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West Coast 2002-03 Season Recap

May 27, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



West Coast Conference 2002-03 Season Recap

by Jimmy Spencer

The 2002-03 West Coast Conference season was highlighted yet again by another amazing run by the Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-9 overall, 12-2 in WCC). The Bulldogs, led by 2002-03 WCC Player of The Year, junior guard Blake Stepp, took No. 1-seeded Arizona to the wire in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, but ultimately lost 96-95 in double-overtime.

The other exciting run came from San Diego (18-12 overall, 10-4 in the WCC), who finished second in the conference and upset Gonzaga in the conference tournament finals to win their first ever WCC tournament title. The Toreros, led by senior forward Jason Blair, made their third-ever tournament appearance and their first appearance since 1987. They earned a No. 13 seed, but dropped to Stanford in the first round.

In conference tournament play, San Francisco (15-14 overall, 9-5 in WCC) defeated Loyola Marymount, but fell to San Diego in the semi-finals. It was the fourth-consecutive year that USF has lost to the host team in the West Coast Tournament and the third-straight in San Diego. WCC first-team honorees guard John Cox and senior forward Darrell Tucker led USF.

Saint Mary’s (15-15 overall, 6-8 in WCC) beat Pepperdine in the conference tournament before bowing out to Gonzaga in the semi-finals. The Gaels finished fifth in the conference and were led by their defense, which was best in the WCC allowing just 64.1 points per game. Freshman forward Daniel Kickert was the team’s leading scorer at 11.6 points per game.

Pepperdine (15-13 overall, 7-7 in WCC) finished fourth in the conference, led by WCC first-team member, sophomore guard Terrance Johnson. Santa Clara (13-15 overall), Portland (11-17 overall) and Loyola Marymount (11-20 overall) all finished with a conference record of 4-10, respectively. Loyola Marymount got the edge in tiebreakers to advance to the conference tournament, but ultimately lost in the first round to USF.

First-team West Coast Conference
John Cox: junior guard, USF
Blake Stepp: junior guard, GON
Jason Blair: senior forward, USD
Jimmy Miggins: senior forward, PEP
Jason Keep: senior center, USD

Honorable Mention:
Terrance Johnson, sophomore guard, PEP
Samuel St. Jean, senior guard, SMC
Ronny Turiaf, sophomore center, GON
Cory Violette, junior forward/center, GON
Darrell Tucker, senior forward, USF

Conference Player of the Year:

Blake Stepp: junior guard, Gonzaga

Stepp is the third-straight Gonzaga player to win the WCC player of the year award. The Eugene, Oregon native averaged 18 points and six assists in 2002-03. He is a rhythm shooter with great range and excellent court awareness.

Stepp was the WCC’s top scorer in conference play at 20.6 points while also leading the league in assists at 5.79 per contest. Stepp, the third-straight Gonzaga player to win the award (Dan Dickau, 2002 and Casey Calvary, 2001), was one of 52 players invited to the 2003 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Trials.

Freshman of the Year:

Alex Acker: guard, Pepperdine

In conference play, Acker was the top-ranked freshman in scoring (13.9 points), assists (3.57) and rebounding (5.2 boards). Coming from Eisenhower High in Rialto, Calif., Acker red shirted in 2001-02, but became a starter for the injury-plagued Waves this past season. He was the first Gael to win a WCC individual award since Eric Schraeder was honored Player of the year in 1999.

Defensive Player of the Year:

Anthony Woodards: senior guard, Saint Mary’s

The Gaels will miss their 6-foot-1 senior guard, who played as their defensive stopper for the last two seasons and helped the Gaels to finish as the conference’s best defensive team. He was frequently utilized to offset the opponents top perimeter scorers, including the WCC’s player of the year, Blake Stepp, and First Team-All WCC members John Cox of USF and Jimmy Miggins of Pepperdine.

Coach of the Year:

Mark Few, Gonzaga (third-straight year)

Few guided the Zags to their third-straight conference title and is proving to quite possibly be one of the top coaches in college basketball. He became only the fourth coach to win the conference award in three-consecutive seasons.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-9, 12-2)

Starters Leaving/Staying: 1/4

Key Players Leaving:
Winston Brooks, guard: graduated

Key Players Staying:
Blake Stepp: senior guard
Ronny Turiaf: junior forward
Tony Skinner: senior guard
Cory Violette: senior center
Kyle Bankhead: Redshirt senior G/F

Coach’s Corner: Head Coach Mark Few won his third consecutive WCC Coach of the Year honors in the 2002-03 season.

