Friday, October 23, 2009


Ken Crawford
Staff Writer

The Bears return home this Saturday to face the Washington State Cougars, a team that has fallen on hard times. Cal has beaten Wazzu in each of their last 4 meetings, including a win amidst the collapse of 2007. Overall, Tedford's Bears are 4-1 against WSU, having had two off years in 2003 and 2004 before the Pac-10 expanded to a full round robin in 2006.
Last year was a particularly bad year for the Cougars losing 8 of their 9 conference games including 6 where they gave up 58 or more points, a Pac-10 record. Their 453 points allowed in conference play during the season crushed the previous record holder, the 2001 Cal Bears who gave up 330 points that season.
Nevertheless, WSU seems to be somewhat improved in 2009, despite their 1-5 record. They've held all but one of their opponents under 40 points thus far and have played competitive games against Hawaii and Arizona State in addition to beating SMU.

Chris Nguon
Senior Writer
The Cal football team returned to Memorial Stadium Sunday evening for a brisk workout under the cloudy, cool East Bay weather. It was certainly a big contrast to Saturday, where the Bears fought their way through 100-degree weather to earn a much-needed victory that broke a two-game losing streak. The 45-26 win over the Bruins was both important and symbolic for the program, especially for head coach Jeff Tedford, who was doused with Gatorade as the game ended.
As written about from many sources leading up to the contest against UCLA, Cal as a program had struggled to earn a "W" in Los Angeles against the Bruins and the cross-town Trojans since Tedford has been in Berkeley.

Tedford won't have to field questions about winning in L.A. anymore. While past events don't necessarily dictate what goes on in the present, there's no doubt the victory Saturday afternoon gave the Bears something to smile about.
"It's nice for the program and it's nice for this team," Tedford said when asked again on Sunday. "It's a question we have to answer every year. It's not something I think about but it's nice that it is behind us."

October 18, 2009
A weight has been lifted
Ken Crawford
Staff Writer

The Bears 45-26 win over the Bruins on Saturday afternoon was significant in more ways that perhaps anyone could appreciate. Whether it was the losing streak in Los Angeles that dates back to 2000 or the losing streak in the Rose Bowl that dates back to 1999, or '93 counting the forced forfeit in '99 due to ineligible player issues, or the Pac-10 road losing streak that dates back to September '08 or all the way back to September '07 if you discount Wazzu, or the two-game losing streak outright or the 125 minutes of game time without scoring a touchdown or the 229 minutes of game time without scoring a passing touchdown, there were plenty of disturbing trends that were up ended today.
"It's for the program," head coach Jeff Tedford pointed out when assessing the magnitude of the win. "It's for the people before us. It's for this year's team. It's a great feat for this year's team."
You could see it visibly in how the players approached their post-game interviews. There were smiles and jokes and a general sense that things were now right with the world after a very tough stretch.

Men's Basketball 2009-10 Season Outlook
Click on the above video player for an interview with the Waves' Keion Bell.
Oct. 15, 2009

