WCC names Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin, Mark Few men's player and coach of the year; Zags' Courtney Vandersloot, Kelly Graves win women's player, coach honors.
Matt Bouldin and Courtney Vandersloot pulled down West Coast Conference player-of-the-year awards for Gonzaga, as the Zags’ league champions dominated WCC individual honors announced Monday.
Bouldin, a senior from Highlands Ranch, Colo., captured what was a competitive duel with Saint Mary’s center Omar Samhan, while Vandersloot, a junior point guard from Kentwood High, was a repeat choice.
Joining Bouldin on the 10-man all-league team were teammates Steven Gray of Bainbridge and Elias Harris, a freshman who was also named newcomer of the year.
Coach Mark Few won coaching honors for the eighth time, while Bouldin’s player-of-the-year award marked the ninth time a Gonzaga player has won since 2001.
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“I really thought he and Omar both deserved it,” said Few. “Both were so consistent and so good.”
Samhan led the WCC in scoring (21.5), rebounding (11.1) and blocked shots (2.9). But Bouldin prevailed on the basis of his all-around game and perhaps on Gonzaga’s regular-season title, while the Gaels were runners-up. Bouldin averaged 16 points and was among the league’s top five in assists, free-throw percentage and steals.
“Bouldin got (the award), deservedly so,” said Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett. “Omar was equally deserving of the award. It’s just a compliment to our league that there’s another player coaches think is as good or better than Omar.”
Bouldin called it “a huge honor,” saying “it’s a goal I’ve had as long as I’ve been here.”
On the women’s side, Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves was WCC coach of the year, and Katelan Redmon, guard-forward who transferred from Washington, was newcomer of the year. Vandersloot, plus Garfield High grad Vivian Frieson and Heather Bowman of Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High, made the all-league team for Gonzaga.
“It says a lot about this team and who I’m surrounded with,” Vandersloot said of her honor.
The Gonzaga men (24-5) are top-seeded in the league tournament starting Friday in Las Vegas. The women (25-4), also with a No. 1 seed, have won 16 straight and own their highest national ranking (17th) in history.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org