Wilson Gives Annual Speech at Tipoff Luncheon
The men's basketball head coach had some good things to say about the 2017-18 season.
LOS ANGELES, California – With just one month until the start of college basketball season, all of Southern California’s 13 Division I head coaches gathered on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Athletic Club for the annual Preseason Tipoff Luncheon.
Pepperdine Coach Marty Wilson’s brief speech included the following highlights:
On the Wooden Award, which is associated with the luncheon, and the Wooden family: “It’s an honor, and I want to echo what many of the other coaches have talked about, to be associated with the Wooden name. The connection we have with the Wooden family is John Impelman, one of our full-time assistants. He’s held every position on our staff: graduate assistant, director of operations, full-time assistant. He makes my life easier. He already knows the answer to whatever question I have.”
On this year: “I love my team. Some of you guys like your team, I love my team. We have great, great, great guys on our team. I enjoy seeing them. I told them it’s important to come by the office. We talk about building relationships and I love to see our guys daily. It gets me energized with what we have and what we’re building.”
On Pepperdine supporters in attendance: “I want to thank our Pepperdine group, we take pride and I like to brag about always having the most people here. So thank you to our supporters for always coming to this luncheon every year.”
On returning injured players: “We have some guys who did not play this past year, two people in particular. We lost Amadi Udenyi, who has been injured four of the last five years. One of them was in prep school, and then four years at Pepperdine. He blew out his Achilles for the second time at Pepperdine last year. He’s a tough competitor, a great on-ball defender, a guy that hates to lose. He makes our team go. Losing him, we lost part of our identity. And we lost Kameron Edwards last year. He’s very athletic, very tough, a great defender. He took more charges in his one year than most guys in a career. Those two guys alone with raise the level of our season, and it’s already raising the level of our practices.”
On the new veterans: “We have some veterans, we have some older guys. So now when we compete against Gonzaga, BYU and Saint Mary’s, we have some older guys that have some experience, even if they haven’t played at Pepperdine. We have a transfer from Washington, Matthew Atewe, and we’re very excited about what he brings to the program. Harrison Meads is from junior college but also from New Zealand and he might be one of the most athletic running-jumping-dunking guys I’ve ever met. He’s going to give fans some highlights. Darnell Dunn, from North Carolina and Miami Dade College, is very tough, very skilled, a very good scorer. He can play the 3 and the 4 and guard multiple positions. These veterans will bring a lot to our program.”
On the freshmen: “I’m equally excited about our three freshmen. They’ve raised the level of our returners, because they’re talented, they’re sharp, they’re competitive. They do all the things you want. You correct them one time and you don’t have to do it again, and that makes your life easier as a basketball coach. Jade’ Smith from Oakland, Colbey Ross from Colorado and Trae Berhow from Minnesota. Those three guys will have great careers. And they will challenge our veterans right away for playing time.”
On this year/last year: “I’m excited about the season. Our schedule is tough. We play a lot of you here. We play some good teams on the road, like Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. I don’t have any hair left but I’m getting grey hair in my eyelashes. I’m excited to go to the court and fight daily. Last year there were a number of times I wanted to put in a sub and I looked down the bench, but I didn’t have anybody to put in because no one was left. We finished our season starting two walk-ons in the conference tournament. That’s how challenging it was for us.”
On Pepperdine: “I’m excited to be at Pepperdine. It’s odd to hear that I’ve been here 21 years as a student, an assistant coach, the associate head coach and the head coach. Pepperdine is a special place. I’m honored to be there. I met my wife there, my daughter graduated from Pepperdine two years ago, my son is a senior and will graduate from Pepperdine. There’s a motto that “I am a Wave and Pepperdine changed my life.” Pepperdine has changed my life and hopefully will for our guys too.”
The first event of 2017-18 is Blue & Orange Madness, the annual introduction of Pepperdine’s basketball teams in Firestone Fieldhouse, this Friday (Oct. 13) at 8 p.m. It will be shown online via WaveCasts. Pepperdine’s first game of the season is November 10 at Oklahoma State.