View Full Version : ESPN Gonzaga Preview(Insider)

10-30-2008, 01:32 PM
ESPN has their WCC team previews up today, and since St. Mary's is the only one you can access without insider, I'll give everyone a peek at the individual player reviews:

PG-JEREMY PARGO (6-2, 219 lbs., SR, #2, 12.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.0 apg, 0.3 bpg, 1.4 spg, 33.9 mpg, .497 FG, .265 3PT, .678 FT, Robeson HS/Chicago). Pargo has already made a huge impact on the 2008-09 season merely by showing up. He declared himself eligible for the NBA draft last year, but changed his mind on June 16 -- the last day to withdraw -- and decided to come back to Gonzaga for his senior year.

"Having Jeremy come back was great news," Few said. "He is the heart and soul of this team in so many ways, and is an excellent leader on and off the court."

Last year Pargo was selected the WCC Player of the Year and was an honorable-mention All-America pick by The Associated Press after he led the conference in assists and showed a newfound scoring punch with 28 points against Oklahoma and 27 points in an overtime loss at St. Mary's. The durable guard -- the younger brother of Jannero Pargo of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets -- has started every game the last two seasons and will once again be an integral part of the team's success.

"Jeremy is a leader. He's been through the battles now, so he's battle-tested and has a ton of experience," Lloyd said. "I think Jeremy's coming back in a great state of mind. He feels confident that he's got the ability to play in the NBA, so this year, in his mind, is not about showcasing his individual skills. It's about helping his team ascend to the next level. And that's been his approach since he's been back this summer and into the fall."

SG-MATT BOULDIN (6-5, 214 lbs., JR, #15, 12.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, 0.1 bpg, 1.4 spg, 32.0 mpg, .462 FG, .365 3PT, .767 FT, ThunderRidge HS/Highlands Ranch, Colo.). A natural scorer who also can get his teammates involved, Bouldin's biggest problem as a collegiate player has been settling on a role to play.

"I think the big thing for Matt is that two years into this, he's got a lot of experience," Lloyd said. "Matt's one of those guys who's got a nice, well-rounded game, so I think early in his career he was maybe confused a little bit as to where he should focus his energy. Should he want to be a distributor? Should he want to score? Those types of things.

"And I think he's become more comfortable now making those decisions and being able to do different things at different times. He's got a clearer understanding of what it takes to be successful. He's come really well-prepared this year, and I think he's going to have a breakout-type year."

Last year, Bouldin -- who played for the United States' U19 team at the FIBA world championships in 2007 -- stepped up his scoring with a three-game stretch in which he scored 21 against Tennessee and Georgia and a career-high 26 against Utah. And he came up big in one of the Zags' biggest games of the season. With the regular-season WCC title on the line, Bouldin scored 21 points -- including 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc -- to lead Gonzaga over St. Mary's, 88-76, giving the Zags a one-game lead in the standings with one game to play.

But he also handed out at least four assists in 12 games last year, including a season-high eight against Loyola Marymount in the WCC regular-season opener, showing his ability to make his teammates better even as he takes on more of a scoring role.

"He's got great court awareness," Few said, "and he's really improved his knowledge of the collegiate game. He needs to take charge a little bit more, be a little more aggressive and be more of a leader on this team."

SG-STEVEN GRAY (6-4, 190 lbs., SO, #32, 8.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.2 bpg, 1.0 spg, 26.6 mpg, .492 FG, .463 3PT, .833 FT, Bainbridge HS/Bainbridge, Wash.). Gray missed the first 10 games of his freshman season after fracturing his wrist in an exhibition game against Emporia State, but upon his return he wasted no time in showing why he was one of the hottest recruits ever to come out of the state of Washington. Gray hit 11 of his first 20 three-pointers and would have led the conference in three-point shooting percentage if he had had enough attempts.

Gray also showed some poise under pressure when he hit a pair of free throws with 0.3 seconds left at Santa Clara to tie the game and send it to overtime, where the Zags eventually prevailed. But he saved the best for last, matching Curry shot-for-shot early in the Davidson game, finishing with seven threes and a career-high 21 points against the Wildcats.

