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CDC84
11-12-2008, 09:06 PM
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/sportslink/archive/?postID=8681#more


“It’s my last go-around,” he said. “My last time being around my friends, my last time I can for sure play organized basketball. I have to come out and prove myself to myself, my team, the country and the school, just to have a chance to move on with basketball.”

GamblingZag
11-12-2008, 11:02 PM
People keep hoping Hytvelt returns to his sophmore ability level. I think we should hope for Josh to be better than his sophmore year. If he is fully healthy, I don't see why he wouldn't be better now than he was then. He is bigger, stronger, and has played a lot of basketball since his peak. I want to see SuperJosh.

2wiceright
11-12-2008, 11:09 PM
I remember so well last year before everyone realized how serious Josh's pain was mid season, we all seemed to speculate the worst possible scenerios( such as Coach mad at Josh for not accepting role as a true 5, and on and on...) . Yet with all this we saw he something wasn't right with how he carried himself , looks of pain and anguish etc.

I hope above all Josh realizes all his dreams this year (which in turn will help us as fans realize ours for him and the team)! He's been through hell and deserves an all-american season ending with a national championship.

We'll be praying for your continued health Josh. I know you'll do all the rest!!!

ZagNative
11-13-2008, 12:41 AM
Meehan's blog and what Josh has to say, and what it says to me about those of us who presume to think we know what's going on or what's in kids' hearts, or what the coaching staff's motives are in playing a given player or not, are too good not to quote from extensively here.


Gonzaga had just finished a 51-point exhibition victory over Wayne State when Josh Heytvelt noticed a familiar face in the McCarthey Athletic Center crowd.

“I saw my doctor,” Heytvelt said. “I just yelled at him, ‘It works!’ I had a big smile on my face – to not have any pain after the game.”

It had been awhile. It didn’t happen much last year, when a preseason stress reaction turned into a full-blown stress fracture. He returned after surgery, but he only had a 1-2 week window where he felt fine.

“And then my (right) ankle started killing me again,” he said. “I think we were too scared to get an X-ray throughout the second half of the season so we waited until the end. And then it was broken again and I had to get another surgery, so it’s been a long process to get healthy.”

Healthy, it would seem, in more ways than one. On the court, the talented senior forward is bouncier and more mobile than last season but not quite back to his banner days as a sophomore, head coach Mark Few said.

When Heytvelt arrived at Gonzaga from Clarkston High five years ago, associate head coach Leon Rice had a fake degree made with Heytvelt’s name on it “so every time he came into my office he had to look at it.” Heytvelt earned his degree in four years and is taking graduate school classes.

By all accounts, Heytvelt has worked harder to forge tighter bonds with his teammates, including one who described him as more calm, relaxed and confident than a year ago. And now the 6-foot-11, 260-pound Heytvelt appears poised for a big senior season, health willing.

“It’s my last go-around,” he said. “My last time being around my friends, my last time I can for sure play organized basketball. I have to come out and prove myself to myself, my team, the country and the school, just to have a chance to move on with basketball.”

To reach this smoother path Heytvelt has traveled a bumpy road. Of Gonzaga’s 100 games the last three seasons, he has played in just 61 due to injury and suspension. After redshirting in 2005, he was slowed by ankle issues throughout the 2006 preseason. He had a pair promising games at the Maui Invitational before breaking his left ankle against Connecticut in the title game. He had surgery and returned for the final six weeks of the season.

Heytvelt was healthy for his best season _ not coincidentally _ in 2007. He averaged 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds, outplayed North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough at Madison Square Garden and erupted for 27 points and 22 boards against Pepperdine. But he essentially put himself on the bench for the final six weeks of the season with his highly publicized arrest for possession of psychedelic mushrooms. After meeting stipulations of his suspension, Heytvelt was reinstated to the team at the outset of the 2008 season.

