Busting Brackets

West Coast Conference Basketball: Takeaways From the WCC Basketball Tip-Off Event


With two weeks before the West Coast Conference basketball season begins, the WCC held its annual Tip-Off event live from the Time Warner Cable Sports studios in El Segundo, CA on October 26, 2015.

Part substance, part fun, hosted by Chris McGee and Dave Miller, every head coach and one player from all of the WCC teams were on hand to talk about the off-season, the composition of their teams and goals for the 2015-16 season.

Viewers also learned interesting facts about WCC coaches and players in a segment called “Ask a Coach, Ask a Player”.

Who knew that the first paying job that Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating ever had was as a ham carver and waffle maker at a buffet restaurant somewhere near his hometown of Rockville Centre, NY. Gonzaga’s Mark Few’s first job was in construction. University of Portland coach Eric Reveno’s favorite snacks are apples and chocolate chip cookies.

Gonzaga returns three players to its front court—Przemek Karnowski, Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer. All three are nominees for noteworthy honors—Karnowski is on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award watch list recognizing the top Centers in college basketball and Wiltjer has been picked as the Preseason National Player of the Year.

All three were named to the WCC Preseason All-Conference team. No surprise that Gonzaga is picked to win the conference this year. Mark Few did make a special point to mention the talents and efforts of senior Kyle Dranginis, who was their do-everything player, all year long.

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Of interest, this season is Pepperdine’s projected third place finish, as determined in the results of the preseason WCC Coaches poll.

Head Coach Marty Wilson and senior point guard Stacy Davis IV agree that “everything is fine at the ‘dine.”

Returning all of their players from last season is a definite advantage for the team as they look forward to a very strong season.

Davis went to China over the summer months and worked on the “technical aspects” of his game, delving into film analysis of the play of several of his favorite NBA players.

Characterized as the “Swiss Army knife” of the team because he does so many things well, look for Davis to have an even more exceptional year than his past three years.

West Coast Conference Basketball watchers agree that Pepperdine will be the team to be reckoned with this year.

San Francisco was represented by WCC All Conference Preseason pick Senior Tim Dirksen and Head Coach Rex Walters.

San Francisco has a fleet of five new freshmen players and two new assistant coaches in Sundance Wicks and the highly esteemed Frank Allocco who Walters said has had “only 98 losses in 75 years of coaching.”

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  • Dirksen is impressed with the new freshman, who have worked really hard over the summer months, putting in extra workouts and energizing the rest of the team and coaching staff alike.

    San Francisco will be playing differently than in past seasons as a result of the new freshman talent with sophomore point guard Devin Watson leading the charge. Watson is the type of player according to Walters who makes good players great.

    We also learned that when given the choice between Uber, Yellow Cab for transportation and Rhianna or Beyoncé as potential dates, Derksen would choose with Uber and Rhianna for a ride down Lombard Street in San Francisco.  Walters’ favorite off-court activity when not watching film is “hanging with his fam”.

    BYU is again projected to finish second in the conference. Senior Kyle Collinsworth is on the Cousy watch list recognizing some of the best college point guards in the nation.

    The full results of the WCC Preseason Coaches Poll:

    1.      Gonzaga                        81 First Place points

    2.     BYU                                73 points

    3.     Pepperdine                   62 points

    4.   Saint Mary’s                   58 points

    5.   Portland                          43

    6.  Santa Clara                      37

    7.  (tie) San Francisco         32

    8.  (tie) Pacific                      32

    9.  San Diego                         17

    10.  Loyola Marymount         15

    WCC All Conference Preseason Picks

    1. Przmek Karnowski – Gonzaga           Sr.   C
    2. Domantas Sabonis – Gonzaga           So.   F
    3.  Kyle Wiltjer –            Gonzaga           Sr.   F
    4. Stacy Davis IV –         Pepperdine     Sr.   G
    5. Tim Derksen –           San Francisco Sr.   G
    6. Jared Brownridge –  Santa Clara     Jr.   G
    7. Alec Wintering –       Portland          Sr.   G
    8. TJ Wallace –              Pacific              Jr.   G
    9. Kyle Collinsworth – BYU                  Sr.   G
    10. Chase Fischer –        BYU                  Sr.   G

    Next: Oregon State Beavers 2015-16 Season Preview

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