Men's Basketball End-of-Season Notes

Jordan Baker

April 6, 2012

Pepperdine Men's Basketball Final Notes Get Acrobat Reader

MALIBU, Calif. -- A greatly improved defense, strong rebounding, better team unity and a never-quit attitude stood out during Marty Wilson's first season as head coach of the Pepperdine men's basketball. There's still work to be done for the Waves, who finished 10-19 overall and placed seventh in the West Coast Conference with a 4-12 mark. A little more luck would be helpful, as four players who all were anticipated to be key contributors each suffered season-ending injuries. Still, progress was made as the program tries to continue its upward trend since being completely rebuilt four seasons ago. The senior class that first came in at Tom Asbury's return is now graduating. The 2012-13 season will be the 75th season of Pepperdine men's basketball.

NEXT YEAR'S ROSTER -- The Waves will say goodbye to five seniors: scholarship players Taylor Darby, Corbin Moore and Dane Suttle Jr. and walk-ons Richard Branning and Don Martin. Additionally, head coach Marty Wilson announced after the season that sophomore Hector Harold and freshman Ramon Eaton would not be returning. The Waves should return six of 13 letterwinners, while three more players redshirted.

RETURNING NUMBERS -- Though Lorne Jackson's productivity from previous years isn't factored in, the Waves will return 51% of this year's points (873/1,719), 40% of the rebounds (379/943), 79% of the assists (284/358), 27% of the blocked shots (23/85), 73% of the steals (98/135) and 56% of the minutes played (3,242/5,825).

ALL-CONFERENCE -- Corbin Moore capped off his season as one of the league's most improved players by being named to the All-WCC honorable mention team, as voted on by the coaches. Moore was also named to the all-conference second team by the blog College Sports Madness.

ACADEMICS -- Taylor Darby was named a CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District first team selection in early February. Then, both he and Corbin Moore became three-time WCC All-Academic first team selections (the fourth and fifth three-time honorees in Pepperdine history). Darby was later named to the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete team.

SCHEDULE -- Pepperdine ended up playing 12 games against seven teams that advanced to the postseason. Saint Mary's, Gonzaga and BYU went to the NCAA Tournament, San Francisco and Washington State were in the CBI and Loyola Marymount and CSU Bakersfield were in the CIT. The Waves went 1-11 in these games (beating San Francisco at home).

DEFENSE -- Marty Wilson preached defense to his squad, and it paid off in his first season. The Waves allowed 65.9 points per game, which was the program's seventh-best mark in the last 50 years. They allowed 74.0 points per game the previous season, an improvement of more than eight points per game. For an entire season, Pepperdine hadn't held opponents below 70 points since 2000-01. The Waves finished in the top half of the WCC in scoring defense (third), field goal percentage defense (.428, fourth) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.343, fourth). In one three-game stretch, Pepperdine held two Big Sky opponents to 40 points or less (Northern Arizona 40, Montana State 36). The last time Pepperdine held two teams to 40 points or fewer over the course of an entire season was 1951-52.

REBOUNDING -- The Waves showed substantial improvement in the area of rebounding for the second straight season. The Waves' rebound margin of +2.1 in 2010-11 was the team's best since 1993-94, and this season Pepperdine raised that figure to +3.1. The Waves' 36.4 rebounds per game were their most since 2004-05 and the 33.2 rebounds allowed were the fewest given up since 1998-99.

INJURIES -- Injuries played a big part during the Waves' season, as four players were basically lost for the season. Lorne Jackson redshirted the season after having surgery last summer to repair a torn ACL. An All-WCC honorable mention selection last season, Jackson would have been the team's top returning scorer at 13.2 ppg. Dane Suttle Jr. reinjured an ankle in the second game of the season at Arizona State on Nov. 15 and missed the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with a stress fracture that required surgery. Moriba De Freitas didn't practice the first month and a half due to a knee strain and it was decided that he would redshirt. Jan Maehlen fractured his right hand and missed a month before beginning his season on Nov. 28 at UCLA. He played in three games, but then suffered a groin injury in mid-December that kept him out of action the rest of the season. He will seek a medical redshirt.

PLAYER NOTABLES -- Taylor Darby led the team with 12.3 points per game. Unfortunately, his season ended just three points shy of him becoming Pepperdine's 37th 1,000-point scorer ... Darby scored 20+ points twice and led the team in scoring 20 times, both more than any other teammate ... Darby finished among the WCC's top 10 rebounders for the third time in his career ... Corbin Moore more than doubled his career scoring and rebounding averages this season. He was at 3.6 points and 3.9 rebounds after three seasons but posted 10.4 points and 8.6 rebounds this season ... Moore pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds at Saint Mary's (Jan. 19), the most boards by any Wave since 2008 ... Moore's eight double-doubles were most by a Pepperdine player in a season in the last 11 years ... In the first 100 games of his career, Moore never attempted a single three-point shot. In game #101, his first attempt came with 10.1 seconds left at UTSA (Nov. 26) and he made it, sending the game to overtime. He made 26 more three-pointers since then (finishing second on the team with 27 makes) ... Moore (29) and Darby (23) both set personal bests for blocked shots midway through the season ... Jordan Baker scored in double-figures in 10 of 16 WCC games after doing it just once in the first 11 non-conference games ... Baker scored 26 points at San Francisco on Jan. 14, the most by any Wave this season ... Caleb Willis (107) was the first Wave to record 100+ assists in a season since 2007, and had the most by any player since 2005.

