Pepperdine Plans to Make Waves In WCC
Malibu is known for its beautiful beaches and waves that surfers come from near and far to ride. At Pepperdine University, they are hoping for some beautiful basketball from Waves of a different kind.
The Pepperdine Waves went just 12-18 last season and 4-12 in the West Coast Conference. Many are predicting a similar fate this season. Don't tell that to third year head coach Marty Wilson. "Some of those so-called experts have no idea what we have," Wilson told Breitbart Sports. "They forget about Brendan Lane. They don’t know that our young guys are more talented than what people expect them to be. Our guys will use that as motivation and will play every game with a chip on their shoulder."
Lane, a transfer from UCLA, will be a big part of a front court that will also feature Malte Kramer and Jett Raines.
Super sophomore Stacy Davis, the WCC Newcomer of the Year last season averaged over 11 points and better than 7 boards per game. Wilson anticipates more of that production and he's looking forward to Davis pairing up with Lane.
"Stacy had a great freshman year and will be better this year," Wilson said. "Brendan is a veteran guy with good skill and size and a good inside/outside game. Those are two guys we know we’re going to count on day in and day out."
According to Wilson they won't be alone when it comes to finding the bottom of the net. A number of Waves will be expected to put up points. "Other guys can score too, which is a good thing," said Wilson. "We have a solid number of guys that will be able to help us: Nikolas Skouen, Malte Kramer, Malcolm Brooks, Lamond Murray, Jeremy Major. We may have a different leading scorer every game."
Pepperdine has a crop of freshman on the roster, including guards like Major and Amadi Udenyi. Sophomore Austin Mills will also play valuable minutes.
With so many parts to designate, the Waves starting lineup is still a work in progress. Even when the season officially tips off, it might not be set in stone. "It may change from game to game, week to week," Wilson said. "We’ll see how different lineups play together. Each of our coaches put together a list, we pick our best five and compare them.
"We’re pretty much in agreement. Either Major or Udenyi could start at the point, or we could play them both together. Skouen is a returning starter, but he could come off the bench with Brooks possibly starting. We’ll see who’s playing well. Lane and Davis will be starters as long as they’re doing what they’re supposed to do."
The Waves as a whole will have to do what they're supposed to do and then some if they want to contend with some of the conference big boys like Brigham Young and Gonzaga. Wilson expects the Cougars and Bulldogs to be the teams to beat.
"Those two will be at a high level," he said. "Even if they lost quite a bit from last season, those two stand out in my mind. Then it’s Saint Mary’s, but (Matthew) Dellavedova made them go the last three or four years and they’ll miss him."
Right now, Pepperdine is working on getting better each and every day. "We’re doing individual meetings right now, talking to our guys about their goals," Wilson said. "The players will meet as a team and come up with their goals. We’ll hear what they say and combine them with what we think as a coaching staff."
Whatever the goals, expect the Waves to play an exciting brand of basketball. "We’ll be faster-paced, more athletic, more skilled, v v very disciplined, very unselfish. We want to be very tough defensively. Our plan is to score more, but we have to rebound and take care of the ball."
If Pepperdine sticks to that approach they will likely improve; something their coach believes will happen. "I definitely expect us to win more games than we did the last couple of years," Wilson said. That would certainly make waves in Firestone Fieldhouse and throughout the WCC.
photo credit: Malibu Times