He missed the first 11 games after having his right ankle surgically repaired. He was often vilified over the latter half of the season as his production dropped and he was removed from the starting lineup. He fielded pointed questions that usually went something like, ‘What’s wrong?’ or, ‘Are you healthy?’

What the public didn’t know was that Heytvelt’s ankle was throbbing again. He was limited to 20 minutes per game, but managed to average 10.3 points and 4.9 rebounds.

“I couldn’t say anything, I had to try to keep it under wraps,” he said. “It’s definitely not an excuse. You still have to play and try to help your team as much as you can.”

Said senior guard Jeremy Pargo: “It takes a lot of heart to do that every night when you’re in a lot of pain.”

Heytvelt said he would “just take ibuprofen before games and at half. I tried to go as hard as I could. I was just hoping it would stay underneath me the rest of the season. If it got any worse, I probably wouldn’t have been able to play.”

Simply put, it’s been an interesting five years for Heytvelt and the Bulldogs.

“Rough,” said Heytvelt, laughing loud enough to draw glances from teammates nearby. “There was the broken ankle, the arrest, the other broken ankle, the broken ankle again.”

He was laughing even louder, but then he turned serious. “But the guys I got to be here with and the friendships I’ve made with some of those guys was really a good experience. I got to play with guys like J.P. (Batista) and ‘Pendo’ (David Pendergraft). It was exciting to play with Adam (Morrison) and Derek (Raivio). Those experiences were fun and I’ll cherish those until I’m dead.”

Heytvelt leaned on Rice and Pendergraft during the hardest days of his suspension.

“Coach Rice did a lot for me and Pendo, I’ve known him since I was in fifth, sixth grade,” Heytvelt said. “He’s just a good guy, he doesn’t judge or do any of that. He’ll sit there and listen to you and if he feels like he needs to tell you something he’ll tell you.”

Heytvelt’s evolution has been a source of pride, Rice said. “Sometimes people lose sight because he’s so big and strong, but when they first get here they really are kids. And we’re seeing a transformation into an adult with him.”

Heytvelt undoubtedly will be a key component if Gonzaga, ranked 10th in the Associated Press preseason poll, is to fulfill lofty expectations. Not many teams have a fifth-year center with his combination of size, athleticism and experience.

“It’s a little different perspective (being a senior). You hope things are going to be on track; I never felt that way the last few years,” he said. “I think we should have a good year. It’s just exciting to be out here, just knowing it’s a good group of guys to play with.”
And people in the stands that are looking out for him.

I don't know ... it just makes me mad how tough we are on these kids. I have the freeling many times that the coaching staff has to protect the kids from the unrealistic demands we make on them. God, I just wish we could be kinder and more loyal to these young men and the coaching staff, more grateful that they play in pain, or dealing with issues we know nothing about. We just know that we want a Final Four at a minimum. It's one thing to keep the faith and keep on believing they can do it, to be behind them, cheering them on. But for me, it also means being prepared wo say, when things don't work out the way they and we hoped they would, "We know you did your best, and that's plenty good enough for me. I'm proud of you, win or lose."

Because I am proud of these special kids we have at Gonzaga, win or lose. There are so many great kids on this team, it's hard to say who I'm pulling for hardest this year, but Josh has to be right up there ...

LongIslandZagFan
11-13-2008, 06:33 AM
Meehan's blog and what Josh has to say, and what it says to me about those of us who presume to think we know what's going on or what's in kids' hearts, or what the coaching staff's motives are in playing a given player or not, are too good not to quote from extensively here.



I don't know ... it just makes me mad how tough we are on these kids. I have the freeling many times that the coaching staff has to protect the kids from the unrealistic demands we make on them. God, I just wish we could be kinder and more loyal to these young men and the coaching staff, more grateful that they play in pain, or dealing with issues we know nothing about. We just know that we want a Final Four at a minimum. It's one thing to keep the faith and keep on believing they can do it, to be behind them, cheering them on. But for me, it also means being prepared wo say, when things don't work out the way they and we hoped they would, "We know you did your best, and that's plenty good enough for me. I'm proud of you, win or lose."

