West Coast Convo’s WCC Individual Awards

3 of 5

Jan 16, 2014; Malibu, CA, USA; Pepperdine Waves forward Brendan Lane (21) fouls Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Kyle Dranginis (3) in the second half at Firestone Fieldhouse. Gonzaga defeated Pepperdine 70-53. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Player of the Year – Brendan Lane (Forward, Pepperdine)

Right from the get-go, Brendan Lane sent a message that he was going to be force to be reckoned with in the West Coast Conference. In a win versus San Diego Christian, the former UCLA Bruin blocked seven shots, which is unheard of whether he was playing against a non-division I opponent or not.

Lane could be one of the most underappreciated players in the conference. Despite only spending one season playing for head coach Marty Wilson, Lane provided senior leadership to a team that was a consensus pick to finish last in the conference in the preseason poll. Among a bevy of newcomers, Lane and company proved their doubters wrong and finished in fifth.

Lane’s statistics were solid by the end of the season: 13.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, .547 FG%, .370 3P%. There is one stat in particular that exemplifies Lane as a player, and that is his 2.4 blocks per game. The senior forward’s ability to serve as a defensive force in the paint and a rim protector for the Pepperdine defense was massive for the team.

While Westwood did not quite work out for the 6’9” senior from Rocklin, Calif., the folks up in Malibu sure are fortunate he landed at the ‘dine.

Our Pick for preseason defensive player of the year: Gary Bell Jr.