4.75 apg), while Pomare paced the conference in rebounds (8.3 rpg)
- Pomare, a 2007 All-WCC first team member, enters the season with 788 career points and needs just 212 points to become the 11th Torero to reach the 1,000-point plateau since the school switched to Division I.
- The Toreros return five players who started 10 or more games from last season.
- San Diego opens the season at Hawai'i (11/9) this weekend.
San Francisco Dons (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Dons return three starters from last season's squad, including junior guard Manny Quezada, the Dons' top returning scorer at 13.2 ppg. The transfer from Rutgers, selected as one of the top six returning players in the WCC by the league's coaches, also added 3.5 rpg and 3.0 apg.
- After sitting out the entire 2006-07 season under NCAA transfer rules, sophomore forward Dior Lowhorn is ready to begin his USF career. The Texas Tech transfer and Bay Area native was one of the top freshmen in the Big XII, averaging 7.2 ppg and 3.9 rpg, while leading the Red Raiders in field goal percentage (.514) and blocks (27).
- Lowhorn scored 28 points and grabbed 12 boards in USF's exhibition win over Sonoma State.
- USF opens the season versus Oklahoma (11/8) at the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic.
Santa Clara Broncos (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- First-year Head Coach Kerry Keating inherits a team that boasts six upperclassmen from last year's 21-10 team.
- The Broncos veteran leadership begins at the point guard position where senior Brody Angley (8.3 ppg, 3.8 apg) enters the season with 80 career starts. With four more starts, Angley will tie Steve Nash for 10th place on SCU's career games started list.
- Santa Clara junior center John Bryant poured in 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Broncos' exhibition game versus Cal State Stanislaus. Bryant, who averaged 10.4 ppg, and 6.7 rpg last season, is Santa Clara's top returning scorer and rebounder.
- Freshman forward Ben Dowdell scored 10 points and grabbed six boards against CSUS.
- Santa Clara opens the season against Cal State Monterey Bay (11/9) this weekend.