MALIBU, Calif. -- When discussing the players on his 2009-10 Pepperdine men's basketball team, there is one common thread in head coach Tom Asbury's comments. Each of them had a greatly productive offseason in the weight room, which has turned a young, less-than-imposing team of a year ago into one that will be much more physically able to compete at the Division I level.
When Asbury returned as head coach in February 2008, he and his staff had to scramble to put together a roster. They were able to bring in a large late-signing recruiting class that had talent, but was still very raw. The freshmen-laden team took its lumps last season against bigger and stronger teams, but that is on the way toward changing, Asbury says.
"Each and every one of them has gotten bigger and stronger and noticeably so," said Asbury, who is 134-82 in seven seasons as Pepperdine's head coach and 219-170 in 13 seasons overall. "We took before and after pictures, and when you look at the contrast, it's amazing. I think they should take a great deal of pride in their efforts. We told them last February, turn on the television and look at the bodies and the size of the guys that are playing through March and into April. If you want to be really good, that's what you need to look like. And they've worked toward that."
Asbury led one of the best stretches in Pepperdine's history in the early '90s, and was brought back to help restore some of the luster and continuity that the program had lacked in previous years. His young Waves overcame some early-season struggles and painful learning opportunities to win a first-round game at the West Coast Conference Tournament, finish sixth in the WCC with a 5-9 mark and post a 9-23 overall record.
"The two things that hurt us the most last year were our physical size and stature, and turning the ball over," Asbury said. "With everyone being so new, they were unfamiliar with the system and that led to turnovers. Physically, we didn't match up with our opponents, but we're going to be far superior to where we were last year strength and conditioning-wise, and I hope we're going to be a smarter basketball team in terms of turning the ball over. We've got smart guys, they were just young. We got better at it as we went along and started to win some games."
So smart, in fact, that Asbury's commitment to having a team that is successful in both the classroom and on the court has already paid dividends. The team has a cumulative grade-point average of nearly 3.0, up almost a half of a grade point in the last year.
The 2009-10 Waves may have already set a school record as 12 letterwinners return from last season, a figure that is believed to be the most in program history. The top five point scorers from last season all return, and four of them were freshmen and the other was a sophomore. Freshmen scored more than half of the team's total points last year.
Still, only two players have been in a Waves uniform for more than one season, and just one of them is on scholarship. Throw in the fact that there are no seniors on the 2009-10 squad and it's still not quite a veteran team.
"Although we have a lot of returners, we have to be careful not to put too lofty expectations on the team because we're still going to be extremely young," Asbury said. "The bulk of this team is going to be freshmen and sophomores, numerically. We can't just assume that because we've got a lot of experience back, we're going to be world-beaters. We're going to be better, we're going to be more consistent and we're going to be stronger physically, but our preseason schedule is going to be challenging and maybe even a little over our heads. But that was done by design."
Some of those non-conference challenges include three games against NCAA Tournament teams of a year ago, including a visit a few miles up the road to UCLA and home games against Utah and Portland State. The Waves host two other postseason teams in Miami (Fla.) and Pacific, and also play in a tournament at Wyoming.
The goal, of course, is to have the Waves battle-tested and ready for WCC play. Pepperdine recorded at least one win against four of the other conference schools last season, but struggled against the top three teams of Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and Portland.
"I think we will be able to play with anybody in the league and you couldn't say that last year," said Asbury, who is again assisted by Marty Wilson, Damin Lopez and Will Kimble. "Maybe we won't be competitive with Gonzaga just yet, but the gap will be closing. We showed last year we could play with everybody except for the top three teams. Now it's a matter of getting into that upper echelon. That's the direction we're going, and whether or not we get there this year will remain to be seen. But I feel like by next year we should be in that upper crust of teams."
With a sizeable number of returning players, plus a few talented freshmen thrown into the mix, one of Asbury's greatest challenges is determining how minutes on the court will be sorted out.
