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West Coast Notebook

March 7, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

West Coast Notebook

by James Burns

Roll out the Red Carpet – it’s Post-season Award Time!

It has to be head coach Mark Few’s system – or the Washington water.

Whatever the case may be, Gonzaga knows how to produce championship teams led by championship players. For the third consecutive season, a Gonzaga Bulldog took home the conference’s top individual honor. In all, three Gonzaga players were named to the WCC all-conference team.

Sharp-shooting guard Blake Stepp was named the WCC Most Valuable Player after leading the Bulldogs to their third WCC regular season championship in the last four years. The 6-4 junior led the conference in scoring (20.6 ppg) and assists (5.7), while ranking first in 3-pointers made (54).

Stepp’s big men joined him on the all-conference team. Cory Violette was named to his second all-conference team while super sophomore Ronny Turiaf was a first-time selection.

San Francisco, Pepperdine and San Diego all had two players named on the all-conference team.

San Francisco’s Darrell Tucker was named to his third all-conference team and finishes his illustrious career ranked 14th on the WCC scoring list with 1,768 points. Teammate John Cox came up huge in Tucker’s absence, solidifying his spot as one of the conference’s toughest guards.

Although it was a lackluster year for Pepperdine, both Jimmy Miggins and guard Terrance Johnson were named to the all-conference team. Johnson was a first-time selection while Miggins was named to his second all-conference team.

A pair of Jason’s represented San Diego. Six-foot-seven Jason Blair and 6-10 Jason Keep were both named to the all-conference team.

Conference Tournament Preview

The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have it easy.

For the first two days of the WCC tournament, Gonzaga (the regular season champion) and upstart San Diego will watch the tournament unfold from the bleachers. The top two seeds of the tournament automatically get byes – into the semi-finals.

Loyola-Marymount and Portland will open the tournament on Thursday, March 6 at noon. Saint Mary’s and Santa Clara will round out the opening day.

The winners will advance to the second round, where San Francisco and Pepperdine are waiting in the balance. San Francisco gets the winner of LMU-Portland, and Pepperdine gets the winner of Saint Mary’s-Santa Clara.

According to the new format, the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds automatically get byes into the second day of competition.

The championship game is scheduled for Monday, March 10 at 9 p.m. The WCC Tournament champion will receive the conference’s automatic bid.


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