EL SUGUNDO, Calif. – One of the signs that the college basketball season has arrived is the annual West Coast Conference Basketball Tipoff preseason event.
This year’s event took place last week at the Time Warner Cable SportsNet studios and featured the head coaches of (almost) all 10 West Coast Conference men and women’s basketball programs, as well as a top player from each team.
Saint Mary’s was represented by coaches Randy Bennett and Paul Thomas, as well as men’s basketball senior Beau Levesque and women’s basketball senior Jackie Nared.
“It is cool interacting with the other players, the coaches and the media,” said Levesque. “There were a couple of softball questions that made it easy on us.”
Nared admitted she was a little reluctant to take part, but the preseason all-WCC selection said she ended-up enjoying the experience. “I’m a little shy. I get a little nervous talking to the cameras and the media, but it was fun.”
Every coach and player participated in a live studio interview that was streamed on TheW.tv as well as a live audio streaming show on WCCSports.com. The players also joined two of their counterparts in a live Google+ Hangout, hosted by Jarron Collins.
Among the members of the media in attendance were Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports, Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS-TV and Sean Farnham and Jay Williams of ESPN.
One of the more entertaining questions of the day was posed to Gaels’ coach Bennett. He was asked which celebrity actor would be most likely play him in a movie.
Bennett suggested Bruce Willis because of his character in Die Hard 3, an old school guy who was “fighting off new technology,” according to the Gaels’ 13th-year head coach.
Saint Mary’s director of creative video Bryan Navarro followed the quartet around throughout the event and posted this great video recap of the day.
Both teams open the season in a doubleheader on Nov. 8. The women host the University of Washington beginning at 6 p.m., while the men entertain defending Western Athletic Conference champion Louisiana Tech beginning around 8:30 p.m.
Season and single game tickets to watch both the men and women’s teams play this season are currently available by clicking the “Tickets” link on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx (4689).