PARTICIPATION MARKS -- Taylor Darby and Corbin Moore both played in all 125 games in their Pepperdine careers, a number that ranks them second all-time at Pepperdine (Mychel Thompson set the record last year with 128) ... Darby made his 100th career start at Saint Mary's on Jan. 19. Since the games started stat was first kept in 1972-73, he became the eighth Wave to reach that milestone. He ended up making 111 starts, which ranks seventh.

WCC STATS (OVERALL) -- Individually, Taylor Darby was #12 in scoring (12.3) and #10 in rebounding (6.0) ... Corbin Moore was #19 in scoring (10.4), #2 in rebounding (8.6) and #6 in blocked shots (1.0) ... Caleb Willis was #4 in assist/turnover ratio (1.9) and #6 in assists (3.7) ... Joshua Lowery was #6 in minutes played (31.8), #9 (tied) in free throw percentage (.767) and #10 in assists (3.0) ... As a team, Pepperdine was #1 in offensive rebounds (12.1).

WCC STATS (CONFERENCE ONLY) -- Individually, Taylor Darby was #16 in scoring (11.8) ... Jordan Baker was #19 (tied) in scoring (11.3), #7 in minutes played (32.0), #9 (tied) in steals (1.4) and #10 in assists (3.0) ... Corbin Moore was #3 in rebounding (8.6) ... Caleb Willis was #6 in assist/turnover ratio (1.7) and #7 in assists (3.3).

SCORING -- It was expected that points would be harder to come by this season, and that's exactly what happened. The team's overall scoring dropped from 69.4 points to 59.3 points. But two of the top 20 scorers in Pepperdine history departed after last season (Mychel Thompson, who saw time in the NBA this season, was a senior and Keion Bell was suspended and later transferred to Missouri), and another one that's on pace to reach the top 20 (Lorne Jackson) had to redshirt due to a knee injury. They were the top three scorers on the team last season and each of them averaged double-figures. With the non-returners and both Jackson and Dane Suttle Jr. sidelined, available players only scored a little more than a quarter (28.7%) of the 2010-11 team's points, making Taylor Darby (7.7 ppg as a junior) the top returning scorer on this year's team.

SECOND HALVES -- One thing that was clear over the season's final two months is that even after falling behind, Pepperdine wouldn't give up. In the last two games of the regular season (vs. Portland and at Santa Clara), the Waves trailed by one point at halftime and won the game in the second half. Nine of the last 10 times an opponent took a double-digit lead, the Waves fought back in the second half to get the score back into single digits (once taking the lead). In 10 of the final 12 losses, Pepperdine had been right in the game in the latter part of each contest, facing deficits of seven, three, two, six, four, eight, two, two, seven and six over the game's final 10 minutes.

SEASON NOTABLES -- Several milestones were made in Marty Wilson's first year: Pepperdine won its first two games of the season for the first time since 1999-2000 ... Only four head coaches have begun their full-time careers with 2-0 starts at Pepperdine: Wade Ruby (the program's first season in 1938-39), Robert Dowell (1948-49), Jan van Breda Kolff (1999-00) and now Wilson ... The last time Pepperdine recorded two true road wins among the season's first five games was 2002-03 ... That was also the last time the Waves won three of their first five road games ... Pepperdine ended up with its most true road wins in a season (four) since 2007-08 ... Pepperdine's win at Arizona State was its first against one of the old Pac-10 teams since the Waves beat both UCLA and USC in the 2001-02 season. Pepperdine had lost 11 straight games against former Pac-10 teams ... The Waves had a winning record at the start of WCC play for the first time since 2004-05 ... Pepperdine's winning margin of +23 vs. Montana State was its biggest since 1/26/2008 and an 87-64 (+23) home win against Loyola Marymount ... The Waves won their league opener for the fourth straight year ... Pepperdine was above .500 in December and January for the first time since 2004-05 ... The Waves have beaten Portland in consecutive home games for the first time since 2004 and 2005 ... Pepperdine swept the regular-season series from Santa Clara for the first time since 2002.

VICTORY INDICATORS -- The Waves were more likely to post a win when the final margin was between six and nine points (6-2) ... keeping the opponent to 62 points or less (7-3) ... holding the opponent to less than 40% shooting from the field (8-1) ... outshooting the opponent (8-0) ... making fewer, or equal, turnovers as the opponent (5-2) ... having four or more players score in double-figures (5-1) ... shooting better than 70% at the free throw line (7-4).

ROTATION -- For the most part, Pepperdine's primary nine-man rotation consisted of two seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen (five returners and four newcomers).

