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WOU’s Devon Alexander, right, dribbles past Simon Fraser’s Elijah Matthews in Saturday’s 78-60 GNAC win in Monmouth.
January 23, 2013
MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon University teammates Devon Alexander and Jordan Wiley come from completely different basketball backgrounds, at least when it comes to their prep days.
Alexander was a star point guard at Summit High in Fontana, Calif., a school that boasts around 2,500 students and is located about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.
Wiley, on the other hand, was a star guard at Class 1A McKenzie High in the tiny, unincorporated community of Finn Rock, about 40 miles east of Eugene.
McKenzie's enrollment? A whopping 71 students.
But it's what the two have in common that has made them crucial members -- and sometimes starters -- of the Wolves' men's basketball team.
"Both those guys are total gym rats and they just love it," WOU head coach Brady Bergeson said of Alexander and Wiley, who both started in the Wolves' 78-60 pounding of Simon Fraser Saturday.
"They go in by themselves, they go in with friends, they go in all the time."
Oh, and one other small fact? They're also both true freshmen.
Alexander, a 6-foot-1 point guard, is averaging 11.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.3 assists a game for WOU, which improved to 8-7 overall and 3-4 in league play with Saturday's win.
His road to Monmouth, however, proved to be a chance one.
"Believe it or not, we lost a kid in the summertime unexpectedly and usually when you're recruiting into July and August, you end up with somebody's leftovers," Bergeson said. "And I'll tell you what, this couldn't be more of an exception to the rule."
Alexander, who suffered an ankle injury late in his junior season that hurt his recruitment, was still looking for a spot to land when Bergeson found him through the help of a friend. The rest is history.
As for his freshman status, Alexander said he doesn't worry about labels when he's out doing damage on the court.
"I don't think of (being a freshman), but reality says I am," he said. "I'm going to make mistakes like every other freshman, but the whole idea of it is just to play ball - coach just wants us to play like we know how to do."
Wiley, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, was a standout player at McKenzie, where he was named Class 1A Player of the Year as a senior.
He was on WOU's radar from the get-go -- and Class 1A or not, Wiley can play.
He's averaging 9.7 points per game and has started all 15 games. Wiley can also shoot it -- he's hit a team-high 35 3-pointers at a 43.1 percent clip.
With players like Alexander to work on his game with, Wiley said he's fit right in at WOU.
"It's nice to have other gym rats because you can go shoot with them," he said with a smile. "You're not always by yourself."
WOU redshirt freshman Andy Avgi scored a team-best 15 points in Saturday's win over SFU, as the Wolves snapped a four-game losing streak. They hit the road this week with games at Seattle Pacific and Montana State Billings.
WOU played defending NCAA Division II national champion Western Washington (16-0, 7-0) tough in a 91-81 setback Thursday at the New Physical Education Building. Kolton Nelson led the Wolves with 21 points in the loss.
The Western Oregon University women's team sustained its third straight loss with a tough 54-47 setback to Saint Martin's Saturday. Mariah Durian scored 14 points and Dana Goularte and Melissa Fowler each grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Wolves (6-11, 1-6 GNAC). Western will try to bounce back this week as it hosts Alaska Anchorage Thursday and Alaska Fairbanks Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
Western Oregon (8-7, 3-4 GNAC) at Seattle Pacific (13-2, 6-1)
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Western Oregon at Montana State Billings (9-9, 2-5)
Where: Billings, Mont.
When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.