Scoring Leader: Blake Stepp, 18.0
Rebounding Leader: Cory Violette, 8.0
Assist Leader: Blake Stepp, 6.0

Notes: With the return of most of their starters, the Zags should be knocking on the upset door again in 2003-04.

San Francisco Dons (18-13, 9-5)

Starters Leaving/Staying: 2/3

Key Players Leaving:
Darrell Tucker, forward: graduated
Shamell Stallworth, guard: graduated

Key Players Staying:
John Cox: senior guard
Jason Gaines: junior guard
James Bayless: junior forward

Coach’s Corner: Head Coach Phil Matthews, who just completed his eighth season at USF, signed a multi-year extension to stay at the helm.

Scoring Leader: Darrell Tucker, 18.5
Rebounding Leader: Darrell Tucker, 8.1
Assists Leader: Jason Gaines, 5.1

Notes: USF announced the signing of California State Junior College Player of the Year Tyrone Riley (6-7, 220) to an NCAA Letter of Intent.

San Diego Toreros (18-12 overall, 10-4 in WCC)

Starters Leaving/Staying: 4/1

Key Players Leaving:
Roy Morris, guard: graduated
Jason Blair, forward: graduated
Matt Delzell, g/f: graduated
Jason Keep, center: graduated

Key Players Returning:
Corey Belser, junior g/f
Nick Lewis, sophomore F/C

Scoring Leader: Jason Keep, 18.0
Rebounding Leader: Jason Keep, 9.1
Assists Leader: Matt Delzell, 3.5

Saint Mary’s Gaels (15-15, 6-8)

Starters Leaving/Staying: 1/4

Key Players Leaving:
Samuel Saint-Jean, guard: graduated

Key Players Staying:
Daniel Kickert, sophomore forward
Chase Poole, senior forward
Tyler Herr, senior guard
Adam Caporn, junior guard

Scoring Leader: Daniel Kickert, 12.7
Rebounding Leader: Chase Poole, 8.2
Assists Leader: Samuel Saint-Jean, 3.7

Pepperdine Waves (15-13 overall, 7-7 in WCC)

Starters Leaving/Staying: 3/2

Key Players Leaving:
Boomer Brazzle, forward: graduated
Jimmy Miggins, forward: graduated
Mike Westphal, guard: graduated

Key Players Staying:
Alex Acker, sophomore G/F
Terrance Johnson, junior guard
Robert Turner, junior forward

Scorer Leader: Jimmy Miggins, 15.4
Rebounding Leader: Boomer Brazzle 6.3
Assists Leader: Jimmy Miggins, 3.7

Portland Pilots (11-17 overall, 4-10 in WCC)

Starters Leaving/Staying: 0/5

Key Players Leaving:
Eric Knight, guard: graduated

Key Players Staying:
Karl Aaker, junior guard
Casey Frandsen, senior guard
Dustin Geddis, senior forward
Patrick Galos, junior forward
Eugene Jeter, sophomore guard
Adam Quick, senior guard
Donald Wilson, sophomore guard

Scorer Leader: Casey Frandsen, 12.7
Rebounding Leader: Dustin Geddis, 5.9
Assists Leader: Adam Quick, 4.2

Loyola Marymount Lions (11-20, 4-10)

Starters Leaving/Returning: 0/5

Key Players Leaving:
Patrick Madigan, guard: graduated
Miroslav Neskovic, forward: graduated

Key Players Returning:
Charles Brown, junior guard
Kent Dennis, senior guard
Sherman Gay, senior forward
Keith Kincade, senior forward
Andy Osborn, junior forward
Wes Wardrop, sophomore guard
Brandon Worthy, sophomore guard

Scoring Leader: Charles Brown, 11.1
Rebounding Leader: Sherman Gay, 4.5
Assists Leader: Charles Brown, 4.4

Santa Clara Broncos (13-15, 4-10)

Starting Leaving/Returning: 1/4

Key Players Leaving:
Cord Anderson, forward: graduated

Key Players Returning
Bakari Altheimer, junior guard
Kyle Bailey, senior guard
Jim Howell, senior center
Jordan Legge, junior forward
J.R. Patrick, senior guard
Brandon Rohe, sophomore guard

Scoring Leader: Brandon Rhoe, 10.6
Rebounding Leader: Jim Howell, 6.2
Assists Leader: Bakari Altheimer and Brandon Rhoe, 2.4

     

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