With both scoring 523+ points this season as the eighth-best tandem in school history, Santa Clara freshman Jared Brownridge and junior Brandon Clark were both honored by the West Coast Conference coaches Monday. The second-leading scorer in WCC play, Brownridge was named the Crons WCC Newcomer of the Year, All-WCC Honorable Mention and to the WCC All-Freshman team. The team's leader in points, steal and assists, Clark was named All-WCC Honorable Mention.
The Broncos will play Pacific on Thurs., March 6 at 8 pm in the opening round of the WCC Championship. The game will be televised on BYUtv and broadcast live in the Bay Area on KLIV 1590 AM.
It is the second time in six seasons the Broncos have had the WCC Newcomer of the Year as Kevin Foster collected the same honors in 2008-09 and finished as the league's second-leading scorer all-time.
"I am shocked. Just shocked and blessed," said Brownridge, a native of Aurora, Ill. who graduated from Waubonsie Valley High School last May. "For this to happen my freshman year is a great moment for me. I didn't expect this coming to college. There are so many good newcomers in the WCC this season – Lane of Pepperdine, Mika of BYU, both Payne and Levin of LMU. They have all done good things this year and they were tough, tough match-ups."
Starting every game this year, Brownridge averages 16.9 ppg and 2.8 threes per game as he scored 20+ 12 times this season, including 30+ in three WCC games (vs. BYU, at USF, at Pepperdine). The 12 times are tops for a Bronco freshman in school history. His 18.4 ppg were second-best in the WCC this season and his 2.8 threes per game led the league. Brownridge currently owns six Bronco freshman records and three game records. He holds the Bronco freshman record in points scored (523), field goals made (168) and threes made (87). He is at the top of the scoring average (16.9 to Kurt Rambis' 15.3), three-point percentage (42.9 % to Steve Nash's 40.8 %) and free throw percentage (86.2 % to Nash's 82.5 %).
Brownridge finished the regular season with an exclamation mark, scoring 38 points at Pepperdine on 7 of 9 shooting from beyond the arc on March 1. His 38 points were the best Bronco performance since Nash had 40 at Gonzaga on Jan. 19, 1995. He also led the team with seven rebounds.
When asked what he attributed his success to this year he remarked: "I would say my teammates because they look for me when I am open and give me the ball in good situations," said Brownridge. "And for sure my coaches. They trust me and it makes for a good situation."
Clark scored his 1000th career point in the 86-78 Bronco victory at Pepperdine on March 1. He is the 32nd Bronco to score 1000+ and the seventh under Kerry Keating. Clark is No. 31 in career points (1,013), No. 8 in three point percentage (37.7) and No. 4 in free throw percentage (83.0).
"I owe a lot of this to my teammates and coaches. And certainly my friends and family back in Indiana for always supporting me," said Clark, a native of East Chicago, Ill., who graduated from Merrillville High School. "We play in one of the best leagues so this is a real honor for me and for Jared."
This season Clark has scored 528 points, good enough for No. 17 on the season list. He is the first player in more than five years to score double digits in 21 straight games. He also has topped 20+ 12 times this season. If he finishes the season at the top of ppg, apg and spg, he would be the first Bronco since Brandon Rohe in 2002-03 to do this (10.6 ppg, 2.4 apg, 1.0 spg).
Clark and Brownridge are just the fourth Bronco duo to score 500+ points in a single season. The Broncos have accomplished this feat in back-to-back years for the first time in school history, with Foster and Marc Trasolini doing it collectively in 2012-13.