Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zags Around the Web

With the regular season less than 10 days away from kicking off, the final top 25 polls from around the country are coming in. I was able to find three websites that came out with their rankings, and as we have seen for the past couple of weeks, much is expected of the Zags this season.

Jeff Goodman at Fox Sports- Goodman is a big supporter of the Gonzaga program, and he has the Zags ranked 4th in his preseason top 25. Here are some interesting quotes from Goodman's breakdown.

"This could finally be the year that Gonzaga gets to the Final Four.

Mark Few's team has basically everything you'd want — quality guards, balance, depth and experience to go along with NBA-caliber talent."

"Why they'll make the Final Four: Josh Heytvelt is back to the form that made him one of the top big men in the country as a sophomore."

TKR's Take": With the season rapidly approaching, this breakdown provides nothing that TKR or any other website hasn't already said. However, Goodman realizes that with a healthy Heytvelt and Daye, nothing can stop this GU team except for themselves. The scrimmage against Texas on Saturday should be a great indicator of where the Zags stand.

Just a couple of notes about the scrimmage. The team will leave for Colorado on Friday. On Saturday, they will spend nearly the entire day with the Texas Longhorns. This will include one scrimmage that will be operated like a normal game, with 20 minute halves. They will also do a simulated scrimmage that will provide a much more controlled environment. The teams will also have lunch together on Saturday, which should provide Coach Few and Coach Barnes with an excellent opportunity to talk about and discuss their respective teams. By no means is this designed to be a vacation for the Zags, but instead a great opportunity to test the team against another top 10 squad.

The Sporting News- Just like Jeff Goodman, The Sporting News has Gonzaga ranked #4 in their season preview. Again, nothing new is provided, but there was a part of the article that I found interesting.

"In the time it has taken Mark Few to get to his 10th year at Gonzaga, the West Coast Conference has tried just about everything and everyone to keep pace.

Loyola Marymount has hired its fourth coach, former UNLV coach Billy Bayno. San Francisco also just hired its fourth, former Florida Atlantic coach Rex Walters, after the Jessie Evans/Eddie Sutton debacle. Pepperdine brought back Tom Asbury following the Lorenzo Romar/Jan van Breda Kolff/Paul Westphal years. And Portland (Eric Reveno), San Diego (Bill Grier) and Santa Clara (Kerry Keating) have all seen new faces in charge at some point during the last three years."

TKR's Take: This paragraph makes me appreciate just how special this program has been. While many fans keep waiting for the Zags to take the next step (me included), sometimes it is best to just appreciate what a tremendous job Coach Few and the rest of the staff have done. It's astonishing to read how many schools in the WCC have made coaching changes since Coach Few became head coach. The precedent that this program sets for the rest of the WCC is incredible, and there is no reason why it will stop any time soon.

The Big 10 Network: This was one of the more astonishing rankings I have seen. It is not because of where they have GU ranked, but because of the comments about the program that were made.

"8. Gonzaga (25-8) - I know, I know. In the end, the Zags are made to break your heart. Coach Mark Few's club rolls through its West Coast Conference schedule, looks like it's headed into the final weekend of March Madness, and gets knocked off somewhere along the way.

Hey, embrace who they are - a team of underrecruited kids who play in a home gym that wouldn't impress a CYO coach, and who always find a way to compete at (or near) the very top of the game. Point guard Jeremy Pargo's return for a fourth season is enough to include the Zags in the Top 10 until they prove otherwise."

TKR's Take: Is it just me, or is this guy living in the past? What underrecruited kids is this writer referring to? This season the Zags will start Jeremy Pargo (had academic issues that led to his arrival in Spokane), Matt Bouldin (a top 60 recruit in his class), Micah Downs (McDonald's All-American), Austin Daye (a top 25 recruit, who committed to Gonzaga early), and Josh Heytvelt (a top 100 recruit). Clearly this is just a group of under recruited kids :).

It also seems that this writer believes that Gonzaga still plays in the Kennel. Someone should send him a picture of the MAC, which is considered to be one of the top basketball arenas on the West Coast. I'm truly stunned that the Big 10 network would allow for this to be released on their website.

Here is a picture of our pathetic CYO gym

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