Because I am proud of these special kids we have at Gonzaga, win or lose. There are so many great kids on this team, it's hard to say who I'm pulling for hardest this year, but Josh has to be right up there ...

Amen, Native, Amen.

I think someone should hold onto this article and reproduce it any time that someone decides to question the heart of a player.

Its like a broken record. Same thing happened with Micah. People railed on him for not being productive... until the learned he played the whole season with an injured wrist. Best course of action people is not to question their heart but rather give them your support at all times.

IrishZagFan
11-13-2008, 07:47 AM
ZagNative;289062]
I don't know ... it just makes me mad how tough we are on these kids. I have the freeling many times that the coaching staff has to protect the kids from the unrealistic demands we make on them. God, I just wish we could be kinder and more loyal to these young men and the coaching staff, more grateful that they play in pain, or dealing with issues we know nothing about. We just know that we want a Final Four at a minimum. It's one thing to keep the faith and keep on believing they can do it, to be behind them, cheering them on. But for me, it also means being prepared wo say, when things don't work out the way they and we hoped they would, "We know you did your best, and that's plenty good enough for me. I'm proud of you, win or lose."

Very well put, ZN, well done! :clap:

cggonzaga
11-13-2008, 08:08 AM
Amen, Native, Amen.

I think someone should hold onto this article and reproduce it any time that someone decides to question the heart of a player.

Its like a broken record. Same thing happened with Micah. People railed on him for not being productive... until the learned he played the whole season with an injured wrist. Best course of action people is not to question their heart but rather give them your support at all times.


This is all fine and dandy but how about the coaching staff protects these kids from this kind of negativity and tells everyone they are hurt! Yes, I know the reasons you wouldn't want to as a coach but there are ways around saying a player is in a lot of pain without stating the injury. It would also probably save the coach some abuse as well when people question why so and so isn't playing. I just don't understand the thought to let people think one thing (in these cases negative) when it's something totally different and out of that player's control.

TokyoZag
11-13-2008, 09:16 AM
This is all fine and dandy but how about the coaching staff protects these kids from this kind of negativity and tells everyone they are hurt! Yes, I know the reasons you wouldn't want to as a coach but there are ways around saying a player is in a lot of pain without stating the injury. It would also probably save the coach some abuse as well when people question why so and so isn't playing. I just don't understand the thought to let people think one thing (in these cases negative) when it's something totally different and out of that player's control.

I would think there is a competitive advantage if your opponent doesn't know about injuries.

Think about all the film time people put in studying Josh's dismantling of Tyler H. If people knew about JH's ankle issues, they would have spent time looking at Pargo or someone else.


I'm sure any player would put up with negativity to help pull a W.

zaguarxj
11-13-2008, 09:29 AM
Meehan's blog and what Josh has to say, and what it says to me about those of us who presume to think we know what's going on or what's in kids' hearts, or what the coaching staff's motives are in playing a given player or not, are too good not to quote from extensively here.



I don't know ... it just makes me mad how tough we are on these kids. I have the freeling many times that the coaching staff has to protect the kids from the unrealistic demands we make on them. God, I just wish we could be kinder and more loyal to these young men and the coaching staff, more grateful that they play in pain, or dealing with issues we know nothing about. We just know that we want a Final Four at a minimum. It's one thing to keep the faith and keep on believing they can do it, to be behind them, cheering them on. But for me, it also means being prepared wo say, when things don't work out the way they and we hoped they would, "We know you did your best, and that's plenty good enough for me. I'm proud of you, win or lose."

Because I am proud of these special kids we have at Gonzaga, win or lose. There are so many great kids on this team, it's hard to say who I'm pulling for hardest this year, but Josh has to be right up there ...

