Wilson Speaks at Annual Tipoff Luncheon
All 13 Division I men's basketball coaches in Southern California gathered for the event.
MALIBU, California – The 2016-17 college basketball season is one step closer as all 13 Division I coaches across Southern California, including Pepperdine’s Marty Wilson, gathered on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Athletic Club for the annual Preseason Tipoff Luncheon.
Speaking in front of a large crowd of boosters, fans, administrators and media, Wilson spoke on a variety of topics:
-- On the Wooden Award, which is associated with the luncheon, and the Wooden family: “It’s always an honor for me, and I say this every year, to be associated with anything to do with Coach Wooden. I have a piece of Coach Wooden with me every day with John Impelman, his great-grandson, who is on our staff and who’s done a phenomenal job. It’s an honor and a privilege to be associated with the Wooden name.”
-- On Pepperdine always bringing the most people to this luncheon: “Our department takes great pride in growing the Pepperdine name each year, we’re trying to turn this into the Wooden/Pepperdine luncheon and then hopefully we’ll invite the coaches only.”
-- On changes with this year’s team: “I am excited. It’s kind of a new chapter for our basketball program. We lost two cornerstones. Stacy Davis left as our all-time leading scorer, he was a senior who graduated last year and is now playing overseas. We lost Jett Raines, a 1,000-point scorer. We’re trying to find ourselves, but we still thing we’re going to be pretty good, but it’s going to be different. There are times where we will wish we had Stacy and Jett back.”
-- On this year’s seniors: “It’s going to be different because we have some senior guard leadership. Jeremy Major, Amadi Udenyi and Lamond Murray could be starters at the 1, 2 and 3. We haven’t had a guard-dominated team driven by seniors, and that will be very valuable. Another senior, Chris Reyes, is a local young man and a graduate transfer who will play right away. He has been a tremendous addition to our program on and off the floor. He’s high energy, got a great attitude, at 6 in the morning he’s fired up, and it’s great for our young guys to see how he acts.”
-- On Kameron Edwards: “Kameron was on the All-Freshman team last year and I expect a great year from him. He has the ability to make a huge leap as a sophomore. He did an Athletes in Action trip to Italy and he came back enthusiastic and motivated and he’s been working his tail off in the gym.”
-- On Eric Cooper Jr.: “Eric teases us every day because we won’t see him this year but he’s probably our best shooter. We look forward to him next year.”
-- On the newcomers: “We’ve got a lot of young guys, seven new guys, five who are freshmen. We’re teaching them to plant and push and pivot and jump stop and not turn the ball over and all those things. They’re so talented and I’m excited for what our staff has found. Their character, the quality of student, the families involved. We’re excited that we have families that allow us to coach their sons, challenge their sons, discipline their sons and hopefully make them a better person.”
-- On the schedule: “The schedule is tough, but we welcome that. We have some challenges, and that’s by design, because we have some challenges in our conference. We’ve scheduled a variety of teams, athletic teams, quick teams, disciplined teams, pressing teams, and that will give us a hand in preparing for Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and BYU. They call them the big three, but all the league’s teams are tough to prepare for.”
Pepperdine Associate Vice Chancellor Sam Lagana, who is also an executive with the Los Angeles Athletic Club, was one of the emcees at the event.
Each year at the Tipoff Luncheon, the Wooden Award “Legends of Coaching” recipient is named, and the 2017 honoree will be Muffet McGraw, the women’s coach at Notre Dame. The announcement was made by the Waves’ Impelman.
The Waves will return three starters and four key players from last year’s squad, which went 18-14 overall, finished fourth in the West Coast Conference at 10-8 and earned a spot in the College Basketball Invitational. Senior guard/forward Lamond Murray Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif./Bishop Montgomery HS) made the All-WCC second team and led the squad at 16.6 points per game, senior point guards Jeremy Major (Pasadena, Calif./Maranatha HS) and Amadi Udenyi (Oakland, Calif./De La Salle HS/St. Thomas More) are two of the top assist men in school history and sophomore forward Kameron Edwards (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Etiwanda HS) is coming off a WCC All-Freshman season.
The team’s first public event is Blue & Orange Madness, which will be held this Friday night (Oct. 14) at 8 p.m. in Firestone Fieldhouse. Fans will be able to watch the event online via WaveCasts.