"Steven's very consistent," Lloyd said. "He obviously shoots the ball extremely well. We've challenged him to improve his ball handling and his ability to put it on the floor, and I think he's worked on that in the off-season. We're looking for Steven to just build on what he did last year -- be a consistent threat to make threes. If you give him an inch of daylight, he'll get off a quality shot."

SF-AUSTIN DAYE (6-10, 190 lbs., SO, #5, 10.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.6 bpg, 0.6 spg, 18.5 mpg, .475 FG, .413 3PT, .881 FT, Woodbridge HS/Irvine, Calif.). Another freshman to make an impressive collegiate debut, Daye led the WCC in three-point shooting in conference games with a .586 mark (17-of-29). He provided scoring punch off the bench immediately, dropping 20 points on Montana in the first game of the season, and he hit double figures 19 times on the year, with a season-high of 22 in the double-OT win at Santa Clara.

Daye put a scare into Gonzaga fans and coaches this summer when he injured his knee during drills at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy on July 8. The initial diagnosis was a torn ACL, requiring surgery that would keep him off the court from six- to 12 months. However, Daye was re-examined by doctors at UCLA (where his father, Darren, starred for the Bruins), and he was told the injury was much less severe -- a bone bruise and minor ligament tear that should heal in plenty of time for the start of fall practice.

"I think Austin's going to get a chance to play some more extended minutes this year, and with that, and more experience and the additional strength he's added over the last year, I think he's going to have an exceptional year," Lloyd said.

PF-JOSH HEYTVELT (6-11, 238 lbs., SR, #42, 10.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.7 bpg, 0.7 spg, 20.6 mpg, .500 FG, .333 3PT, .660 FT, Clarkston HS/Clarkston, Wash.). Last year basically amounted to a lost season for Heytvelt, who was once recognized as one of the top big-man prospects in the country. His sophomore year ended in February when he was suspended for violating a team rule, and shortly after he was reinstated last October, he suffered a stress fracture in his right foot that required surgery.

Heytvelt sat out the first 11 games of last season, but the foot didn't heal properly, so after playing on one leg the rest of the year, he underwent another surgery in off-season on the same foot. He spent the summer with his right foot in a boot, and all reports indicate the injury has finally healed, which should give him an opportunity to live up to the potential that he flashed as a sophomore, when he averaged 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds before he was suspended.

"He's a very high-ceiling guy," Lloyd said. "He's proven that he can rebound at a high level, and he's proven that he can score and play against anybody in the country. He's one of those guys who's a match-up nightmare with his size, strength and skill. He can score inside and outside, and I think he presents a lot of problems for teams when he's at the top of his game.

"Last year, I think [the injury] impacted him in a couple of areas. Having it kind of flare up right at the start of practice, Josh wasn't in shape when he came back, so it affected his conditioning. And he was never able to get that explosiveness back in his legs. I think Josh was just a little more grounded, and he's a guy who, although he's skilled, he does rely on his athleticism a little bit. I think when that was taken from him, it took a little bit of his confidence, and therefore his consistency."

C-ROBERT SACRE (7-0, 255 lbs., SO, #21, 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.2 bpg, 0.3 spg, 9.6 mpg, .444 FG, .634 FT, Handsworth Secondary School/North Vancouver, B.C.). Sacre, whose father is former NFL tight-end Greg LaFleur and whose mother, Leslie Sacre, played college hoops at LSU, started 10 games as a freshman and proved to be an effective scorer in the low post, but the coaching staff would like him to be a bit more active as he gains experience and rounds his game into shape.

"The biggest thing Rob's going to have to improve upon is his level of energy every day and understanding other ways he can contribute to the game other than scoring with his back to the basket," Lloyd said. "Defending with energy, running the floor, rebounding at both ends of the floor on every single play -- those are the types of things we're looking for him to make a jump on. He has made a jump in his skill development, but in order for him to get on the floor for the minutes he wants to play, he's going to have to show that he can rebound and defend at a high level."

That's pretty much everyone, I left out Ira! and Gibbs due to space constraints. Not sure why but Meech was left out.