Bravo ZN! You put into words just what I was thinking as I drove in to work this morning.

krozman
11-13-2008, 09:52 AM
Sentimental hogwash. The moment they took a scholarship they have a duty to treat their game like their job. They're no different than any other athlete in any other program, or like any other 18 year old who joins the military to defend our country. They're going to be tough because they're prepared for it, and the pressure they feel is the realization of the gifts they're given and the fans who love them. And when they make mistakes, as we all do in life, they're going to get Zagnative love as well as krozman hate. It's life in a nutshell, but lets not pretend that these kids need protection, because in many ways they're better off already (so says the 1k a month i'll be paying in student loans until 2015).

Besides, after its all over, they're going to look back and miss it, even all that criticism.

CDC84
11-13-2008, 09:57 AM
To add on to cggonzaga's point....every opponent that scouted Gonzaga last year - especially within the WCC - knew that Josh was not well and was really playing at 65%. When the flat footed John Bryant is blocking Josh's shots left and right, something is wrong. There really wasn't anything to hide.

MDABE80
11-13-2008, 10:10 AM
Told ya it's fixed. Now come Josh's time. He's a superior kid and he's grown so much as a person while at GU.
We had a lousy (by GU standards) season last year. Josh just couldn't get there. But wait! ....and not coming with a set of Ginsu knives......we'll have substandard seasons again! Brace yourselves!
No player of the caliber GU gets willfully dogs it or fakes things. Either they are hurt , just aren't the player recruited or have some mental issues (like one our bigs had 7-8 years back). No.....our kids come to play.

Erase the board then! Let's proceed and support the team from here on. Screws are perfectly aligned. Josh should have an AA season. He's hungry now......and he's healthy.

cggonzaga
11-13-2008, 10:14 AM
I would think there is a competitive advantage if your opponent doesn't know about injuries.

I agree to an extent. If the player is playing 25-30 mpg then no you wouldn't want an oppenent to know where they're weak. In the case of Josh last year there was a period where he was only playing 10mpg. What good does it do to not disclose that he was injured? Many people assumed he was in Few's doghouse or just not trying hard.


They're no different than any other athlete in any other program, or like any other 18 year old who joins the military to defend our country. They're going to be tough because they're prepared for it, and the pressure they feel is the realization of the gifts they're given and the fans who love them.

Wow, not even close. Terrible example.

Reborn
11-13-2008, 10:21 AM
I appreciate Zag Native's thoughts and feelings on the issue of team support and criticism. I have those sentiments to some degree, but not completely. I don't think we can ask fans to be perfectly thoughtful in regards to remarks WE make in the heat of passion. Basketball is a passionate sport that is also very intense. Some of us, and I include myself, make remarks that I wish I hadn't made. I have been criticle of both players and coaches, when I have felt criticism was warrented. To say that we shouldn't criticise is not the best way to think about about being a fan. People who govern this board try their hardest to keep out the very negative and inappropriate responses, and we have had many heated debates over some of the criticisms I've made. I've learned from these debates, and have grown I hope as a writer to be a little more objective in my criticisms. I think I am known for my support for the team and my postive attitude, but I do not hesitate to criticize when I feel its needed.

I do not bellieve that the criticisms, when appropriate, hurt the players or team. The Zags are a high profile team and criticism comes with the turf. The better our team is the higher expectaions will be from fans. Fans need a place to come to share their opinions and feelings, and I think that this Board does a terrific job of allowing fans to share. They also do a good job in keeping blogs off the board that are not worthy of the dignity of this board and our university. Personally, I am extremelly happy with this board, and I hope that the dirctors do not get TOO protective of our playes or coaches. More and more of our players are going on to the professional level, and they will definitiely be scrutinized and criticised in that arena. Criticism, and constructive thinking can help prepare them for their future. I personally feel that everyone who blogs here loves the Zags deeply. I don't really believe that any one of us loves the Zags more than any one else. We all have different perspectives, and all make different kinds of contributions to this board and our team. Maybe because I was raised in a fairly large Catholic family (five boys and a sister) and attended an all boys High School, arguing and disagreeing were all part of the deal, and never ever meant that we didn't love either our families or school. Arguing and disagreeing was always encouraged in our home and schools (including Gonzaga), but we all had better be able to back up what we had to say with FACTS and not opinions and inuendos. My dad was very intellligent, and you had better know what you're talking about if you wanted to get into a debate with him.

