Kessler will join older brother Kameron on the Waves' roster next season.
Listen to this week's Pepp Talk podcast with head coach Marty Wilson.
The men's basketball head coach had some good things to say about the 2017-18 season.
Seven home games will be played in Firestone Fieldhouse in November and December.
Trae Berhow, Colbey Ross and Jade' Smith will be Waves in 2017-18.
Martin A. Folb's photos of the Waves-Dons game in Firestone Fieldhouse.
Martin A. Folb's photos of the Waves vs. the #19 Bulldogs in Firestone Fieldhouse.
Photos of the Waves-49ers game by Martin A. Folb and Catt Ott.
Photos of the Waves-Thunderbirds game by Catt Ott and Martin A. Folb.
Martin A. Folb's photos of the Waves-Golden Eagles game in Firestone Fieldhouse.
Now in his seventh season as the head coach of the Pepperdine men's basketball team in 2017-18, Marty Wilson has enjoyed two decades of success with the program as a player and coach.
Wilson has compiled an impressive record in Malibu, beginning as a student-athlete (1985-89), continuing as an assistant coach (1991-96, which included a brief stint as the interim head coach) and then returning as the associate head coach for three seasons (2009-11) before taking the reins of the program before the 2011-12 season. This is his 21st season at Pepperdine in any capacity.
The Waves have gone 82-103 in his first six seasons but before last season's injury-plagued campaign, the squad had shown a massive amount of improvement. The team's win total improved from 10 to 12 to 15 to 18 over the first four years, and remained at 18 in 2015-16.
The 15 wins in 2013-14 were the program's most since 2004-05. That was followed by 18 wins in 2014-15 that were the most since 2001-02 (as well as the first winning season since 2004-05). The Waves followed that up with their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2001-02 and 2002-03.
After being picked to finish 10th in the WCC preseason coaches' poll in 2013-14, the Waves came in fifth place, the first time they had reached the upper half of the standings since 2003-04. After being picked to finish in a tie for seventh in 2014-15, the Waves made another move up the win-loss column and wound up in fourth place (with their first winning league record since 2003-04). Pepperdine finished in fourth place again in 2015-16.
Also in 2014-15, the Waves made their first postseason appearance since 2002 when they were selected to play in the College Basketball Invitational. The Waves played in the CBI again in 2015-16, their first back-to-back postseason berths since 2001 and 2002.
Wilson's commitment to defense has paid dividends. In his first season, 2011-12, the Waves allowed just 65.9 points per game, the program's seventh-best mark in the previous 50 years, an improvement of more than eight points per game than the year before, and the first time the Waves had held opponents below 70 points since 2000-01. The 2014-15 squad allowed only 61.6 points, the program's best scoring defense since 1961-62. The 2014-15 team ended the year ranked #2 in the nation in three-point field-goal percentage defense (a school-record 27.0%).
On offense, the 2013-14 squad increased its scoring average to 71.2 points per game, more than eight points a game better than the previous season and the first time that the Waves had averaged 70-plus since 2007-08. The 2015-16 squad improved to 73.4 points per game.
Under Wilson's leadership, the Waves have earned WCC awards for Defensive Player of the Year (Brendan Lane in 2014) and Newcomer of the Year (Stacy Davis in 2013). Thirteen players have received All-WCC notice (including Davis on the first team three times, and Lamond Murray Jr., who led the WCC in scoring in 2016-17). Four have received WCC All-Freshman acclaim.
Pepperdine has also excelled in the classroom under Wilson. Malte Kramer became the program's first-ever Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2014 and was a Pepperdine co-Valedictorian, while players have received WCC All-Academic honors five times and WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll appearances 21 times.
Excluding interim coaches, Wilson is the 12th men's basketball head coach in Pepperdine history. Including his time as interim coach, Wilson's overall record is 85-113 in seven seasons at Pepperdine.
