#99 Pepperdine Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Pepperdine Waves
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #99
Conference Rank: #4 West Coast
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Coach Lorenzo Romar’s return to Pepperdine has so far resulted in a couple of very average seasons. Last year, the Waves finished 16-16 overall and 8-8 in the West Coast Conference. That was a decent stepping stone though for bigger and better things to come. Last season’s squad was relatively young and four starters are back and ready to take a step forward. The most important returnee is Colbey Ross. The last time we saw the 6-1 guard he was dropping 43 points on Saint Mary’s in a double overtime loss in the WCC Tournament. On the year the now senior averaged 20.5 points, 7.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds. With Ross carrying the team, Pepperdine is in a good position to compete for the #2 spot in the WCC.
2019-20 Record: 16-16, 8-8
Coach: Lorenzo Romar
Coach Record: 74-78 at Pepperdine, 423-318 overall
Key Departed Players:
Kameron Edwards, Forward, 16.2 ppg
Keith Smith, Guard/Forward, 1.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Colbey Ross, Senior, Guard, 20.5 ppg
Kessler Edwards, Junior, Forward, 13.8 ppg
Skylar Chavez, Senior, Guard, 10.0 ppg
Sedrick Altman, Sophomore, Guard, 5.5 ppg
Jade Smith, Junior, Guard, 6.4 ppg
Jan Zidek, Sophomore, Forward, 5.5 ppg
Darryl Polk Jr, Junior, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Victor Ohia Obioha, Junior, Center, 3.2 ppg
Andre Ball, Sophomore, Guard, dnp last season
Key New Players:
Kene Chukwuka, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Pitt
Majok Deng, RS Freshman, Guard
Robbie Heath, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from West Chester, not eligible
Kendall Munson, Freshman, Forward
Kameron Edwards and his 16.2 points and 7.4 rebounds will be missed, but there is another Edwards back. Kessler, the younger and taller brother of Kameron, tallied 13.8 points and a team high 7.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks as a sophomore. He is also a very good outside shooter and hit 41.7 percent of his 127 attempts from beyond the arc. The frontcourt will now revolve around the younger Edwards, but it will be different with only one of them on the floor. Players like sophomore Jan Zidek and Pitt grad transfer Kene Chukwuka will be asked to pick up the slack in the frontcourt. Relying on the talented backcourt will not be a bad alternative for the Waves though. Skylar Chavez and Sedrick Altman are returning starters and Pepperdine also welcomes back the services of Jade Smith. Smith had a breakout sophomore season in 2018-2019, averaging 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals before missing nearly all of last season with an injury. He will step right back into a starting role. Andre Ball is another player who missed last season. He did not put up big numbers, but played relatively well as a freshman in 2018-2019 and will provide some quality depth to the backcourt in 2020-2021. The biggest concern for Pepperdine will be on the glass. They were not that great in that department last season and this could be a smaller team at times.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.3 (45th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 77.1 (327, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.4 (188, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.8 (309, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (98, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.1 (82, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 79.2 (4, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.4 (249, 7)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (43, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (139, 6)