Enough said.....I look forward to another great and passionate season, and may we all remember why we all really come here......we are driven by our love for our team..................GO ZAGS!!!!!!

ZagNative
11-13-2008, 10:24 AM
Sentimental hogwash. The moment they took a scholarship they have a duty to treat their game like their job. They're no different than any other athlete in any other program, or like any other 18 year old who joins the military to defend our country. They're going to be tough because they're prepared for it, and the pressure they feel is the realization of the gifts they're given and the fans who love them. And when they make mistakes, as we all do in life, they're going to get Zagnative love as well as krozman hate. It's life in a nutshell, but lets not pretend that these kids need protection, because in many ways they're better off already (so says the 1k a month i'll be paying in student loans until 2015).

Besides, after its all over, they're going to look back and miss it, even all that criticism.Let's put it another way: It's annoying as heck to see people here carping all the time, when the reality is that they don't know what's going on behind the scenes.

Hate these kids when they don't provide the fodder we need to feed our feeble egos? Krozman may have been saying that just for effect, to twist the tails of some of us, but it's goofy. College basketball is not the NBA. These kids aren't highly paid gladiators.

I don't know ... I guess there are different ways to look at the kids and staff. For better or for worse, to me they're like family, and in family, loyalty runs two ways.

Edited to add: Reborn, I don't find all criticism bad. I enjoy reading your game analyses and almost always learn something from them. You are knowledgeable, and it shows. Same thing for many other folks here, CDC84, MickMick, and a whole lot of other people. I do look for a certain degree of objectivity and I value it and do not believe it is harmful to anyone, including the kids and the staff. But the frequency of vitriol, anger, negative speculation, etc., from some is just too much sometimes.

krozman
11-13-2008, 10:36 AM
Let's put it another way: It's annoying as heck to see people here carping all the time, when the reality is that they don't know what's going on behind the scenes.
.

100% agree. And comon ZN, if I can't push your buttons, what else can I do?

jim77
11-13-2008, 11:21 AM
When kids get to the level that these kids are at, heart usually isn't an issue. To me it was clear, something physically was wrong with Josh last year. The kid just has too much natural talent to be lumping it up the court...its one thing to play the game...its another to play hurt. GUTS. I agree with the above poster about keeping the injury quiet. It was the right thing to do.....a "W" trumps keeping others informed about Josh's status.

All that the fella has gone through is gonna make this season extra special...Heres to a special player and a special TEAM...GO ZAGS!!!!!!

#42 rules!

Reborn
11-13-2008, 03:33 PM
Jim77 says, "All that the fella has gone through is gonna make this season extra special...Heres to a special player and a special TEAM...GO ZAGS!!!!!!"

I totally agree Jim. I remember seeing Josh play in high school in the regional championship game at Eastern. He has been one of my favorites since. I love his intensity and piercing eyes. I hope he lets it all hang out this year, and I really think he will. I predicted him to be our #1 scorer, and I hope he is. I'm hoping he's unstoppable, and a killer on the boards, and that everyone fears him......He has worked hard, and has done everything he has had to do in my opinion to make that dark cloud which hung over him disappear. I hope he makes us all forget about all that. Here's to you big fella.....

OZZag
11-13-2008, 03:53 PM
Great news on Josh, all I can say is that they should all keep their calcium intake up so dem bones stay strong!

2wiceright
11-13-2008, 04:40 PM
Well put Zagnative...I couldn't agree with you more!

Zagtana
11-13-2008, 05:27 PM
Right on ZN. Right on, right on right on. Thank you.