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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Morrison, Few earn honors

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Few (The Spokesman-Review)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs continued their recent domination of the West Coast Conference’s major postseason men’s basketball honors on Tuesday by capturing the conference’s player- and coach-of-the-year awards for the sixth consecutive time.

Adam Morrison, the Zags’ 6-foot-8 junior wing and preseason All-American, was named the WCC Player of the Year after averaging a nation’s-best 28.8 points per game during the regular season. Mark Few was named Coach of the Year after leading the fifth-ranked Bulldogs (25-3 overall, 14-0 in the WCC) to their sixth consecutive regular-season conference title and second undefeated WCC record in three seasons.

In addition, GU landed J.P. Batista, a 6-9 senior center who averaged 19.5 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds, to the 10-player all-conference first team.

When informed of Morrison’s award, Few said, “Obviously, it’s well deserved. He’s had more than a heckuva year. He’s had a phenomenal year.

“He’s been remarkably consistent and resilient, as well, considering all that’s been thrown at him.”

But Few added that case could also be made for Batista as the WCC’s best player.

“He’s been kind of the unsung hero on this team,” Few explained. “He’s just so solid and so consistent with the way he goes about his business, night in and night out. He’s become, I think, one of – if not the best – low-blocks scorer in college basketball this year.”

In earning the WCC’s player-of-the year award, Morrison kept alive a GU streak that dates back five years, when Casey Calvary (2001) earned the honor. Calvary was followed by Dan Dickau (2002), Blake Stepp (2003 and 2004) and Ronny Turiaf (2005).

“That’s an impressive run,” said Few, who has been named the WCC coach of the year each of the last six seasons. “It really helps when you surround yourself with good players and good people.”

The other two individual awards handed out went to San Diego’s Cory Belser, who was named the WCC’s defender of the year, and San Francisco’s Armondo Surratt, who was named newcomer of the year.

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