"Early on, we want to play a lot of guys, not just to evaluate them but because they deserve to play," he said. "I've never had a team where every scholarship player was someone I wouldn't be reluctant to throw into a game. We've got at least 13 guys who will play and have the opportunity to produce. But by the time league play starts, those numbers have got to come down because you can't play that many effectively. Somebody has to fall by the wayside, but right now I couldn't tell you who that will be. We will need some players to step up and win those jobs and play consistently."
While any of the positions may be up for grabs, the Waves know they can start with an outstanding tandem in junior Mychel Thompson, who plays on the wing, and sophomore shooting guard Keion Bell.
Thompson (Portland, Ore./Santa Margarita Catholic HS/Stoneridge Prep) is the only scholarship player that has been on the roster for two previous seasons. A 6-foot-7, two-year starter who has been voted team captain in 2009-10, he averaged 8.1 points as a freshman and was up to 9.6 points as a sophomore, second-best on the team. He has made 91 career three-pointers and is likely to break into Pepperdine's top 10 this season.
"Mychel might have made as much progress as anyone during the offseason," Asbury said. "The fact that he was voted captain by a landslide shows the respect that the players have for him as a leader. Even though he's a quiet leader, he leads by example. He's versatile. He can step out and shoot it, he can put the ball on the floor, he can defend, he's a very complete player. I expect great things from him."
Bell (Los Angeles, Calif./Pasadena HS) was a revelation as a freshman, showing skills that will make him one of the conference's most dynamic players for the next three seasons, and dunking ability that may make him a YouTube legend. The 6-foot-3 guard was named to the WCC All-Freshman team after averaging team highs of 12.9 points, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals. His showing at the Say No Classic summer league prompted one local sportswriter to call him arguably the best college player in all of Southern California.
"I think Keion will be one of the top players in the conference," Asbury said. "He's improved his body, gotten bigger and stronger, and has a better understanding of the game and what we want to do. He's a pretty complete player. Once he makes a consistent jump shot and commits fewer turnovers, he may be the best player in the league at some point in time."
Sophomore Dane Suttle Jr. (Los Angeles, Calif./Westchester HS/Summit College Prep) is another offensive-minded player that is expected to make progress after his initial year. The 6-foot-6 wing averaged 6.3 points in just 15.5 minutes per game.
"Dane has improved and streamlined his body," Asbury said. "He came in with some injuries and has done a good job of rehabbing and retooling his body. He has always been able to shoot and put the ball in the basket. Now he just has to defend and rebound better. I'm expecting a good year and some big strides from Dane."
The Waves have many options at the two post positions, where the team's offseason commitment to strength training will have its largest impact. Sophomores Taylor Darby and Corbin Moore were the starters last season at power forward and center, respectively. Juniors Denis Agre, Gus Clardy and Jonathan Dupre', sophomore Andy Shannon and freshman Tanner Kerry are all vying for playing time at the positions.
Darby (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills HS) started 31 of 32 games last season, more than anyone else on the team, and averaged 6.1 points and a team-best 6.1 rebounds. The 6-foot-8 forward ranked ninth in the WCC in rebounds and was second among freshmen.
"Taylor was really a big surprise for in the sense that he ended up playing as much as he did," Asbury said. "He's an extremely hard worker, worked really hard in the offseason and improved his body a lot. He's a good rebounder, shot blocker and defender. He needs to continue to work on his offensive skills. He sometimes gets so sped up that it hurts his effectiveness."
Moore (Cypress, Calif./Los Alamitos HS), at 6-foot-10, started more games at center (21) than anyone else last season. He averaged 3.1 points and 4.6 rebounds and hit 50.6% of his shots.
"Corbin completely retooled his body," Asbury said. "He made himself into much more of a physical specimen and he's going to be far improved. We had to throw him to the wolves last year. He wasn't really ready for this level of competition, but he did a good job. He got beaten up a bit, but he never got down on himself and all that is going to help him."
Agre (Sofia, Bulgaria/Central Arizona JC) got off to a nice start last year but became academically ineligible for the spring semester. The 6-foot-8 center averaged 3.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in the first 16 games.
"The things that Denis brings to the table are rebounding and toughness," Asbury said. "He's a physical presence inside: a screen-setter, a rebounder and a post defender."
Clardy (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches HS), despite his walk-on status, played a bigger role on Pepperdine's frontline as the season went on. The 6-foot-8 forward even started four games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.3 minutes. Besides Thompson, he is the only other player to have been on the team for two previous seasons.
