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Van Breda Kolff to Build on Success

March 20, 2000|STEVE HENSON

After the Waves' loss to Oklahoma State on Sunday, Coach Jan van Breda Kolff talked about building a program at Pepperdine "like they have done at Oklahoma State and other schools in this tournament."

A glance at Pepperdine's history suggests the notion is not far-fetched.

Jim Harrick led the Waves to five West Coast Conference championships in six seasons during the 1980s and Tom Asbury won three titles in a row in the early '90s.

Pepperdine is nearly certain to reach a milestone next season: 1,000 victories. This season's 25-9 record puts the Waves at 986-743 all-time.


With their Afros and up-tempo play, the Waves reminded some onlookers of the ABA, the long-defunct professional league where Van Breda Kolff began his professional career in 1974.

"Players needed to feel freedom then and they still do now," he said. "The ABA was a wide-open game. They shot three-pointers in transition.

"It was more of an up-tempo game then, so that might be a similarity to what we do, but that's not because I played in the ABA 100 years ago."


Pepperdine center Nick Sheppard, who was mostly mediocre in two seasons since transferring from Louisiana State, might have played his way into an NBA tryout camp.

The 6-foot-11, 260-pound senior turned in two strong performances, scoring 17 points against Indiana and 13 against Oklahoma State. He made 13 of 18 shots.

"It felt like I was reborn," he said. "I was back on the national stage and everything came together. I felt so much joy."

Several NBA scouts sat court-side.

"Sheppard is mobile for a big guy," said one. "I can see him getting a look."

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