START OF OFFICIAL PRACTICES BEGIN FRIDAY, OCT. 2ND: USD men's basketball head coach, Lamont Smith, along with his coaching staff, will kick-off the 2015-16 season with their first official team practice on Friday, October 2nd. The practice will fall in the 8:00-11:00 am window. Media planning to attend need to contact Chris Loucks at least one day in advance - (firstname.lastname@example.org; phone - 619/260-7930).
NEW COACHING STAFF ONBOARD: Coach Smith is in his first head coaching position and comes from New Mexico where he was the Associate Head Coach... Prior to that he spent time at Washington, Arizona State, Santa Clara, Saint Mary's College and Saint Louis University... Smith returns to USD where he was a member of the men's basketball team from 1994-99... He started all 27 games his senior year in 1998-99 for the 18-9 Toreros... He was named the Toreros' Defensive Player of the Year in 1997 and 1999 and served as the team captain from 1997-99... Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of San Diego in 1998... Lamont and his wife Kimberly have two daughters -- Payton and Olivia. Coach Smith welcomes three new assistant coaches - Russell Springmann (comes from the University of Texas), Sam Scholl (comes from Santa Clara University) and Chris Gerlufson (comes from Hartford University). Scholl returns to USD where he was a teammate of Coach Smith and following graduation was part of the USD basketball staff for seven seasons. Ryan Harbour returns for his third year as Director of Operations, while Da'Mon Perry enters his first year as Video Coordinator.
WCC BASKETBALL TIP-OFF EVENT OCTOBER 26TH: The West Coast Conference has teamed up with Time Warner Cable SportsNet to host the 2015 WCC Basketball Tip-Off on Monday, October 26. All 10 West Coast Conference men's and women's head coaches and a men's and women's student-athlete from each institution will be present to preview the 2015-16 season. The event will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will include live streamed interviews on the Conference's official digital platform, TheW.tv. For media, the event will include one-on-one availability with every WCC head coach and student-athlete present. Media members interested in attending should contact Ryan McCrary (email@example.com) to request a credential and parking permit (parking is very limited) no later than Wednesday, October 21.
KOK AND SANADZE LONE SENIORS ON 2015-16 CLUB: USD returns just two seniors in 2015-16, center Jito Kok (Wageningen, Netherlands) and wing Duda Sanadze (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia)... Kok returns after setting all three school records for blocked shots - career (193), season (75 in 2014-15) and game (8 vs. LMU, 1-8-15)... He appeared in 30 games with 25 starts and averaged 5.1 points per game, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks (#1 in WCC)... Sanadze appeared in 29 games with 14 starts a year ago... He averaged 6.6 points per game and 2.4 rebounds... Duda scored a season-high 20 points against Pacific (2-12-15) and totaled seven games in double digits.
BAILEY AND PERRY COMPLETE UPPER CLASS: Joining Kok and Sanadaze as upper classmen are junior forward Brett Bailey (Spokane, Wash.) and redshirt junior center Brandon Perry (Fresno, Calif.)... Bailey, a third year performer, started 12 of 30 games he appeared in last season and finished with averages of 2.3 points and 2.6 rebounds... He turned in a solid 7 point/9 rebound effort in win over Princeton... Perry, who wrapped up his first year of competition with the Toreros, earned six starts in 29 games and finished with averages of 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds... His breakout game came at UCLA (12-7-14) with 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting; he matched his 16 point effort at LMU (2-5-15) when he made 7-of-12 shots.
SOPHOMORE QUARTET RETURN WITH EXPERIENCE: Four sophomores return that received experience in their first year - guard Vasa Pusica (Belgrade, Serbia), who averaged 4.6 points; guard Marcus Harris (San Antonio, TX), who averaged 3.3 points; forward Cameron Neubauer (Berlin, Germany), who averaged 2.1 points; and guard Khalil Bedart-Ghani (Inglewood, Calif.), who appeared in six games.
COACHING STAFF EXCITED WITH INCOMING CLASS: Coach Smith and his staff are excited by the six freshmen coming onboard this season... The four scholarship players include 6-5 guard Tyler Williams (Plano, TX), 6-2 combo guard Olin Carter III (Allen, TX), 6-3 guard Ryan Woolridge (Mansfield, TX) and 6-8 forward Alex Floresca (Webster Groves, MO)... They will be joined by walk-ons Hunter Summy (6-4 guard; Southlake, TX) and Christian Oshita (6-6 guard; Torrance, CA).
KEY LOSSES FROM 2014-15 CLUB: Four seniors (Johnny Dee, Christopher Anderson, Thomas Jacobs, Simi Fajemisin) and a redshirt junior (Chris Sarbaugh) have moved on... Combined they accounted for 55.4% of last year's scoring... Dee was a two-time All-WCC First Team selection and left as the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,046 points... Anderson left as the program's all-time leader in assists (757) and steals (254)... Dee (17.0 ppg), Anderson (7.7 ppg) and Jacobs (6.7 ppg) were the team's top three scorers a year ago.
TICKETS ON SALE FOR USD-SDSU DEC. 5TH GAME AT PETCO PARK: Tickets are now available to the public for the USD-SDSU game on December 5th at Petco Park. Tickets can be purchased online at padres.com/bball, by phone (619-795-555) or by visiting the Petco Park box office. Additionally, from Nov. 30 through Dec. 5, the Bill Walton Basketball Festival will be held at Petco's grounds as well. Season tickets for USD home games can be purchased by visiting usdtoreros.com.
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