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Gonzaga’s Mark Few named coach of year; six Zags receive All-WCC recognition

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 27, 2018, 6:57 p.m.

Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. beats Loyola Marymount forward Zafir Williams and guard Joe Quintana to the basket on Feb. 15 in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. beats Loyola Marymount forward Zafir Williams and guard Joe Quintana to the basket on Feb. 15 in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga relied on balance during the regular season and that was evident when All-West Coast Conference honors were announced Tuesday.

Mark Few was voted Coach of the Year for the 12th time after guiding the Zags to their sixth consecutive WCC title and 17th in his 19 seasons. Guard Zach Norvell Jr. was named Top Newcomer. Six Zags received All-WCC recognition.

Forwards Johnathan Williams and Rui Hachimura and guard Josh Perkins were selected to the first team, forward Killian Tillie made second team, and guard Silas Melson and Norvell were honorable mention. Norvell earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.

“Coach of the year, obviously he (Few) deserves it, and everybody deserves what they got,” Melson said. “That’s how Gonzaga works. We’re a winning program and when you win everybody gets love and attention.”

Saint Mary’s center Jock Landale was voted MVP. Pacific center Namdi Okonwko picked up Defensive Player of the Year. The conference’s 10 head coaches voted on individual awards and All-WCC teams.

Williams paced Gonzaga in scoring (13.5), rebounding (8.0) and blocks (1.2). The Memphis, Tennessee, native finished strongly, with nine consecutive double-digit scoring games and a stretch with six straight double-doubles.

Perkins averaged 13 points, 5.2 assists and led the Zags with 79 3-pointers and 42.2-percent accuracy beyond the arc. He led the WCC by a large margin with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.3.

Hachimura was Gonzaga’s top scorer (12.9) in conference despite ranking sixth in minutes played. He made 60.3 percent from the field, third in WCC games, and was top 10 in free-throw percentage (80.3).

Tillie put up impressive all-around numbers. He was third in scoring (12.4), second in rebounding (6.1), and shot 57 percent from the field and 42.1 percent beyond the arc. In WCC games, he made 47 percent of his 3-pointers.

Norvell, who has started the past 23 games, ranks fourth in scoring (11.8) and is tied with Melson for second in assists (2.5) and steals (1.2). Melson, at 9.9 points, is close to giving GU six players averaging double figures.

Norvell is the third Zag in four years to win Newcomer of the Year, joining Nigel Williams-Goss in 2017 and Kyle Wiltjer in 2015.

“He’s not afraid,” Few said of Norvell. “He has a real knack for making big shots in big moments. I like to think he’s made some real strides defensively in the last month or so. That’s the thing I’m probably most proud of.”

Williams, Perkins, Hachimura and Landale were joined on the first team by BYU forward Yoeli Childs and guard Elijah Bryant, Saint Mary’s guard Emmett Naar, San Francisco guard Frankie Ferrari, Santa Clara guard KJ Feagin and San Diego forward Isaiah Pineiro. Williams and Landale are the only repeat selections.

Loyola Marymount’s James Batemon, San Diego’s Isaiah Wright, Pacific’s Jahlil Tripp and Calvin Hermanson of Saint Mary’s joined Tillie on the second team.

No. 7 Gonzaga (27-4) opens the WCC Tournament on Saturday against LMU or Portland in the quarterfinals.


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