Home » Conference Notes » Currently Reading:

West Coast Preview

November 7, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

West Coast Conference Preview

by James Burns

Life as a Mid-Major has been nice for some schools during the last few years, especially those from the West Coast Conference. Last season the WCC sent two teams dancing – Gonzaga and Pepperdine. This season postseason hopes are very high for several WCC teams, including San Francisco and San Diego.

Gonzaga and Pepperdine are everybody’s choice to finish atop the conference, but both programs can expect some heat from San Francisco and San Diego. Both programs have a legitimate chance for a run for the crown, because both programs boast legitimate talent.

2002-03 West Coast Conference Projections

Gonzaga Bulldogs
There is life after Dan Dickau.

And Gonzaga won’t skip a beat. Only this time there won’t be any confusion, as Gonzaga and its low-post offense will repeat as West Coast Conference champs.

Dickau, selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 28th overall pick and then later traded to the Atlanta Hawks, led the WCC in scoring (20.8 points per game) last season and finished second in assists with 4.7.

Instead, the ‘Zags will boast one of the beefiest frontlines on the west coast, with two All-WCC players teaming with a promising transfer. Cory Violette and Zach Gourde, both 6-foot-8, posted similar numbers last season. Both post players netted 13 points per game, while Violette edged Gourde in rebounding, 8.1 to 6.4.

Richard Fox, a 6-foot-11, 270-pound transfer, may have a quick and considerable impact with the Bulldogs. Fox, a transfer from the University of Colorado, is a promising threat in the trenches and eats up rebounds. Before transferring, Fox was the fastest player in Colorado history to grab 100 rebounds.

Pepperdine Waves
Fortunately for Pepperdine, they didn’t lose much following the 2001-02 season. Pepperdine returns what should be an explosive lineup, with four of the top scorers in the conference suiting up.

The only problem facing head coach Paul Westphal is: Who gets the rock? Jimmy Miggins (15 ppg), Boomer Brazzle (13.1), last season’s Freshman of the Year Terrance Johnson (13.1) and point guard Devin Montgomery (12.7) compose one of the most potent line-ups in the WCC.

San Francisco Dons
San Francisco and big Darrell Tucker are picked to finish third in conference play. Tucker is the odds-on favorite for WCC Player of the Year and an All-American candidate by virtue of his knack for the double-doubles.

The Oakland, Calif. native grabbed 17 double-doubles last season for the Dons.

San Diego Toreros
San Diego is picked to finish fourth in the conference, but look for them to challenge that ranking even though the Toreros lost five players from last year’s squad, three of which were starters.

One very big reason why the Toreros could be threat this season is the addition of 6-foot-10 center Jason Keep. Keep sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State. Keep and forward Jason Blair, who averaged 14.4 points and 6. 8 rebounds last year, should give teams trouble on the blocks at both ends of the court.

Santa Clara Broncos
With Steve Ross graduated and gone, the fate of Santa Clara’s offense falls onto the shoulders of Kyle Bailey. Bailey, an all-WCC performer last season, will look to build on his scoring average of a season ago (13.4 points).

But Santa Clara, which finished third in the WCC last season, will only go as far as the sharp-shooting junior will take them. And with very little help returning, that might not be too far.

Saint Mary’s Gaels
The Gaels could be a sleeper at the No. 6 position. Saint Mary’s did just what they needed to do during the off-season and that was to address specific needs, particularly height.

The Gaels ranked last in the WCC in team rebounding and offensive rebounds. This season that should all change with the signing of 7-1 center Blake Sholberg and 6-10 Australian Daniel Kickert.

Sholberg finished his prep career ranked in the top 20 nationally in rebounding, while Kickert brings with him international experience.

Loyola Marymount Lions
Although they are young (one senior and four juniors), don’t look for the Lions to settle into a learning curve.

