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WCC Men's Hoops Season Tips Off Friday

Nov. 11, 2010

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2010-11 WCC Men's Basketball Season Tips Off Friday

The 2010-11 West Coast Conference men's basketball season tips-off on Friday with all eight WCC schools taking to the hardwood. Only Pepperdine will sport its road jerseys on opening day, with the other seven WCC teams starting their seasons at home. Portland will be the first West Coast Conference team to compete, when the Pilots entertain Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the first round of the Athletes in Action Classic at 1:30 p.m.


AROUND THE WCC

Coaches Tab Gonzaga For Top Spot in Preseason Poll
Gonzaga was selected as the favorite to win the 2010-11 West Coast Conference Championship after receiving six first place votes and 48 of a possible 49 points from conference head coaches in the annual WCC preseason poll. Loyola Marymount, which reached the College Insider.com Tournament last year for its first postseason appearance in 20 years, was picked to finish second. The Lions return 13 players from last year's 18-win team. Saint Mary's, which was picked third, is coming off the first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in school history and the 2010 Zappos.com WCC Men's Basketball Tournament Championship. Santa Clara was picked to finish fourth by the coaches, followed by Portland, San Francisco, Pepperdine and San Diego.

2010-11 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
Team - points (first place votes)
1. Gonzaga - 48 (6)
2. Loyola Marymount - 42 (1)
3. Saint Mary's - 39 (1)
4. Santa Clara - 28
5. Portland - 25
6. San Francisco - 18
7. Pepperdine - 14
8. San Diego - 10

2010-11 WCC Preseason All-Conference Team
The preseason All-WCC team, as selected by the conference's head coaches, features representatives from six of the eight schools. In addition, Gonzaga, Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary's, and Santa Clara each had two preseason all-conference selections apiece.

2010-11 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Keion Bell, PEP
Matthew Dellavedova, SMC
Kevin Foster, SCU
Steven Gray, GON
Elias Harris, GON
Mickey McConnell, SMC
Jared Stohl, POR
Vernon Teel, LMU
Marc Trasolini, SCU
Drew Viney, LMU

Four WCC Teams See Postseason Action
For just the second time in conference history, four West Coast Conference men's basketball teams advanced to the postseason following the 2010 WCC campaign. Saint Mary's, the 2010 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Tournament champion, made an appearance in the Sweet 16 after knocking off Richmond and Villanova in the NCAA Tournament.

Two Named To Wooden Preseason List
Gonzaga's Steven Gray and Elias Harris are on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list announced by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor. Gray, a senior from Irondale, Wash., and Harris, a sophomore from Speyer, Germany, give the Bulldogs 10 nominees in the history of the award. Gray and Harris each started all 34 games for the Bulldogs last season. They are the top two returning scorers for the Bulldogs, Harris averaging 14.9 ppg and Gray 13.6 ppg last season. Harris was the top field goal shooter last year, shooting 54.7 percent from the field (180-for-329), and also paced the Bulldogs in rebounds at 7.1 rpg. Both Bulldogs were named to the All-West Coast Conference first team, and Harris was tabbed the WCC Newcomer of the Year by the conference coaches.

Zappos.com Named Title Sponsor of the WCC Championships
The West Coast Conference (WCC) and its multi-media rights partner, IMG College, announced Zappos.com as the official title sponsor of the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. The deal represents the WCC's first-ever title sponsorship. In addition, the WCC and Zappos.com have partnered with Soles4Souls to challenge each West Coast Conference campus to collect the most shoes from December to the end of the conference basketball season. The gently used shoes will be distributed internationally through Soles4Souls to individuals in need. Last year's shoe drive resulted in over 5,200 shoes being donated to Soles4Souls by West Coast Conference institutions.

WCC Tournament to Remain at the Orleans Arena Through 2012
On July 22, 2009, the WCC and the Orleans Arena announced a three-year contract extension that will keep the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in Las Vegas through 2012. The extension comes after the WCC sold out the Orleans Arena for the 2009 WCC Basketball Championships. The 2009 championship, which was the WCC's first-ever at a neutral site, set conference records for both total championship attendance (33,320) and single session championship attendance (7,845). Tickets for the 2010-11 event are available by visiting www.orleansarena.com or calling 1-888-234-2334.

West Coast Conference to Welcome BYU in 2011-12
The West Coast Conference announced that Brigham Young University has formally accepted an invitation to join the WCC with competition to begin in the 2011-12 academic year. BYU has been consistently recognized as one of the top-rated academic institutions in the nation and is home to an athletic program that has enjoyed success at both the conference and national levels. BYU, which will become an independent in FBS football, will compete in the West Coast Conference in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. This is the first time the West Coast Conference has formally invited an institution as a full member since Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego began competing in the WCC in 1979.

Zappos.com WCC Championships Tickets On-Sale
Tickets for the 2011 Zappos.com WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships will go on sale to the public on Friday, November 12 at Noon (Pacific Time). The 2011 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will once again be held March 4-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The 2011 Zappos.com WCC Championships will be held at the Orleans Arena for the third consecutive season, and the previous two tournaments were sellouts. Tickets can be purchased by logging on to www.orleansarena.com or by calling 1-888-234-2334. The 2,000 all-session tickets that will go on sale to the public are $135 - less than $10 per game for the 14-game tournament.

