Colbey Ross is a sophomore who is quickly becoming one of the top guards in the West Coast Conference and the leader of the Pepperdine Waves. He is averaging 18.8 PPG (5th in WCC), 2.9 RPG, 7.3 APG (1st in WCC), and 1.2 SPG. I talked to Colbey before his practice yesterday as he gets his team prepped and ready for the game against Gonzaga on Thursday.
Arden Cravalho: Colbey, your team has picked up some big wins in conference. Two wins against San Diego, a win versus Saint Mary’s as well as against Loyola Marymount. You now have your first matchup of the season with Gonzaga and it’s at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Obviously, the Bulldogs are on a different level of talent than most teams in the WCC you have faced. What is it going to take to get a win against Gonzaga?
Colbey Ross: We have to play our brand of basketball for us to get a win at Gonzaga. Do what we do defensively and just compete. I feel like at the end of the day if we compete, we will have a chance in any game we play.
AC: Which team in the WCC you have played this season has been the toughest for you? Which player has given you (personally) the most trouble?
CB: The WCC has a lot of good teams. San Francisco has been a tough matchup for us. We’ve been up on them and they have came back to beat us twice. Saint Mary’s has also been quite the challenge.
Jordan Ford has been a tough assignment for me. I put in a lot of time with film on Jordan in order to find out how to stop him. Malik Fitts also had two really good games against us as well.
AC: This is the first year with Lorenzo Romar coaching the Pepperdine Waves. How has it been going with Romar and how is it different from last year with Marty Wilson?
CB: It’s been going really well with coach Romar. He has brought in a different culture. I’m not saying that the culture last year was bad but Romar has brought in a different energy this season. You can see it in how we play and you can see it in the way fans want to watch our games.
Coach Romar has allowed me to play my game compared to last year where I was more confined. I have more freedom this season to do what I need to do to win ball games. I’m playing hard no matter who the coach is so that hasn’t changed.
AC: Romar is a highly-talented recruiter. One of his first signings was Andre Ball, Lonzo Ball’s cousin, who is also in his first year with Pepperdine. Can you describe his game?
CB: Andre is probably the most athletic player I’ve ever played with. I can throw the ball anywhere around the rim and I know he is going to go grab it for me. He is going to bring energy whenever he is on the court.
AC: Kameron Edwards, a junior forward who is the second leading scorer for Pepperdine, will be sidelined for the third straight game with a foot injury. You two make quite the combo when you guys are on the court together. What are you losing when he isn’t in the game?
CB: We lose a lot just because he has been doing this for about three years now. He understands how to score and how to be aggressive. I know where to give him the ball when he is playing and how to get him points. We have done a pretty good job with him being out and guys are stepping up to take his place.
AC: You still have two more seasons with Pepperdine. What would you have to say about the future for this program?
CB: The future is bright. We are only losing two seniors (Darnell Dunn and Eric Copper Jr.) and returning a lot of our starters, rotation players. I think we are going to have high expectations for next year knowing all the players that are coming back and how much we have improved this season. We are excited for next season but at the same time, we have to finish this season strong.
I appreciate Colbey speaking to me before the first (and only) matchup of the season between Pepperdine (12-15, 5-8) and #2 Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0) tomorrow. This is a different team than last year’s squad so the Waves should keep it interesting in Spokane.
*Arden Cravalho is a senior at Gonzaga University... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho