Bulldog Men Sweep WCC Honors
Feb. 28, 2005
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - For the second time in five years Gonzaga University has swept the West Coast Conference men's basketball awards.
Mark Few earned his fifth straight WCC Coach of the Year honor, Ronny Turiaf became the fifth straight Bulldog to capture Player of the Year, J.P. Batista is the Newcomer of the Year and Erroll Knight was named the Defender of the Year in a vote of WCC coaches.
The Bulldogs swept the awards in 2001 with Few, Casey Calvary as the Player of the Year, Blake Stepp as the Freshman of the Year and Mark Spink as the Defender of the Year. The Newcomer of the Year award replaced the Freshman of the Year for the 2004 season.
Few, who last year became the first coach to win Coach of the Year four straight times since the University of San Francisco's Phil Woolpert from 1955-58, is the first five-time winner of the award. It's the eighth time a Bulldog has been honored as the top coach since Gonzaga joined the conference for the 1979-80 season.
Turiaf, who averaged 16.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg and 1.8 blocks/game, continues a string of Gonzaga Player of the Year recipients that includes Blake Stepp (2003, '04), Dan Dickau (2002) and Casey Calvary (2001). Gonzaga has now won eight Player of the Year awards.
Batista, a junior college transfer from Barton, Kans., Junior College, is the first Bulldog to win the 2-year-old Newcomer of the Year honor. Stepp (2001) and Matt Santangelo (1997) were recipients of the WCC Freshman of the Year honor. Batista averaged 12.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg and shot 61.2 percent from the field while starting 12 of his 24 appearances this season.
Knight, who missed the first fives games of the season with a hand injury and then sat out one WCC game with a foot injury, has been the Bulldogs top defender for two seasons. He is the point man on the press and averaged 0.7 steals/game and 4.9 rpg while harassing opponents into several turnovers. The Defender of the Year was begun in 1999. Knight is the third Bulldog to win the award, Mike Nilson in 2000 joining Spink as previous Bulldog recipients.
Morrison paced the Bulldogs in scoring at 18.2 ppg while also grabbing 5.6 rpg. A WCC All-Freshman Team selection last year, he shot 48.8 percent from the field and 30.5 percent from 3-point range.
Raivio, who had the unenviable task of replacing Stepp as the Bulldogs starting point guard, averaged 13.5 ppg, 5.1 assists/game, 1.7 steals/game and shot 90.7 percent from the free throw line, including one stretch of 41 consecutive free throws made that tied the Gonzaga record. He leads the team with 68 treys, shooting 47.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Pendergraft has played in all 26 games with one start. He averaged 3.2 ppg, 2,5 rpg, 0.3 steals and shot 58.5 percent from the field.
Pepperdine University and WCC runner-up Saint Mary's College each placed two players on the All-WCC team. SMC was represented by Daniel Kickert and Paul Marigney, while the Waves had Alex Acker and Glen McGowan named to the squad.
Gonzaga - Adam Morrison, Derek Raivio, Ronny Turiaf. Pepperdine - Alex Acker, Glen McGowan. Saint Mary's - Daniel Kickert, Paul Marigney. San Diego - Brandon Gay. San Francisco - John Cox. Santa Clara - Doron Perkins.
Gonzaga - J.P. Batista. Loyola Marymount - Matthew Knight. Portland - Pooh Jeter. San Diego - Brice Vounang. Saint Mary's - E.J. Rowland. San Francisco - Tyrone Riley. Santa Clara - Kyle Bailey, Travis Niesen.
Gonzaga - David Pendergraft. Pepperdine - Kingsley Costain, Russell Hicks. Portland - Marcus Lewis. Santa Clara - Brody Angley.
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