MALIBU, Calif. - On the eve of his second season as Pepperdine men's basketball coach, Marty Wilson made the annual visit to the Los Angeles Athletic Club to speak on behalf of the Waves at the Wooden Award Tipoff Luncheon on Wednesday.
Each of the 13 Division I programs between San Luis Obispo and San Diego sent either a head coach or an assistant coach to tell the collection of media, boosters and administrators about their teams entering the 2012-13 season.
Some of the highlights from Wilson's short speech:
He spoke about being proud to be semi-associated with the Wooden name, with director of operations John Impelman, who is the great-grandchild of the late UCLA coaching legend, on the staff. "He makes our staff go," Wilson said.
Wilson mentioned that he's been part of Pepperdine for a long time, saying it was scary thinking that 27 years ago he was a freshman here. He then got a laugh by adding, "considering I'm only 25 years old."
He said it was an honor and that he was truly blessed to wake up every day knowing that he lives in Malibu and works at Pepperdine. "I look out the window and see the ocean every day, and I don't take it for granted," he said.
Wilson said he was excited about the progress the program has been made, though it's hard to be patient. He referenced speaking at last year's Tipoff Luncheon and how he couldn't have anticipated losing four of his top players to injuries last season, though with three of them back he's more optimistic about the team being able to compete this season.
He praised 7-foot center Jan Maehlen and senior guard Lorne Jackson, two of last year's redshirts, for their hard work toward getting healthy and ready for the new season.
Wilson spoke about recruiting, saying he was pleased with what his staff has done, bringing in good people that have improved the team's skill, toughness, talent and athleticism.
He thanked UCLA for Brendan Lane, who played for the Bruins the past three seasons. After graduating, Lane transferred to Pepperdine and has one season of eligibility remaining. Lane is expected to redshirt the upcoming season and compete for the Waves in 2013-14.
During his turn at the podium, UC Santa Barbara head coach Bob Williams praised Wilson and his staff, noting that he's rooting for the Waves because of their connections. Williams was an assistant coach at Pepperdine when Wilson was a player. Both Wilson and associate head coach Mark Amaral were assistants at UCSB under Williams. New graduate manager Jon Pastorek played for the Gauchos. Williams also teased Wilson for his resemblance to former NFL quarterback Warren Moon.
Each year at the Tipoff Luncheon, the Wooden Award "Legends of Coaching" recipient is named, and the 2013 honoree will be Bill Self of Kansas.
Pepperdine's men's and women's teams will be introduced to the public for the first time this Friday when the Waves host their annual Blue & Orange Madness in Firestone Fieldhouse. The event starts at 8:15 p.m. and there will be a free live webstream at www.pepperdinesports.com.