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With new coach Damon Stoudamire at the helm, Pacific looks to build a contender

The Pacific Tigers have a bright future with a new coach

NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Fresno State Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Pacific has a new head coach in Damon Stoudamire and he has the foundation to finally make the Tigers a winning program.

Consistency is something Pacific had hoped former coach Ron Verlin would deliver. The last three years under Verlin were rough to say the least, with each year being progressively worse than the one before it. But now, Pacific has a solid returning squad with a new coach in Stoudamire. Stoudamire brings star power and credibility, having played college basketball with the Arizona Wildcats, and in the NBA, with Toronto, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio.

So with Stoudamire having experience in high-pressure situations, he will have the Tigers prepared for their non-conference matchups and the tough conference games with Gonzaga, BYU, and Saint Mary’s.

Stoudamire has already shown his recruiting chops by landing Oregon transfer Kendall Small, who, despite sitting out this upcoming season, will have three years of eligibility left in 2017-18. Small is a guard who will challenge the West Coast Conference every night with his explosiveness to the hoop.

He is just as aggressive on the defensive side as well. Small will become one of the best two-way players in the West Coast Conference and not many other schools will be able to shut him down completely.

Along with Small, Pacific will also have the services of Miles Reynolds — a guard coming in from Saint Louis — after this season.

Meanwhile the current team looks to Ray Bowles and T.J. Wallace to be the scoring threats while setting the tone and being leaders for the squad this season. D.J. Ursery and Jack Williams will be the players the Tigers look to as serviceable sixth men, hoping they step up to give Damon Stoudamire a couple of dependable players he can plug into the game when he needs some excitement.

The Pacific Tigers have the potential to be the surprise team in the conference this year. They have a shot at keeping up with most of the WCC and could get up to nine or ten wins in the conference with an outside shot at going to a postseason tournament like the CBI or CIT. Most would scoff at these tournaments, but for a squad like Pacific, this will only help them going into the next seasons to take charge at being a top five team in the WCC.