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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / 2000-2001 PREVIEW

Waves Planning to Ride Success

Pepperdine: Coach thinks his team can be even better than last season, when it was a surprise in the NCAA tournament.

November 16, 2000|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Like the shrewd heir to a fortune, Jan van Breda Kolff took what he inherited as Pepperdine's coach last season, shuffled the portfolio and increased its value.

The Waves went 25-9, won their first conference championship since 1992 and first NCAA tournament game since 1982.

In his second season, Van Breda Kolff again will benefit from the wealth of talent accumulated by his predecessor, Lorenzo Romar. The starting lineup of Brandon Armstrong, Kelvin Gibbs, David Lalazarian, Craig Lewis and Cedric Suitt was recruited by Romar.

But Van Breda Kolff is methodically assembling his own talent. Pepperdine brought in six freshmen, and two transfers are eligible after sitting out last season.

"Ability-wise, all the freshmen can make significant contributions in their career," Van Breda Kolff said. "They have all met or exceeded expectations. But we are a veteran team, and they are still learning."

Will Kimble, a powerful 6-foot-9 forward-center from San Bernardino, could make the biggest immediate impact among the freshmen because he can help fill the void left by the departure of center Nick Sheppard and forward Tommie Prince.

Strength in the frontcourt is only a mild concern, however. Suitt, a springy 6-10 center, will replace Sheppard. Gibbs, a two-time All-WCC choice at power forward, has dropped 25 pounds and will increase his role in the Waves' fast-paced offense.

Lalazarian, a key reserve last season, will play small forward. And the playing time of sophomore Boomer Brazzle, who can play either forward position, will increase.

Pepperdine's greatest strength is at guard. Armstrong, who led the team with a 14.4 scoring average, is the best shooter in the West Coast Conference. "Brandon is a player who can take over a game," Van Breda Kolff said.

Senior Derrick Anderson, a 6-5 transfer who averaged 11.3 points at Nevada two seasons ago, can play either guard or small forward. Anderson has recovered from a bullet wound to the shoulder last summer in a drive-by shooting.

"He could have the impact that Armstrong did last year," Van Breda Kolff said. "Derrick is capable of putting up big numbers, and he handles the ball well enough to play point guard."

Replacing the leadership and ballhandling skills that senior point guard Tezale Archie provided last season is the Waves' greatest challenge. Three players are battling for the position.

Craig Lewis, who like Lalazarian was an invaluable reserve, will open the season at point guard. Lewis is deadly from three-point range and improved his ballhandling over the summer.

Elan Buller, a junior transfer from Fresno Pacific, and freshman Micah McKinney of Compton Dominguez High are also options. Buller is a brilliant passer who understands the offense, and McKinney brings quickness and the ability to penetrate.

"Tezale really grew into the position and by the end of the season was one of the best point guards in the country," Van Breda Kolff said. "We're looking for these guys to show the same kind of growth as we progress."

Van Breda Kolff believes the Waves can be better than last season, when they upset Indiana in the first round of the NCAA tournament. And they will proceed in the same manner, with a frenetic array of zone presses, an up-tempo offense and liberal substitution pattern.

"This is the best group of shooters and best group of athletes I've coached," he said. "We play a good schedule and should get a lot of exposure. Last season was one of those memorable experiences every team strives for. This season could be more of the same."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Pepperdine / Waves at a Glance

FIRST GAME UPDATED

Date: Opponent, Time

Nov. 14: Indiana 80, Pepperdine 68

Friday: Marquette or S. Alabama, TBA

Sunday: UC Santa Barbara, 1

Wednesday: at Preseason NIT, TBA

Nov. 24: at Preseason NIT, TBA

Nov. 25: PACIFIC, 1

Nov. 28: at Cal State Fullerton, 7

Dec. 3 : at Georgia, Noon

Dec. 6 : at Long Beach State, 7:30

Dec. 9 : SAN JOSE STATE, 7:30

Dec. 14: at USC, 7:30

Dec. 16: NORTHWESTERN, 5

Dec. 19: UTAH, 7

Dec. 22: at Nevada Las Vegas, 7:30

Dec. 29: North Carolina Charlotte, 5

Dec. 30: at AZCentral.com tournament, 5

Jan. 12: *SANTA CLARA, 7

Jan. 13: *SAN DIEGO, 7

Jan. 17: *at Loyola Marymount, 7:30

Jan. 20: *LOYOLA MARYMOUNT, 7

Jan. 26: *at San Francisco, 7

Jan. 27: *at St. Mary's, 7:30

Feb. 2 : *GONZAGA, 7

Feb. 3 : *PORTLAND, 5

Feb. 8 : *at San Diego, 7

Feb. 10: *at Santa Clara, 1

Feb. 15: *at Portland, 7

Feb. 17: *at Gonzaga, 7

Feb. 23: *ST. MARY'S, 7

Feb. 24: *SAN FRANCISCO, 7

March 3-5 : WCC Tournament, TBA

Home games in CAPS; all times Pacific; *--conference game

ROSTER

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 1. Derrick Anderson G/F 6-4 210 Sr.

*--*

Nevada transfer shoots well from perimeter.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 3. Brandon Armstrong G 6-3 180 Jr.

*--*

Wooden Award nominee averaged 14.4 points.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 5. Randy Roy F 6-4 180 Sr.

*--*

Walk-on adds depth.

*

*--*

No. Player P Ht Wt Yr 11. Craig Lewis G 6-3 185 Jr.

*--*

Last season's sixth man will start at point.

*

*--*

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