The best team in the nation looks to extend their twelve-game winning streak as they face off against the Waves, but it won’t be a cakewalk. Any time you’re going up against an opponent with two NBA Draft prospects in the WCC, you have to make sure to bring your A+ game.
Colbey Ross (19.0 PPG, 7.2 APG, 3.7 RPG, 1.3 SPG), a preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy candidate for National Player of the Year, recently became Pepperdine’s all-time leader in both points and assists. Ross is 1st in the WCC in assists as well as in minutes played at 38.4 per game and is 2nd in scoring. Currently, he’s tied for 5th on the WCC’s all-time assist list with Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins.
Colbey emerged as the leader of the Waves his sophomore year and now in his senior year, he has proven himself as one of the best guards in the nation. He’s been a consistent offensive threat throughout his entire career. He does it from beyond the arc, off the dribble pull-ups, and shots coming off screens. If a defender comes over the screen and Ross has no shot, watch for the roll from Edwards cause he’ll make you pay in the paint after the feed from Colby. If that’s not there, Ross loves to play downhill and hit his defender with his deadly hesitation move after a pick-and-roll action.
Kessler Edwards (17.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.3 BPG) has actually been very consistent shooting from all spots on the floor. 50.5 FG%, 41.5 3P%, 85.7 FT% are great numbers for a guy his size at 6’9”. He ranks 6th in the WCC in scoring and 5th in blocks.
Edwards can be even better next year as he is only a junior. He’s shown that he can create his own offense more this year, especially with his face-up game and finishing around the rim. Kessler has also proven himself to be the best defender on the team. It’s hard to find a player his size who can defend all positions and score efficiently while spacing the floor.
Very strange that Pepperdine has a losing record with this much talent on the roster. I point the finger at Lorenzo Romar for not executing.
Gonzaga (12-0, 3-0) already has an advantage as Pepperdine (4-5, 0-0) hasn’t played a game since December 23rd and the Bulldogs have played six games since then. The Waves could come out gate slowly but I expect this team to compete and play very aggressively against the #1 squad in the country.
Pepperdine is 4th in the country in free throw percentage at 81.4%. The Waves love to attack their defenders at the rim and get a high amount of their points at the charity stripe. Ross and Sedrick Altman will look to get Suggs/Ayayi out of the game early with foul trouble but that will be a tough task.
Gonzaga welcomes the Waves into the Kennel tomorrow at 6 PM on ESPN now after the Oregon-Arizona State game has been postponed due to the Ducks having COVID issues. Primetime is the best time for some Zag hoops.
*Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho