The 2006-07 Northwest Conference Co-Champions return an almost completely intact squad from last season and are the unanimous pre-season #1 in the NWC coaches poll. The team also enters the season ranked 21st in the pre-season d3hoops national poll. This is the first time the Pioneer men's basketball team has earned a national ranking since the 2002-03 pre-season poll when they were ranked 22nd. They closed out the 2001-02 season ranked 9th.
Led once again by First-Team All-Northwest Conference point guard Thomas Tillery (senior, Portland, Ore.), the Pioneers should be one of the favorites to take the 2007-08 title. Also returning are Second Team All-NWC selections Joey Toboni (senior, San Francisco, Calif.) and David Berggren (junior, Tualatin, Ore.). Berggren was one of the nation’s top three-point shooters last season, ranking in the top-35 individuals in threes-per-game (3.1) and top-100 in three-point efficiency (.346). Toboni was the Pioneers’ leading scorer, putting up 13.3 points per game. Toboni and Gene Rivera (senior, Kahului, Hawaii) give the Pioneers a presence in the paint that the team had been lacking for the past several seasons. Rivera, an honorable mention All-NWC last year, led the Northwest Conference in blocked shots, averaging 1.98 per game, ranking him 31st among all D-III players in blocks-per-game. After just one season in the Orange and Black, Rivera already ranks fourth on the school’s all-time list for career blocked shots (51). The Pioneers also had one of the Conference’s most-talented sixth men last year. Mark Robinowitz, another outside-shooting guard, averaged 12.5 points per game coming off the bench for the Pioneers. Despite having a veteran team with a good deal of depth, Coach Bob Gaillard added even more depth in the offseason. Transferring in from Mt. Hood Community College, forward/guard Tyson Papenfuss was last year’s co-MVP of the NWAACC Southern Region and was Second Team All-State as a senior at Clackamas High in 2003. Also adding to the Pioneers’ depth will be the RMAC co-Freshman of the Year Josh Kollasch, a sophomore transfer from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo.
The Pioneers have another challenging schedule, taking on two NCAA Division I opponents, The University of the Pacific and Portland State. The season opens at home on Friday, Nov. 16th when the Pioneers host the 13th-ranked NAIA school, Northwest University.
For more information about Pioneer men's basketball, including player profiles,history, records, and this season's internet broadcast schedule, you can download the 2007-08 Pioneer Men's Basketball Media Guide, available as a .pdf file.