#91 Pepperdine Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Pepperdine Waves

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #91
Conference Rank: #3 West Coast

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Finishing with a 10-8 record in West Coast Conference play, Pepperdine was clearly the fourth best team in the league behind traditional powers Gonzaga, St. Mary’s and BYU. But the Waves did compete with those top teams. They beat BYU twice and the Gaels on the road. This time around Coach Marty Wilson and company will again compete with the big boys, but they do need to make sure they remain consistent and beat the teams below them consistently too. With five starters returning, led by Stacy Davis, the Waves should be able to do just that. Davis, a 6-6 senior, led the team with 15.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Davis is capable of knocking down shots and that versatility is great, but Pepperdine is at their best when working through Davis in the paint.

2014-15 Record: 18-14, 10-8
2014-15 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Marty Wilson
Coach Record: 58-77 at Pepperdine, 58-77 overall

Who’s Out:
The only significant loss is forward David Jesperson. During his sophomore season he averaged just 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. He never reached his potential during his two years with the Waves and is headed from Malibu to Green Bay. Marley Biyendolo is also transferring after seeing very limited playing time during his redshirt freshman campaign.

Who’s In:
With so few losses, incoming freshman Kameron Edwards and redshirt freshman Ryan Keenan will not be asked to do much this season. Edwards, a 6-6 forward, is capable of making a pretty big impact though. He is a tough rebounder and a pretty solid scorer at this point in his career. Whether or not he can crack the rotation remains to be seen though. Keenan is a big 6-10, 240 pound center. He is not going to score a lot, but for now Keenan can eat up a few minutes and occupy space in the paint.

Who to Watch:
Nine players are back who averaged at least ten minutes per game last season. Coach Marty Wilson has the option of going extremely deep again in 2015-2016 if he wants. The backcourt will again be overshadowed by Davis and the frontcourt, but that is where Pepperdine can make a big jump in production. Point guard Jeremy Major had a fine sophomore season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.6 assists, but he can do better when it comes to taking care of the ball. Major did start knocking down outside shots last year though and that made him much more dangerous. Amadi Udenyi started nine games last year and could step into a full-time starting spot this year after averaging 6.0 points and a team high 4.4 assists. Udenyi is a good enough shooter and big enough to play beside Major. Shawn Olden knocked down a team high 35 three-pointers as a freshman, but he only connected on 30.2 percent of his attempts. Wing Atif Russell is a shooting option off of the bench and so is A.J. Lapray if his shot can start falling, but this is a team that ranked dead last in the WCC in three-point field goals per game and three-point field-goal percentage. With Davis wandering around in the paint, there are open looks to be had and the Waves have to start knocking them down. Lamond Murray is not going to shoot much from outside, but the 6-5 wing has a decent mid-range game and provides the frontcourt with some much needed help on the glass.

Final Projection:
Jeff Raines and A.J. John will join Davis as the experienced options in the frontcourt. Raines had a breakout junior year, ranking second on the team with 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. He is more than just a big guy who distracts the opposition from Davis; he can make plays on his own and will again this season. John showed some potential as a freshman, averaging 1.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in just 10.5 minutes per game. His help on the glass is crucial, but John is a big guy who can stretch the defense with his shooting, although we did not see that at all last season. In the end, this is a team to watch in the WCC. Consistency remains the key. Pepperdine can beat anybody on any given day, but a 11-7 or 12-6 WCC record is not going to be enough to get into the NCAA Tournament at-large conversation.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jeremy Major, Junior, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Shawn Olden, Sophomore, Guard, 9.2 points per game
Atif Russell, Senior, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Stacy Davis, Senior, Forward, 15.7 points per game
Jeff Raines, Senior, Forward, 10.6 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.1 (281st in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.6 (51, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.3 (232, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (93, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (322, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.3 (290, 10)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.1 (28, 2)
Rebound Margin: -1.2 (241, 9)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (111, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (158, 8)


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