SENIORS -- When Tom Asbury was hired in February 2008 and he had to rebuild practically the entire roster, he landed six freshmen during the late signing period. That class went on to lead the Waves in scoring as freshmen, sophomores and juniors, and now seniors. But because of injuries and transfers, only Taylor Darby and Corbin Moore and a pair of walk-ons were on the floor this season. As the top two scorers on the team at 12.2 and 10.2 ppg, respectively, Darby and Moore helped the senior class to score 39.9% of the team's points this season.

ROSTER -- Four starters and 10 letterwinners came back from the 2010-11 season, and they were joined by six newcomers (three freshmen, two transfers and a walk-on). It was the third straight year that Pepperdine has had returners numbering in double-digits. The breakdown was six seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen.

WILSON -- After 21 seasons as an assistant coach, including nine at Pepperdine, Marty Wilson was elevated to the position of head coach of the Waves following the 2010-11 season. He has compiled an impressive record in Malibu as a student-athlete (1985-89), an assistant coach (1991-96, which included a brief stint as the interim head coach) and as the associate head coach the past three seasons (2009-11). He was also an assistant at San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and Utah inbetween stints at Pepperdine. Wilson ended his playing career #5 all-time in assists at Pepperdine with 342 (he's still #9). The team went to the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT twice in his four seasons on the court. As a Pepperdine assistant, the team went to the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT once. Follow Coach Wilson on Twitter at @MartyWilson4.

ASSISTANTS -- Marty Wilson brought on two new coaches this season. Associate head coach Mark Amaral and Wilson were assistants together at UC Santa Barbara. Amaral was most recently the associate head coach at Cal Poly for two seasons. Assistant coach Bryant Moore worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five seasons in a variety of roles, including player development coordinator. Last year, he was a basketball operations assistant at Sacramento State. Damin Lopez, a former Pepperdine standout who still ranks among the school's top three-point shooters ever, was in his fourth season as an assistant coach, but left the program after being named head coach at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral High School on Dec. 7. Director of operations John Impelman will fill the role of assistant coach for the remainder of the season.

NON-CONFERENCE -- The Waves went 3-2 against five non-conference opponents that reached the 2011 postseason. UCLA made the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season, while Texas-San Antonio won a first-round NCAA contest. Washington State advanced to the semifinals of the NIT. Hawai'i and Northern Arizona both played in the Tournament last season.

RECRUITS -- Pepperdine landed two promising high school seniors during the early signing period. The Waves signed a player from Arizona for the fourth straight season in 6-foot-6 forward Stacy Davis of Laveen Betty Fairfax High. Davis averaged 22.9 points and 9.7 rebounds last season at Tolleson High and is a two-time Arizona Republic all-state 5A honorable mention selection. Pepperdine went to Texas to sign 6-foot-5 shooting guard Atif Russell of Katy Seven Lakes High. He made the All-District 19-5A first team as a junior and averaged 15.1 points.

HALL OF HONOR -- Pepperdine and the WCC inducted former Wave great Dana Jones into the conference's Hall of Honor at the WCC Basketball Championships in early March. Jones was the 1993 WCC Player of the Year and was a 2010 inductee into Pepperdine's Athletic Hall of Fame. One of just a few Waves to play in four postseasons, he is the school's all-time leader in rebounds (1,031) and is #2 in scoring (1,677). Previous Pepperdine inductees were Doug Christie, Gail Hopkins and Wayne Wright.

PEPPERDINE BASKETBALL -- This was the 74th season of Pepperdine men's basketball, and the Waves now have an all-time record of 1,140-974 (.539). Pepperdine has been to the NCAA Tournament 13 times (last in 2002) and has won 12 West Coast Conference regular-season titles (last in 2002) and three WCC Tournament crowns (last in 1994). Did you know that William "Bird" Averitt led the nation in scoring in 1972-73 with 33.9 points per game?

WAVES IN THE PROS -- Mychel Thompson began a new streak of Pepperdine players in an NBA uniform, as he made the Cleveland Cavaliers' opening-day roster as an undrafted free agent. He played in five games (making three starts) and averaged 3.6 points before being waived on Feb. 6. Sadly, a streak of 34 consecutive seasons with at least one Pepperdine alum on an NBA roster ended in 2010-11. The streak began in 1976-77 after the ABA/NBA merger. Thompson was the 17th former Pepperdine player to have played in the NBA, a list that includes notables such as Dennis Johnson (a 2010 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee, the 1979 NBA Finals MVP and a three-time NBA champion) and Doug Christie (a 15-year NBA veteran who was a mainstay on the All-Defensive Team). Prior to Thompson, the most recent NBAers were Yakhouba Diawara and Alex Acker, who went back to Europe last season.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY -- Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men's sports -- one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat -- and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest enrollment and is the only school not associated with a BCS conference. Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation's most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #55 overall on U.S. News and World Report's list of America's best colleges. The 2011-12 school year marks Pepperdine's 75th anniversary.



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