Purple Reign: Majerle, GCU Hoops Taking Aim at WAC Title

It appears Dan Majerle’s patience is starting to pay off.

After being straddled with an undermanned yet over-achieving roster his first two years at Grand Canyon University, Majerle feels the third year could be the charm as they chase their first Western Athletic Conference title and ramp up towards their first year to be eligible to the NCAA tournament in 2017-18.

“I knew that we were a different team, I didn’t know how good we were going to be,” Majerle said after GCU opened conference play with a 83-63 thumping of UT Rio Grande Valley (4-11, 0-1) Thursday night at GCU Arena.

Just one day after it was announced Canyon will be adding the University of Arizona to their schedule next season, The Lopes improved to 14-2, 1-0 and now brace for WAC heavyweight New Mexico Saturday night in central Phoenix.

“We’ve been talking about Saturday night weeks ago,” senior point guard DeWayne Russell told Sports360AZ.com after his 11-assist effort in the win over the Vaqueros. “We’re going to be excited and up for that game.”

It’s pretty easy to see why the private school campus is excited for the blend of youth and experience Majerle has molded into one of the best college basketball stories on the west coast. The ‘Lopes 14th win tied for most in the country.

Russell is joined by veteran Dan’s nephew Ryan Majerle, as well as University of St. Louis graduate transfer Grandy Glaze as the veterans of the roster. The Lopes are also getting production from steady sophomore Joshua Braun (six three-pointers, 20 points vs. UTRGV), as well as fellow guard Dominic Magee and forwards Matt Jackson and Keonta Vernon.

It’s easy to see why #LopesRising is becoming more and more popular.