Bouldin, Harris, Few, Gray Earn WCC Accolades
March 1, 2010
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Gonzaga University men's basketball made a near sweep of the West Coast Conference major awards Monday when senior guard Matt Bouldin was named the Player of the Year, freshman Elias Harris the Newcomer of the Year and Mark Few the Coach of the Year.
Bouldin's selection marks the ninth time in the last 10 years a Bulldog has been named the top player in the conference as voted by the coaches, and it is the 12th time a Zag has been honored since John Stockton become the first Bulldog to win the conference's top player honor in 1984.
The native of Highland's Ranch, Colo., is averaging 16.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 4.1 assists/game. With 1,617 career points he is five points shy of moving into eighth on the all-time Gonzaga list. His 428 career assists rank fifth and his 166 steals are fourth. In WCC games only this season he averaged 16.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 4.3 assists. He scored a season and career high 32 points at home at Pepperdine University and had a season and career high 12 rebound at the University of San Francisco on a night when he recorded his first points/rebounds double-double by adding 15 points.
"Obviously, earning WCC Player of the Year is a huge honor and I'm happy to put my name down as one of the Zags over the last 10 years who has received it," Bouldin said. "It's really special to me. It's nice to get it."
Few said Bouldin was the catalyst for this year's success.
"I'm really happy for Matt. He's had a phenomenal year, he's had a phenomenal career. He's going to go down in history as one of the greatest guards in Gonzaga history and that's some company there. He's right there with Blake Stepp, Dan Dickau, Adam Morrison and Stocks (John Stockton)," Few said. "If you look at how many wins he's had he's well into the hundreds, has started every game and his effect on every game is unbelievable. I thought he was MVP last year but with as many good guys on the team last year I think that might have hurt his chances."
Few said a case could have been made for Co-Players of the Year this season.
"This year, to be honest with you, I don't know if we could have done this, but I thought he and Omar Samhan (Saint Mary's College) both deserved it. Omar had a phenomenal year. I'm sure he was a unanimous all-conference selection. Both were so consistent and so good. I'm proud of Matt because he had to take a lot of leadership and a lot of responsibility on his shoulders with this young team. He handled it amazingly well."
Few earned his eighth Coach of the Year honor in his 11 years at the helm in leading Gonzaga to a 10th straight WCC regular-season title with a 12-2 mark. That is the longest current conference title streak in the country and ties the Bulldogs with The University of Connecticut which won 10 straight Yankee Conference titles from 1951-60 and UNLV which captured 10 straight Big West Crowns from 1983-92. Few earned six straight Coach of the Year honors from 2001-06, the longest run in WCC history. His eight selections are also the most in WCC annals.
Few, in his 21st year overall with the Bulldogs, has 288 career victories, three shy of becoming the all-time wins leader in Gonzaga's basketball history. He has a career record of 288-71.
Harris became the first Gonzaga player since J.P. Batista in 2005 to earn Newcomer of the Year and the fourth Zag overall to capture the honor since it was begun in 1975. The native of Speyer, Germany, made quite a splash as a freshman, averaging 15.1 ppg and a team-high 7.4 rpg. He recorded six double-doubles, scored a season-high 31 points at Saint Mary's College and grabbed 16 rebounds in a win over the University of Illinois in the United Center in Chicago. He averaged a team-high 17.0 ppg and 7.4 rpg in WCC play. He shot 57.2 percent from the field in conference action. Harris was also named to the All-Freshman Team.
Samhan prevented a Bulldog sweep by being named Defensive Player of the Year.
Junior guard Steven Gray joined Bouldin and Harris on the All-WCC first team, the Bainbridge, Wash., native averaging 13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 2.7 assists. He scored a career-high 27 points against the University of Colorado in the opening round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational to launch the Bulldogs to the team title, he and Bouldin earning Co-MVP honors. He also had a career-high 14 rebounds at Saint Mary's College and scored 14 points against the Gaels for his lone career double-double to date.
The Bulldogs, as the No. 1 seed into the Zappos.com WCC Tournament in Las Vegas, receive a bye into Sunday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal where the Bulldogs will face either No. 4 seed University of San Francisco, No. 5 Loyola Marymount University or No. 8 Pepperdine University.
2010 West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Honors
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