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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga’s Filip Petrusev named WCC player of year, joins Corey Kispert, Killian Tillie as first-team selections

UPDATED: Tue., March 3, 2020

Gonzaga’s Filip Petrusev was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year, becoming the first sophomore to win the award since 1981.

Petrusev and teammates Corey Kispert and Killian Tillie were selected to the 10-player All-WCC first team.

Petrusev, a sophomore forward, was the Zags’ lone individual award winner. Fourth-place Pacific took home top defensive player (Jahlil Tripp) and coach of the year (Damon Stoudamire). BYU’s Jake Toolson was named top newcomer.

No Zags were on the five-player second team. Guards Ryan Woolridge and Joel Ayayi were honorable mention and forward Drew Timme made the all-freshman team.

The awards and all-conference teams are voted on by the WCC’s 10 head coaches.

San Francisco’s Quinton Dailey earned player of the year honors in 1981 as a sophomore and repeated in 1982.

Petrusev, who faced strong competition for the award from Jordan Ford of Saint Mary’s and BYU’s Yoeli Childs, led the Zags in scoring (17.8) and rebounding (7.8). His scoring average climbed to 18.5 points in conference games.

He made 56.5% from the field and attempted 228 free throws, second nationally. Petrusev draws 7.8 fouls per 40 minutes, third nationally.

Petrusev scored in double figures in 29 of 31 games. He had nine points against Michigan and five versus BYU in January after exiting with an ankle injury early in the second half.

“If you ask me, I’m the best player in the conference, but a lot of stuff goes into that,” Petrusev said following Saturday night’s win over Saint Mary’s. “And I’m not really thinking about that. If I get it, cool. If not, we’re focused on what’s in front of us.”

Petrusev and Rui Hachimura (2019) give the Zags consecutive players of the year for the first time since Derek Raivio (2007) and Jeremy Pargo (2008).

Kispert averaged 14.3 points and 4.1 rebounds. He made a team-high 77 3-pointers and hit 44.3% beyond the arc. He joins Ayayi as team leaders in free-throw percentage at 81.8.

Tillie ranks third in scoring (13.3) and fourth in rebounding (5.0). The senior forward has made 44.8% of his career 3-point attempts.

Stoudamire guided Pacific, picked eighth in the preseason poll, to 23 wins and a fourth-place finish. Tripp, a 6-foot-5 wing, led the WCC in rebounding (8.75) and was fourth in steals (48).

Toolson, a grad transfer from Utah Valley who began his career at BYU, averaged 15.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists. He made 47.1% of his 3-point attempts.

Gonzaga and BYU (Childs, Toolson and TJ Haws) both had three first-team selections. Saint Mary’s was represented by Ford and Malik Fitts. Tripp and Pepperdine’s Colbey Ross also made first team.

Second-team selections were Pepperdine’s Kameron and Kessler Edwards, San Francisco’s Charles Minlend, Loyola Marymount’s Eli Scott and Santa Clara’s Josip Vrankic.

San Diego’s Braun Hartfield, Santa Clara’s Trey Wertz and San Francisco’s Jamaree Bouyea and Jimbo Lull joined Woolridge and Ayayi as honorable mention.

Woolridge averaged 10.1 points, 4.6 boards and 4.5 assists. The grad transfer from North Texas led the team with 46 steals and hit 41.7% beyond the arc. Ayayi contributed 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

Pepperdine’s Sedrick Altman, Santa Clara’s Jaden Bediako, Pacific’s Daniss Jenkins and LMU’s Keli Leaupepe joined Timme on the freshman team.

Timme averaged 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and blocked a team-leading 31 shots. His 60.6% field-goal accuracy was tops among those in the seven-man rotation.

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