"Gus began his season by not playing at all, but then he ended up contributing and starting a few games," Asbury said. "He improved a lot and really learned how to play - defending, taking care of the ball and making good shots. He turned himself into a reliable player for us."
Dupre' (Houston, Texas/Marshall HS/Collin County HS) was a key reserve on last year's team, as the 6-foot-8 forward showed a nice jump shot and averaged 4.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 15.7 minutes.
"JD worked really hard in the offseason," Asbury said. "He's a guy who can really score from the perimeter. He was a little up and down in his first year here but it was his first year at this level. As long as he continues to improve his physical toughness, he will contribute."
The 7-foot Shannon (Carmichael, Calif./El Camino HS) was one of the league's top shot blockers despite very limited playing time as a freshman. He came off the bench in 23 games and averaged 1.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.7 blocks (10th in the conference) in 8.5 minutes.
"Andy was a redshirt candidate when he first got here, but we didn't have enough guys to allow him to redshirt," Asbury said. "He ended up working himself into some playing time. He's put on 40 pounds and bought into what we wanted him to do. He will compete for a starting spot in the post."
Kerry (Sydney, Australia/Cranbrook School) is the lone newcomer among the big men but has a great deal of upside after an excellent school and club career in his native Australia. The 6-foot-9 post player has excellent genes, as his father was an Olympic gold medalist in swimming.
"Tanner is a versatile post player who can step out and shoot the ball a little bit," Asbury said. "He's physically tough, can run the floor and make the open shot. He'll probably make his share of freshman mistakes but we think he will be a really nice player for us."
The battle to earn minutes at point guard will be an interesting subplot in the early season, where sophomore Lorne Jackson is joined by freshmen Joshua Lowery and Caleb Willis. Each of the three is versatile enough to slide over to shooting guard if needed.
Jackson (Simi Valley, Calif./Simi Valley HS) was the team's third-leading scorer last season as a freshman at 6.6 points per game. He earned 14 starts at point guard. However, the 6-foot-2 Jackson is coming off a knee injury and has only recently been cleared to play.
"Lorne has the opportunity to be the point guard this year," Asbury said. "He had the opportunity last year, but there were some seniors ahead of him. He hasn't played competitively in six months, but he has responded well to his rehabilitation. His body is in better shape and mentally he's ready to go. I think he will be a good player for us this year."
Lowery (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS) won a state title and was an all-state selection as a junior in Arizona. Unfortunately, he had to sit out his senior year due to state regulations limiting an athlete to four seasons of high school basketball (the 6-foot-2 Lowery played as an eighth grader in the state of Washington). Still, he kept in shape and got himself ready for the transition to college basketball.
"Joshua is a smart, competitive player who came out of a quality program in Arizona where he was well-coached," Asbury said. "He is a solid defender and he's going to be a nice player."
Willis (Stockbridge, Ga./Stockbridge HS) is also an extra year removed from playing high school basketball. He graduated from high school in 2008 and was the county's player of the year, but spent an extra year getting himself into better shape to play college basketball. The 6-foot-2 Willis dropped nearly 50 pounds in the process.
"Caleb was a late find for us," Asbury said. "Just by looking at him, you can tell he is a strong and physical player. He advances the ball very well, plays well with the ball in the open court and is a solid defender. He just has to work on his jump shot but he's made significant strides."
Four other walk-ons round out the squad: sophomores Don Martin (Gladstone, Mo./Oak Park HS) and Richard Branning (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton HS) and freshmen Zach Kimber (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach HS) and Matt Olson (Hunts Point, Wash./Bellevue HS).
"Don is one of those low-maintenance, high-IQ guys who comes in and gives you every single thing he's got at practice," said Asbury of Martin, who appeared in two contests last season. "I wouldn't be afraid to throw him into a game."
In the roughly 20 months since his return, Asbury has overhauled the program - both on the court and off - for the better, starting with the 17 players currently on the roster, 15 of which have come aboard since his return.
"I would say that we're on schedule," he said. "I wasn't sure that would be the case when I first got here. If you would have asked me a year ago if we could get on schedule in this amount of time, I would have said I don't know, it would be tough. But right now we are in the process of being where I want to be. In terms of the kids working hard and being great students, we have achieved that. They've done a great job of buying into academics and what the mission of the University is all about."

