October 12, 2005

Young Men's Basketball Squad Prepares For New Season

Oct. 12, 2005

SAN BRUNO, Calif. - After losing five of its top eight scorers from a year ago, the Santa Clara University men's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference, according to the annual preseason poll conducted by by the league coaches.

Gonzaga tallied 62 points and received six first place votes as the leader. The Bulldogs are followed by Saint Mary's College (45), which received one first place vote, the University of Portland (43), which also received a first place vote, and Loyola Marymount University (40). Rounding out this year's preseason poll is Santa Clara (36), the University of San Francisco (28), the University of San Diego (20) and Pepperdine University (14).

Gonzaga, listed as a preseason top 10 team by numerous publications, return four starters and 10 letterwinners from last season's squad that posted a 26-5 overall record and a 12-2 conference mark. The Gaels are coming off of one of the best seasons in school history with a 25-9 overall record and NCAA Tournament berth.

Portland, picked third, returns four starters and its top five scorers from last season's squad that posted a 15-15 overall mark. Loyola Marymount, selected fourth, will have a new face on the sidelines this season as former Arizona assistant Rodney Tention takes over the reigns of the Lions' program.

Santa Clara, tabbed fifth, was one of only four teams in the country to knock off defending national champion North Carolina. The Broncos return three starters and eight letterwinners from last season's squad. SCU only has two seniors on the squad in Travis Niesen and Tristan Parham and will be relying on a youthful backcourt and the return of Brandon Rohe.

San Francisco, San Diego and Pepperdine round out the poll.

2005-06 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 62 (6)
2. Saint Mary's - 45 (1)
3. Portland - 43 (1)
4. Loyola Marymount - 40
5. Santa Clara - 36
6. San Francisco - 28
7. San Diego - 20
8. Pepperdine - 14
(First place votes)

2005-06 WCC Preseason Top Returners
J.P. Batista, Gonzaga
Pooh Jeter, Portland
Daniel Kickert, Saint Mary's
Adam Morrison, Gonzaga
Derek Raivio, Gonzaga
(as voted by the league coaches)