Shining on the National Stage
The West Coast Conference will once again be a major player on the national television scene with a 24-game package on the ESPN family of networks. A total of seven non-conference games involving WCC teams will air on an ESPN property beginning with the Saint Mary's-St. John's game on November 15. There will be a total of 17 conference games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU in 2010-11, including the Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championship semifinals on ESPN2 on Sunday, March 6 and the championship game on ESPN on Monday, March 7. The West Coast Conference will once again be a centerpiece to ESPN's Thursday night coverage with weekly time slots on both ESPN2 and ESPNU in January and February.

Make sure to download the full release to view the full TV schedule.


WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 0-0
WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Zags return four starters from last year's 27-win squad.

  • Gonzaga has won 10 consecutive WCC regular season titles, extending the nation's longest conference regular season title streak and tying Connecticut (Yankee Conference - 1951-60) and UNLV (Big West - 1983-92) for the second longest streak in NCAA history.

  • Senior Steven Gray and sophomore Elias Harris were both placed on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list. The Wooden Award is given annually to college basketball's most outstanding player, as voted on by sportswriters and sportscasters from all 50 states.

  • Gonzaga opens its 2010-11 season at home vs. Southern (Friday night), before welcoming IUPUI Sunday afternoon as part of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. Both games will air on FSN Northwest and KHQ-TV.

  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • In 2010, Loyola Marymount played its first postseason game since an historic run through the NCAA Tournament in 1990 by hosting a CollegeInsider.com tilt against Pacific.

  • With a roster that featured no seniors, LMU's 15-game improvement from 2008-09 to last season was the second best turn-around in the nation.

  • The Lions return four starters from last season's squad, including All-WCC First Team selections Vernon Teel and Drew Viney. Viney and Teel became just the 11th LMU duo to take home first-team All-WCC honors, and both were named to the Preseason All-WCC team.

  • Loyola Marymount opens the season at home on Friday night against Morgan State. The Lions will host La Sierra on Sunday afternoon.

  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The 2010-11 edition of the Waves features 13 returning lettermen and 14 returning players. the most in school history.

  • Junior guard Keion Bell and senior forward Mychel Thompson earned All-West Coast Conference honorable mention in 2009-10. Bell, a Preseason All-WCC selection, needs just 13 more points to become the 35th player in Pepperdine history to surpass 1,000 career points.

  • Junior Taylor Darby has averaged 6.0 rebounds per game in each of his first two seasons, good for ninth in the WCC in each of those two campaigns.

  • The Waves open their season at Portland State on Friday night. Pepperdine will be the only WCC team to open its season away from home.

  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Pilots' 21 victories in 2009-10 matched a Division I school record. The Pilots also matched their best WCC record in school history with a 10-4 mark in 2010.

  • Portland reached the postseason for the second straight season in 2010, marking the first back-to-back postseasons in school history.

  • Senior guard Jared Stohl was named to the WCC preseason all-conference team after leading the nation in three-point field goal percentage last season (.478).

  • Portland will be the first WCC team to hit the hardwood on Friday, when the Pilots open up their slate at home against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Saint Mary's won the 2010 Zappos.com WCC Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 while notching 28 victories for the second straight season.

  • Senior guard Mickey McConnell and sophomore guard Matt Dellavedova were both named to the Preseason All-WCC Team. McConnell was the 2010 Zappos.com WCC Tournament MVP, and Dellavedova dished out 4.5 assists per game.

  • Saint Mary's will host a game in the ESPN BracketBusters event the weekend of Feb. 18-20. The appearance marks the fourth time the Gaels have participated in the event since 2005-06.

  • Saint Mary's hosts the College of Idaho on Friday night before welcoming St. John's to Moraga for a nationally-televised tilt on Monday night.

  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Toreros will boast a young look this season, with five freshmen and ten total underclassmen on the roster.

  • Guard Brandon Johnson closed out his brilliant career as USD's all-time leader in points (1,790) and assists (525). He is the only player in WCC history to lead his team in both career statistical categories. Johnson's 1,790 career points rank 17th on the WCC's all-time list, while his 525 career assists rank just outside the WCC's top 10.

  • Sophomore forward Chris Manresa was selected to the WCC All-Freshman team last season. In WCC play, he scored in double-digits four times and notched a pair of double-doubles.

  • San Diego opens its season by hosting Occidental on Friday before traveling to Stanford on Monday night.

  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Francisco's seven WCC triumphs in 2010 were the most since winning eight in 2007.

  • Junior forward Angelo Caloairo provided the Dons with a big lift last season, ranking third on the team in scoring with 8.9 ppg. Caloairo developed into one of the top three-point shooters in the conference, knocking down .491 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

  • The Dons preseason roster features ten freshmen, a pair of sophomores, and four juniors. Center Moustapha Diarra is the lone senior on the Dons' roster.

  • USF will tip off the 2010-11 season on Friday night when the Dons host Seattle.

  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • The Broncos, who were picked to finish fourth in the WCC preseason poll, return all five starters from last season's 11-win team.

  • Junior forward Marc Trasolini and sophomore point guard Robert Smith earned league honors a season ago. Trasolini was named to the All-WCC honorable mention team and Smith was named to the five-man WCC All-Freshman team. Trasolini led the team with 13.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 1.6 bpg, while Smith was second on the team with 12.1 ppg.

  • Redshirt sophomore guard Kevin Foster, the 2008-09 WCC Co-Newcomer of the Year, missed a majority of last season with a right foot injury. Foster was averaging 19.8 points per game to lead the Broncos before the injury.

  • Santa Clara opens the season at home against Cal State Bakersfield on Friday night. The Broncos will visit USC on Monday evening.