Blue & Orange Madness Thrills Crowd Again
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information

Men's Basketball Season Preview
MALIBU, Calif. ­- College basketball got its start to the 2009-10 season at Pepperdine with yet another successful "Blue & Orange Madness" in front of a near-capacity crowd at Firestone Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Dane Suttle Jr. won the three-point contest and Keion Bell captured his second straight dunk contest title. Last year, Bell jumped over three teammates to win the competition. This year, he soared over five players in the final for a perfect score and the victory.
After students, parents and other fans streamed through the gates at 8:30 p.m., Willie the Wave got things underway by surfing from one end of the court to the other with the help of some Pepperdine students. The fans were then treated to a basketball highlight video.
Master of ceremonies Sam Lagana then introduced the women's and men's basketball teams. A color guard from the naval construction base at Port Hueneme brought in the American flag, and Pepperdine junior Tyler Varnell performed the national anthem on the saxophone.
After a highlight video put together by the women's basketball program, Taylor Snider took the microphone to introduce a relay race featuring women's players and Pepperdine students. Senior Miranda Ayim and sophomore Lauren Bell along with their two students just barely outraced the team of freshmen Keyah Shealy and Shay Cooney-Williams and their two students.
The Waves' cheerleaders took to the floor for a routine, followed by an eight-minute scrimmage by the Pepperdine men's team.
Corbin Moore, Keion Bell, Caleb Willis, Tanner Kerry and Jonathan Dupre' started for the Orange squad, with Richard Branning, Don Martin and Denis Agre on the bench. The Blue team featured a starting lineup of Dane Suttle Jr., Mychel Thompson, Taylor Darby, Andy Shannon and Lorne Jackson, with Gus Clardy, Joshua Lowery, Zach Kimber and Matt Olson as reserves.
Following is a rundown of the scoring during the scrimmage:
Orange 2-0 - Orange's Kerry scores in the posttied 2-2 - Blue's Thompson 17' jumper Orange 4-2 - Orange's Willis drives in for a lay-uptied 4-4 Blue's Suttle 18' baseline jumper Orange 6-4 - Orange's Kerry fastbreak lay-uptied 6-6 - Blue's Thompson grabs miss and lays it inOrange 8-6 - Orange's Bell drives for lay-uptied 8-8 - Blue's Darby dunk on fast breakOrange 10-8 - Orange's Bell windmill dunk Orange 12-8 - Orange's Kerry dunks from Bell assist Orange 12-10 - Blue's Clardy dunk Orange 14-10 - Orange's Kerry short jumper Orange 14-12 -- Blue's Jackson 15' jumper Orange 16-12 - Orange's Dupre' dunk Orange 16-15 - Blue's Shannon three-pointer Orange 18-15 - Orange's Moore drives in, gets own miss and lays it in
The blue team had a couple of chances to tie it up in the final minute, but their three-pointers were off.
After a giveaway of two men's basketball season tickets and a student Spirit Cup presentation, one of the highlights of the night took place when the entire men's and women's teams, the cheerleaders and Willie the Wave put on their version of Michael Jackson's classic "Thriller" dance. Keion Bell and Skye Barnett were out front leading the performance.
The men's and women's teams then squared off in their annual three-point contest. The women had been victorious the past couple of years, but Dane Suttle Jr. ended the streak with an 8-5 victory over Shay Cooney-Williams in the final. Results are as follows:
First Round Kelsey Patrick 7, Dane Suttle Jr. 7Shay Cooney-Williams 8, Lorne Jackson 7Lauren Bell 2, Richard Branning 6Audrey Miller 4, Mychel Thompson 6
Tiebreaker Dane Suttle Jr. 4, Lorne Jackson 2
Final Shay Cooney-Williams 5, Dane Suttle Jr. 8
Following a routine by the Pepperdine step team, women's head coach Julie Rousseau and senior Miranda Ayim took to the microphone to ask the students to come out and support the team this year. And after the Pepperdine dance team's performance, men's head coach Tom Asbury spoke to the crowd about the home-court advantage that can help his team to more wins.
A parent and a student were called out of the stands at random and given the opportunity to win free tuition with a halfcourt shot, though it didn't happen this year. They didn't go home empty-handed, however, as Lagana offered them dinners at a couple of local restaurants.
The night's special guest was the Killafornia dance crew, which has performed with many top pop artists and on Dancing with the Stars. The group of seven wowed the crowd with their moves at center court.
The men's slam-dunk contest was next, featuring Joshua Lowery, Mychel Thompson, Jonathan Dupre' and defending champion Keion Bell. Results are as follows:
First Round Lowery -- teammate throws off backboard, catches and dunks -- 36Bell -- teammate throws it off shot clock, catches it in air and windmill dunk -- 39Thompson -- comes in from right, cradle dunk -- 39 Dupre' -- reverse dunk -- 30
Second Round Dupre' -- bounces high off ground, catches and two-handed dunk -- 37T hompson -- windmill dunk coming from left -- 40Bell -- takes ball between legs and dunks -- 40 Lowery -- jumps over top of Tanner Kerry and one-handed dunk -- 37
Tiebreaker Final Thompson -- throws off backboard, catches one hand and dunks -- 38Bell -- sets up five teammates in front of basket, runs and dunks over top of all five -- 40
The night ended with the results of the students' Spirit Cup competition.
The women have their exhibition opener on Saturday, Oct. 31, against Westmont at 4 p.m. The men have their first and only exhibition on Friday, Nov. 6, as part of a doubleheader with the women. Rousseau's squad plays at 4 p.m. against Cal State Los Angeles, while Asbury's team faces Westmont at 7 p.m.