"I am honored and privileged to be standing here and be named the new head basketball coach at Pepperdine University. I am very thankful to be in this position," said Wilson at his introductory press conference on March 11, 2011. "I want to talk about my vision of building our basketball program back up. It's important for me to build on the foundation that Coach (Tom) Asbury laid when he came back. I know what worked here before, because I lived it. I sat in all the meetings, I was one of those assistants, so I understand the commitment, I understand the desire, I understand the process that we will have to take. And that's a mindset. Our staff is going to focus on the process. We're not just going to focus on trying to win games. We're in the process of building a basketball program. That's very important. We're going to do it the right way."
During his first six seasons on the Waves' staff, which followed his graduation in 1989, Wilson helped Pepperdine to a 106-72 (.596) record. He began as the restricted-earnings coach before being elevated to full-time status for the 1994-95 season.
With Wilson on the bench, Pepperdine earned bids to the NCAA Tournament in 1991, 1992 and 1994 and made the NIT in 1993. The Waves also won West Coast Conference regular-season titles in 1991, 1992 and 1993 and WCC Tournament titles in 1991, 1992 and 1994.
Following Tom Asbury's departure for Kansas State after the 1993-94 season, Wilson remained on the staff under new head coach Tony Fuller. When Fuller resigned midway through the 1995-96 season, Wilson took over on an interim basis at the age of 28 and directed the Waves to a 3-10 record down the stretch. Most notably, that included an upset of a Steve Nash-led Santa Clara team in the first round of the WCC Tournament.
Wilson left Malibu but stayed in Southern California for the next several years, first spending two seasons (1996-97 and 1997-98) as an assistant coach at San Diego, where he was also the recruiting coordinator under head coach Brad Holland.
He spent the next six seasons (1999-2004) at UC Santa Barbara, and was the top assistant for Bob Williams as the Gauchos averaged 18 wins a season during his last three years there. UCSB won the Big West Conference's West Division in 1999, captured the Big West Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and won the Big West regular-season title and made an appearance in the NIT in 2003.
Prior to his return to Pepperdine, Wilson was an assistant for four seasons (2005-08) at Utah under head coaches Ray Giacoletti and Jim Boylen. During his first season, the Utes went 29-6, won the Mountain West Conference's regular-season title, advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen and finished the year ranked 18th nationally by the Associated Press.
He was hired back at Pepperdine in February 2008 as the associate head coach with the intention that he would eventually move into the head coaching position once Asbury retired. He spent 21 seasons as an assistant coach, including nine at Pepperdine, before becoming head coach.
As a player with the Waves, Wilson ended his career in fifth place on the all-time assists list with 342 (he still ranks 10th). Under head coach Jim Harrick, Wilson was a backup point guard in 1984-85 and 1985-86, and the Waves advanced to the NCAA Tournament both seasons. A back injury sidelined Wilson for the entire 1986-87 campaign, but he took over as the starting point guard in 1987-88. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 17th game of the season, though the Waves still advanced to the NIT.
Asbury took over as head coach in 1988-89, and Wilson's extensive rehabilitation paid off as he returned to the starting lineup as a senior and led the Waves to a 20-13 record and the second round of the NIT. The Waves posted a record of 97-58 (.626) during his five seasons as a student-athlete.
Wilson graduated from Pepperdine in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in communications. In the year between his graduation and his return to Pepperdine as an assistant coach, Wilson tried out for the Continental Basketball Association and was an assistant coach at Simi Valley High School.
A native of Pacoima, Calif., Wilson was a prep standout at Simi Valley High School. He was named the Marmonte League's Most Valuable Player as a 1983-84 senior.
Wilson once ran a free basketball camp in his hometown for around 100 under-privileged kids each summer.
His actual first name is Lamar (Marty was a childhood nickname given to him by a sister). He and his wife, Mayra (a 1988 Pepperdine graduate), have a daughter, Jessica (a 2015 Pepperdine graduate), and a son, Jalon (who played at Ventura College and is now a senior at Pepperdine and serves as a student manager).