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WCC Announces 2008 Men's Basketball All-Conference Teams

Saint Mary's Diamon Simpson becomes the second Gael to earn the league's top defensive honor.
 
Saint Mary's Diamon Simpson becomes the second Gael to earn the league's top defensive honor.
 
 

March 4, 2008

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SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- Gonzaga junior guard Jeremy Pargo was the driving force behind the Bulldogs' eighth consecutive WCC regular season title and was rewarded by the league's head coaches with the WCC Player of the Year award. Saint Mary's, enjoying one of the best seasons in program history, landed the conference's Defensive Player of the Year in junior forward Diamon Simpson, and the WCC's Newcomer of the Year, in freshman guard Patrick Mills. Gonzaga and Saint Mary's battled for the WCC regular season crown down to the final weekend of conference play. For their coaching efforts, Gonzaga's Mark Few and Saint Mary's Randy Bennett were named WCC Co-Coaches of the Year.

Pargo is the eighth consecutive Gonzaga player to earn the conference's top award. He follows former GU standouts Derek Raivio (2007), Adam Morrison (2006), Ronny Turiaf (2005), Blake Stepp (2004, 2003), Dan Dickau (2002) and Casey Calvary (2001). The Chicago, Ill. native paced the WCC in assists with 6.23 assists per game, while ranking 13th in the league in scoring with 11.8 points per game.

The Gaels, paced by Simpson's 51 blocks, tallied a WCC-best 160 blocked shots this season, already tying them for the second most in a single season in WCC history (SMC set the record last season with 172). Simpson is the second Saint Mary's player to earn the league's top defensive honor, following Anthony Woodards, who took home the award in 2003.

Mills has had an immediate impact on the Saint Mary's program, helping the Gaels earn a top 25 ranking for the first time since the 1988-89 season. The Canberra, Australia native ranked second among WCC freshmen in scoring during the regular season, pacing the Gaels with 14.4 points per game. In addition, he led all WCC freshmen in assists (3.47 apg) and steals (1.80 spg).

Few, in his ninth season at the helm of the Gonzaga program, guided the Bulldogs to their eighth consecutive WCC regular season title. The Coach of the Year honor is Few's seventh overall. He took home the award from 2001-06, and is the only coach in WCC history to earn the award more than four times. Bennett has guided the Gaels to one of the best seasons in program history. Entering the WCC Tournament, the Gaels own a 25-5 record and have already tied the school record for most wins in a season, set under Bennett in the 2004-05 season. Bennett became the school's all-time wins leader earlier this season, surpassing James Weaver`s (1955-62) record that stood for 45 years.

2008 WCC AWARDS

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jeremy Pargo, GON

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Diamon Simpson, SMC

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Patrick Mills, SMC

CO-COACH OF THE YEAR
Mark Few, GON & Randy Bennett, SMC

2008 ALL-WCC FIRST TEAM
Brody Angley, SCU
Matt Bouldin, GON
John Bryant, SCU
Brandon Johnson, USD
Dior Lowhorn, USF
Patrick Mills, SMC
Jeremy Pargo, GON
David Pendergraft, GON
Gyno Pomare, USD
Diamon Simpson, SMC

ALL-WCC HONORABLE MENTION
Austin Daye, GON
Manny Quezada, USF
Omar Samhan, SMC
Malcolm Thomas, PEP

ALL-WCC FRESHMAN TEAM
Austin Daye, GON
Steven Gray, GON
Rob Jones, USD
Patrick Mills, SMC
Malcolm Thomas, PEP