Watch Keion Bell Dunk Over Five People
Did you miss Blue & Orange Madness on Friday night? Someone uploaded the highlight of the night onto YouTube. Here is Keion Bell's final performance as he won the slam-dunk contest when he skied over FIVE teammates.

Bell Named to Preseason All-WCC First Team
Click on the above video player for an interview with associate head coach Marty Wilson.
October 22, 2009
MALIBU, Calif. ­- Sophomore guard Keion Bell of the Pepperdine men's basketball team was named to the preseason All-West Coast Conference first team, the league office announced today.
Bell (Los Angeles, Calif./Pasadena HS) was selected to the WCC's All-Freshman team last season, as the 6-foot-3 guard averaged team highs of 12.9 points, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals. His showing at the Say No Classic summer league prompted one local sportswriter to call him arguably the best college player in all of Southern California. (Click here for Keion's famous Blue & Orange Madness dunk).
Additionally, the preseason coaches' poll was released and the Waves were picked to finish seventh. Pepperdine was predicted to place eighth last season but finished two spots higher in the end. Gonzaga earned the nod over Portland as the league favorite.
A young Pepperdine team made great strides last season under the leadership of Tom Asbury, who returned to Malibu to begin his second stint as the head coach of the Waves. The squad went 9-23 overall and 5-9 for sixth place in the WCC, but three of the top four scorers were freshmen and the other one was a sophomore. The 2009-10 Waves have 11 returning lettermen, among the most in school history.
The Waves play their lone exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 6, against Westmont at 7 p.m. in Firestone Fieldhouse. The regular season begins with a home game against Pacific on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Season tickets are now on sale. Prices are $544 for a courtside seat, $204 for lower reserved seating and $163 for upper reserved seating, respectively. Season-ticket holders will enjoy benefits including reserved parking and admission to "At the Half" for halftime snacks. Those that make a minimum recommended donation - $150 for courtside reserved seating and $125 for either lower or upper reserved seating - will also become members of the Waves Club and be privy to those exclusive benefits as well. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the athletic offices in Heritage Hall, calling (866) WAVE-TIX or by visiting, accessing the ticket brochure PDF and mailing it in.
2009-10 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 48 (6)2. Portland - 44 (2)3. Saint Mary's - 344. San Francisco - 26 Santa Clara - 266. San Diego - 217. Pepperdine - 138. Loyola Marymount - 12(First place votes)
2009-10 WCC Men's Basketball Preseason All-Conference
Keion Bell, PEP Matt Bouldin, GON T.J. Campbell, POR Jared DuBois, LMU Kevin Foster, SCU Steven Gray, GON Brandon Johnson, USD Dior Lowhorn, USF Nik Raivio, POR Omar Samhan, SMC