The final team analysis graded GU as such:
Backcourt A-
Bench/Depth A
Frontcourt B+
Intangibles B

They didn't leave any predictions at the end of the article, but the analysis they gave puts the most significance on the health of Heytvelt's foot and whether or not he returns to form, as well as the health of Daye's knee.

10-30-2008, 01:33 PM
Whoops, accidentally left out Micah. Might as well give the others too:

G-MICAH DOWNS (6-8, 180 lbs., SR, #22, 7.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.3 bpg, 0.9 spg, 23.7 mpg, .458 FG, .388 3PT, .760 FT, Seattle Juanita HS/Kirkland, Wash. and University of Kansas). Downs is a deadeye shooter who's starting to pay dividends two years after arriving in Spokane as a transfer from Kansas. In his first full season with the Zags last year, Downs started 12 of the first 13 games, then made most of his contributions off the bench. In one 12-game stretch late in the season, Downs shot 55.7 percent from the field (34-of-61), a run that helped him finish third on the team with 36 three-pointers.

"It's kind of taken him a couple of years to mature to the point where he's understood the price he was going to have to pay to be successful, and how consistently he's going to have to be paying that price," Lloyd said. "Over the course of the summer he positioned himself to have a great year. He just needs to keep sustaining that level of effort."

F-IRA BROWN (6-4, 235 lbs., SR, #50, 1.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.1 apg, 0.1 bpg, 0.1 spg, 4.7 mpg, .429 FG, .167 3PT, .333 FT, Willis HS/Conroe, Texas and Phoenix College). Brown, who turned 26 over the summer, played professional baseball for five years, then spent two years in junior college before making his D-I debut last year. That transition was a bit rocky at first, but as he became more comfortable with the pace of play, Brown started to carve out a role as a rebounder and perimeter defender for the Zags.

"It's usually a bigger adjustment for junior-college transfers," Few said. "I think Ira was kind of adjusting to the speed of the major college game at first, but once he slowed down and was able to grasp the situation, he became more comfortable and made bigger contributions late in the season."

This year, Brown likely will move from the perimeter to the power-forward spot, where he'll provide a good contrast to the lanky Daye and help guard some of the more bruising forwards on the floor.

"He's strong enough and athletic enough to impact the game and he really complements Austin well," Lloyd said. "They're opposite body types and types of athletes, so I think he'll definitely have a niche there. He brings a high level of maturity to us -- he's a great man and he's got a great approach."

G-GRANT GIBBS (6-5, 190 lbs., FR, #10, 13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.7 apg, Lin-Mar HS/Marion, Iowa). A shooting guard who can set up his teammates as well, Gibbs is coming off a trying senior season in which he was sidelined for a month after breaking his wrist during a game in mid-January. He returned for the end of regular season and playoffs, just in time to lead Lin-Mar to the Class 4A state tournament. His 20-5 team lost to the eventual champions in the semifinals, but Gibbs capped his career dramatically by hitting his final high school shot, a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Lin-Mar a victory in the consolation championship.

"Grant's got an unbelievable all-around game," Lloyd said. "He does all the little things. He's a winner, he's tough, he's a competitor. We look for him to be the next in line to be a good, big Gonzaga guard. He can play with the ball in his hands and make a lot of good point-guard-type decisions."

10-30-2008, 02:08 PM
Isn't Insider free now compliments of Geico? I heard this on the radio.

10-30-2008, 02:51 PM
It's here:

Pleasant Peninsula
10-30-2008, 03:38 PM
Isn't Insider free now compliments of Geico? I heard this on the radio.

ESPNradioinsider is free. Not ESPN.com insider.

Pleasant Peninsula
10-30-2008, 03:41 PM
ESPN/Blue Ribbon needs to get some fact checkers:

Making their 10th straight trip to NCAA Tournament, the Zags earned a No. 7 seeding and faced upstart Davidson in the first round of the Midwest Regional. The Wildcats were making their first NCAA appearance in 39 years, but they twice rallied from 11-point deficits to pull off an 82-76 upset that launched a run to the Elite Eight.

10-30-2008, 04:08 PM
Aww, I see. Thanks, PP.

I believe Davidson won its first NCAA game vs Gonzaga, then went on to show the world that it would take the Champion to finally beat them...by 2 points. Still, though. Ugh.