Pangos WCC Player of the Year, Zags Sweep Major WCC Awards
WCC HONORS VIDEO | WCC RELEASE
SAN BRUNO, Calif. – Senior guard Kevin Pangos was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year as part of a Gonzaga sweep of the Player, Defender, Newcomer and Coach of the Year Awards announced today by the league office. The Zags also earned seven all-conference selections.
Pangos, now a four-time All-WCC First Team selection, earned his first Player of the Year honor while Gary Bell Jr. was named the league’s Defender of the Year, Kyle Wiltjer was named the Newcomer of the Year and Mark Few was named the Coach of the Year for the 10th time. It also marked the 12th Player of the Year award for GU, and third time for the Zags to sweep the four major awards (2001, 2005).
Pangos has led the 29-2, 17-1 WCC-champion Zags from the point guard spot with the NCAA’s second-best assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.7. He’s also averaging 11.6 points per game and leads the team with 66 three-pointers. Additionally, he leads the team in assists (5.0 apg), steals (1.3 spg) and free throw percentage (.831). Earlier this year, Pangos broke the GU all-time threes record of 288 and now has 307 entering the WCC tournament.
A 6-10 forward, Wiltjer has burst onto the scene this season after transferring from Kentucky and sitting out last season as a redshirt. He leads the team at 16.5 points per game and is shooting a team-best .449 from behind the arc. He has a team-high 24 games with with double-digit points, including 11 with more than 20 and a team season-high of 45 at Pacific on Feb. 19. Wiltjer becomes the seventh Zag to earn the Newcomer of the Year Award.
Bell Jr. made a name for himself around the league on the defensive end this season, often drawing the opposing team’s toughest assignment. Against the top three scorers in the league that Bell Jr. guarded, he had a big hand in holding BYU’s Tyler Haws (1st in WCC at 21.9 ppg), Loyola Marymount’s Evan Payne (3rd, 17.6 ppg) and San Diego’s Johnny Dee (4th, 17.2 ppg) at least 4.9 points per game below their season averages in five of the six matchups. Bell Jr. becomes the fifth Zag to win the Defender of the Year Award.
Few’s 10th WCC Coach of the Year award came with the Zags setting a league record with 17 conference wins this season. GU compiled a 17-1 record and earned its 14th regular season title in the last 15 years.
Wiltjer and center Przemek Karnowski joined Pangos on the 10-player All-WCC First Team, giving GU three first-teamers for the third time in the last four years and 10th time under Few. Bell Jr., Byron Wesley and Domantas Sabonis were each named to the five-player All-WCC Second Team, while Sabonis also appeared on the five-player All-Freshman Team.
The Zags enter the WCC Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will face the winner of the Pacific/San Francisco matchup on Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
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