Bulldogs Cart Off WCC Awards
March 1, 2004
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few became the first coach in 46 years to win four straight West Coast Conference Coach of the Year awards, and Blake Stepp won his second straight Player of the Year award as a Bulldog received the nod for a fourth straight year as the WCC bestowed its annual awards on Monday.
Few, in his fifth season on the Bulldog bench, joined legendary University of San Francisco coach Phil Woolpert as the only coaches in conference history to be recognized four straight years by their peers. Woolpert did it from 1955-58. Last year Few became the first coach since Santa Clara University's Dick Garibaldi (1968-70) to win three straight times.
Stepp became the fifth Bulldog since Gonzaga joined the conference for the 1979-80 season to win Player of the Year honors. He also kept alive a string of Bulldogs who have won the honor in years ending in four since Gonzaga joined the league - John Stockton in 1984, Jeff Brown in 1994 and Stepp in 2004. Dan Dickau won the award in 2002, Casey Calvary in 2001 and Bakari Hendrix in 1998 as the other Gonzaga recipients. Stepp is the first player to win back-to-back honors since Santa Clara University's Steve Nash in 1995-96. It's the ninth time in WCC history a player has won back-to-back Player of the Year honors.
Stepp, an honorable mention selection and the WCC Freshman of the Year in 2001, was joined on the first team by teammates Cory Violette and Ronny Turiaf. Adam Morrison and Sean Mallon were both named to the All-Freshman team.
In earning Player of the Year, Stepp averaged 14.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 6.9 assists for the Bulldogs. He has moved into fifth on the Gonzaga career scoring charts with 1,614 points, eight away from moving past Richie Frahm (1,621, 2996-00) for fifth and 33 away from surpassing Jeff Brown (1,646, 1992-94) for fourth. He also first in career 3-point field goals with 283 and is second in career assists with 620. His 283 3-pointers are second in WCC history behind Loyola Marymount's Jeff Fryer (363, 1987-90) and his 620 assists are fifth on the WCC all-time charts.
The senior from Eugene, Ore., led Gonzaga in WCC scoring with 17.0 ppg and shot 50.3 percent (75-149) from the field in WCC action, including 45.0 percent from 3-point range (45-100).
Violette earned his third straight All-WCC selection, the senior from Boise, Idaho, averaging 13.8 ppg and a team-leading 8.0 rpg for the 25-2 Bulldogs who became the first team since Pepperdine in 1992 to go 14-0 in conference play. Violette joined the 1,000-point club this year and enters the WCC tourney with 1,275 points for 14th on the all-time GU list. He recorded the 27th double-double of his career last Saturday with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Turiaf, a junior from Le Robert, Martinique, was named to the All-WCC squad for the second straight season. He led the Bulldogs in scoring at 15.3 ppg and grabbed 6.0 rpg. He also joined the 1,000-point club this season and has 1,163 points for 18th on the Bulldogs career chart.
Morrison and Mallon were both big contributors for the Bulldogs off the bench. Both appeared in all 27 games for the Bulldogs, Morrison getting the start in the season opener in place of Turiaf who was coming off an injury. Morrison, from Mead High in Spokane, average 21.1 minutes/game while averaging 11.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg and shooting 52.4 percent from the field (121-231). Mallon, who came to the Bulldogs last year from Spokane's Ferris high and redshirted, averaged 14.9 minutes/game while averaging 5.8 ppg and 2.7 rpg. His playing time steadily increased as the season progressed, averaging 16.6 minutes/game in WCC action and averaging 6.6 ppg and 3.6 rpg.
This year's Defensive Player of the Year in the WCC is LMU's Sherman Gay. In conference play, Gay led the league in blocks for the second straight season. His 51 swats on the year give the senior center 128 blocks for his career. That ranks 10th on the WCC all-time blocks list and ranks first in LMU history.
This season the WCC implemented the Newcomer of the Year award, the University of San Diego's Brice Vounang garnering the award. In league play Vounang was second in the WCC in scoring (19.7 ppg) and ranked third in rebounding (7.7 rpg). The junior forward transferred from East Oklahoma State junior college and is a native of Dschang, Cameroon.
Name/School Pos HT YR Hometown Yakhouba Diawara, Pepperdine F 6-7 Jr. Paris, France Sherman Gay, Loyola Marymount F 6-7 Sr. Carson, CA Pooh Jeter, Portland G 5-10 So. Gardena, CA Daniel Kickert, Saint Mary's F 6-10 So. Melbourne, Australia Paul Marigney, Saint Mary's G 6-3 Jr. Oakland, CA Glen McGowan, Pepperdine F 6-9 Jr. Lemon Grove, CA Blake Stepp, Gonzaga** G 6-4 Sr. Eugene, OR Ronny Turiaf, Gonzaga** F 6-10 Jr. Le Robert, Martinique Cory Violette, Gonzaga*** F/C 6-8 Sr. Boise, ID Brice Vounang, San Diego F/C 6-8 Jr. Dschang, Cameroon(*Times on All-WCC First Team)
HONORABLE MENTION: Pepperdine - Alex Acker, So.; Terrance Johnson, Jr. San Francisco - Tyrone Riley, Jr. Santa Clara - Doron Perkins, Jr.
Name/School Pos HT Hometown Shaun Davis, Pepperdine G 5-11 San Diego, CA Sean Mallon, Gonzaga F 6-9 Spokane, WA Damian Martin, LMU G 6-1 Gloucester, NSW, Australia Adam Morrison, Gonzaga F 6-8 Spokane, WA Dreshawn Vance, Portland C 6-8 Walnut, CA
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