Pepperdine was not a senior laden team by any extent, but without its three seniors it would be hard to imagine the Waves being as successful as they were this season.
The preseason coaches’ poll projected Pepperdine to finish dead last in the conference, mostly due to the Waves losing Lorne Jackson and Caleb Willis to graduation and Jordan Baker to the transfer market.
The Waves exceeded their expectations vastly this season, finishing fifth in the West Coast Conference with an 8-10 record. Brendan Lane, Nikolas Skouen and Malte Kramer took on a leadership role this season and helped the team prove their doubters wrong.
Skouen is an international player who made his way to Pepperdine from a Junior College.
After averaging 14.6 points at Pratt Community College in Pratt Kan., Skoeun decided to spend his last three seasons of eligibility on the sandy beaches of Malibu, Calif.
The Norway native is a phenomenal 3-point shooter, and showed that in his three seasons as a Wave. Skoeun finished his career with 114 3-pointers, 12th all-time in Pepperdine history.
His junior season was his most productive, with the 6-4, 195 pound guard averaging 8.0 points and shooting 46.4 percent from 3-point range. Skouen was a starter in 21 of Pepperdine’s 30 games that season.
Unfortunately for Skoeun, a loaded freshman class made it tough for Skouen to get minutes. The senior only averaged 12.8 minutes this past season, a stark difference to the 22.5 minutes he averaged the year before.
No matter what, Pepperdine could rely on Skouen to drill a 3-pointer whenever it was needed. For that alone, Skouen will be sorely missed.
Like Skouen, Kramer is a foreign player who hails from a junior college and can shoot the lights out from beyond the arc.
Kramer’s hometown is Freiberg, Germany, and he left his homeland to play his college ball in the United States. He started out at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where he was a standout player, especially as a scorer. Kramer averaged 17.2 points throughout his two years at Cuesta, and was named to the 2011-12 California Community College Athletic Association all-state first team and was the Most Valuable Player in the Western State Conference’s North Division his sophomore season.
His first season at Pepperdine did not go so well, with Kramer battling injuries and illnesses the whole year. The 6-6, 220 pound junior only appeared in five games that season as a result.
However, as a senior, Kramer took on a much bigger role. He averaged 4.6 points and 1.4 rebounds and shot 44.6 percent from 3-point range. He logged 13.9 minutes a game and started in nine games for the Waves this season.
Not only is Kramer a great basketball player, he is excels in the classroom as well. Kramer was named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American – the first ever at Pepperdine – as well as being a member of the Division I-AAA Athletic Directors Association Scholar-Athlete team and the WCC All-Academic first team. Kramer’s major? Economics. His G.P.A.? 4.0. Kramer was named the class’s valedictorian this past weekend, an esteemed honor for an obviously bright and individual.
While Kramer’s accomplishments on the court are what is focused on more often than not, his academic achievements are extremely impressive.