Kent Dennis and Keith Kincade, two returning starters, are out to prove something to the WCC. Dennis, a crafty 6-4 shooting guard, will be a presence from behind the 3-point arc and Kincade (10 points per game and 4 rebounds) is looking to erase any doubts about his health. Kincade missed the final eight games of the season, including the WCC Tournament, with an ankle injury.

Portland Pilots
This team is young but talented. Unfortunately for Michael Holton’s squad, youth will be too big an obstacle for the Pilots to hurdle this season.

Holton followed up a strong spring 2001 recruiting class, with an even stronger spring 2002 class. His latest recruiting endeavors include Eugene Jeter, a 5-10 point guard that emerged as one of the top prep players on the west coast.

Mark Your Calendars:

League play is scheduled to start Jan. 9 with two obscure match-ups, as two perennial cellar-dwelling clubs face off against the conference favorites. Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga jumpstart the 2002-03 season and will be followed by Portland at Pepperdine.

If there were ever a time to pull off an upset, this would be it, even if it is only the first week. Both Pepperdine and Gonzaga (especially) will be entering league play tired from a stringent non-conference schedule.

Above all, Gonzaga will endure one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. The ‘Zags are scheduled to compete in the Maui Invitational (Nov. 26-27), the Jimmy V Classic (vs. NC State, Dec. 17) and the Pete Newell Challenge (vs. Stanford, Dec. 28). The Bulldogs will also butt heads with in-state rival Washington along the way (Dec. 2).

Darrell Tucker and San Francisco will be welcomed into their new season with a showdown against Seton Hall on Nov. 23. Tucker, who has yet to take his team to the NCAA Tournament, will get a mouthful of big time Big East basketball.

San Francisco and cross-bay rival Cal will duke it out Dec. 30. Anwar McQueen, a former guard for the Golden Bears and now an assistant coach with the Dons, will get his first look at the Bears from the other teams bench.

LMU will find themselves in an awkward position and state for that matter at the start of the season. The Lions will venture well north to Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 28-30). They will open tournament play against Villanova, another Big East school.

Once league play begins, all eyes are on Gonzaga-Pepperdine – literally. During Rivalry Weekend (Feb. 5), Gonzaga-Pepperdine will be featured on ESPN’s nightcap, following the Duke-North Carolina match-up. Their first encounter is slated for Jan. 12 in Spokane, Wash.

Postseason Hardware:

MVP: He is the big man on campus and, this season, he is the big man in the West Coast Conference. At 6-9, 245 pounds, San Francisco’s Darrell Tucker is your do-it-all forward. And he should be the WCC’s 2002-03 Most Valuable Player.

Tucker returns as the WCC’s leading scorer (18.9 points per game) and Windex-man, hauling down 10 rebounds per game. Last season, the Oakland, Calif. native made a name for himself by way of the double-double; at season’s end, Tucker amassed 17 double-doubles.

His play has improved every season and conference foes don’t expect him to take a step backward. If it weren’t for Dickau, Tucker would be in the running for his second consecutive MVP trophy.

Newcomer of the Year: San Diego’s Jason Keep might be the best-kept secret of the season. The former Oklahoma State recruit will be suiting up for the Toreros this season. The 6-10 center sat out last season after transferring from the Big 12 school.

In a conference where size is a commodity, the Toreros find themselves with a viable low post threat and an impact player. Look for Keep to jump to the front of the leader board in points and rebounds.


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with floor issues in the Big East and an important NCAA ruling that was upheld. Then we go on to the Big 12, where Wednesday night had a new twist, as well as the ACC and how it shapes up along with no team going undefeated in conference play this year.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a big sweep in the SEC, look back on the wild Saturday, then talk about a Big Ten showdown and some undefeated teams in conference play.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a lot of what has happened in the ACC and SEC, including the Big 12/SEC Challenge, whether or not Kentucky is turning a corner, as well as the story at Michigan State.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a wild night in the Big Ten, adversity and a quiet leader in the ACC, what to make of Kentucky and look ahead to the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.