PDA

View Full Version : The Next Gonzaga?



Angelo Roncalli
12-16-2008, 05:52 AM
Oklahoma's Capel believes there will not be a "next Gonzaga..."


Capel himself will be thrust in a difficult situation Saturday when he coaches against Virginia Commonwealth, the program he left to come to Oklahoma.

As part of a creative buyout agreement, VCU stipulated Capel arrange a home-and-home series with his new school, which turned out to be OU.

Difficulties in scheduling were a constant problem for Capel at VCU, which went 24-7 last season as the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season champion, but did not receive an NCAA Tournament bid. Instead, the nod went to the Colonial Tournament champ, George Mason.

"Our fans constantly wanted us to play ACC and Big East teams," Capel recalled. "We tried every year, but we couldn't get anyone to play us because we were pretty good."

Although mid-majors strive to be a consistent force like Gonzaga, the financial commitment required makes the goal unattainable. At least based on research Capel conducted.

"My philosophy when I was (at VCU) was I didn't want to get bought. I didn't want to get paid to come play," Capel said. "So many schools at that level talk of becoming the next Gonzaga. Well, they'll never be another Gonzaga. It's the fact of the matter. You've got to run your own race and be who you are."



http://blogs.cjonline.com/index.php?entry=8440

Reborn
12-16-2008, 06:18 AM
I think what has made Gonzaga most unique is that Few has stayed so long. Most coaches at Mid-Major schools that build successful basketball programs move on to bigger universities. Great programs are built by great coaches, and if they leave the program often goes down hill. This isn't true in all cases. Xavier is a good example of a program that continues to succeed even after a successful coach has left. And that is because they have hired another great coach.

There are a number of very good, and great coaches in mid-level universities. Baylor's and Davidson's and George Mason's are a few I can think of. However, in order to evaluate whether another mid-major university can do what Gonzaga has done we'll have to wait at least a half-dozen years. What makes Gonzaga great is the number of times in a row we have made it to the Big Dance in March, and I think the number of times we have made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

I'd say that Memphis and Xavier are other schools who are doing what Gonzaga is doing.

MedZag
12-16-2008, 07:17 AM
There's a number of things inherent to Gonzaga that were key to its success but can't simply be "reproduced":
-The size, traditions, and community of the university (ask our USD friends who post here how difficult it has been to start a "basketball culture" at their school)

-The fact that Spokane is a 1 trick pony when it comes to big times sports. Yes, the chiefs, indians, shock, etc are nice fillers but the city lives and breaths with its Zags. Getting an entire community behind a team unilaterally, besides making the team feel good, generates continued revenue, sponsorship, ticket sales, etc.

-A university president who is very good at conjuring up the generosity of its alumni and who possesses a shared vision. People have varied opinions of Fr. Spitzer, but say what you want, he has done wonders for this basketball program and this university in general as far as generating the key bigtime donations necessary for the "big projects" like the MAC. He's also been realistic yet ambitious with what they wish to accomplish in growing the university, a great combination.

-Consistency and luck. Consistency at head coach, as stated, has been key. Because that consistency has brought us some of the "lucky breaks" that have come along... diamond-in-the-rough transfers, recruits who would normally not entertain the idea of Gonzaga but liked Few and his system and knew he'd be here their 4 years, etc. "Luck favors the prepared."

-Identifiable personalities on and off the court. Guys like Calvary, Dickau, Turiaf, Morrison, etc weren't just players, they were players you loved to watch and root for because you could tell they had so much fun playing the game. I hate the moniker "America's team" but there's a whole lot of Zags fans out there, especially on-the-periphery types, and the reason they stick around is because, lets face it.... the Zags, for all their faults, play a highly entertaining style of basketball.

Butler Guy
12-16-2008, 08:53 AM
I would have to say that I disagree with the assertion.

CDC84
12-16-2008, 10:18 AM
Remote geography. While the Pacific NW has very few D-1 schools, and even fewer major conference schools, it has an overabundance of prep basketball talent. Fitz's assistants understood that and worked their tails off to get players who were under the radar, but of high major quality. You can hide players in the Pacific NW that just can't hide in other areas of the nation. The fact that several Pac 10 schools didn't take basketball seriously at the time also helped.

It is really hard for teams outside of the major conferences to recruit when they have to battle so many major conference teams for talented prep players in their area. Coaching instability doesn't help either. This is just my observation, but one of the big keys that has allowed Butler and SIU to continue to thrive is that when their coaches leave, they stay within the family and keep the identity of their program. Butler is a very attractive destination if you are an ace shooter, and SIU is a great place if you are a defensively minded player. The programs have a consistent identity that recruits can count on.

zag67
12-16-2008, 11:41 AM
I will agree with Butler. I am not saying it will be easy, but I think it can happen again. It might take a "perfect storm", but it is possible.

It would require a small school in probably a remote area, that wants it to happen and is willing to spend to make it happen. A set of coaches that would give it consistency even if one of them leave. Deciding on a playing style that allows you to recruit the 2nd tier type players and have them mold into a "team" (like Butler or WSU). And the luck of having multiple players being overlooked and growing into a missing piece for that team (like Morrison, Stepp, etc.).

Carl Streator
12-16-2008, 12:08 PM
It will happen again but nobody knows when.

McZag
12-16-2008, 01:17 PM
College of Charleston was on their way a couple years ago. Winthrop and Butler have opportunities to get there now.

What has been crucial to Gonzaga's success is a marginal league like the WCC. In 1999, 2000, 2001 there were no at-large bids given to the WCC in those early years of the GU phenomenon. The Zags had to win the league and the conference tourney to be sure they would get a chance to dance. We think it different now but don't think for a second Coach Few thinks we can instantly dance every year without that automatic. Gonzaga's ability to completely dominate this league over the last 9 seasons is the foundation of all the national success.

Any team from a non-BCS conference-Dayton, Butler, SIU, Nevada, Davidson etc. who can put together a "family" environment program with an absolutely fearless attitude in regards to scheduling, and can commit to be the absolute class of their leauge, can be a "Gonzaga". It started with Monson scheduling the Alaska Shootout in 1997 and defeating Clemson there and was embraced by Few in 1999, which he still values today. I not only believe its possible, I am surprised we havent seen another "Gonzaga" yet.

Yes friends there most certainly could be another, or multiple, Gonzaga(s)

brian_sun
12-16-2008, 01:58 PM
Your assertion is so wrong on many levels. The examples you gave were just terrible examples. Baylor plays at a BCS conference Big 12, so to say Baylor is a mid major school just gone out of the door. Second, Baylor's men basketball went through one of the most horrific periods that had ever happened to any college hoop program with the Patrick Dennenhy murder case. They were on probation for 5 years for the Dave Bliss scandal. Sure, they came back during the last couple years with the hire of Scott Drew, but Gonzaga has never experienced anything like that in its history. They might have hired the right mid-major coach, but they are not a mid-major school. They are a BCS school who went from hell to a fringe top 25 program now. I just don't see the parallel between Baylor and Gonzaga.

Xavier is kind of a iffy comparison too, because they are in A-10, which tradionally is a stronger league than the WCC. They are also in Cincinnatti, and has a big time rivary with Cincy. That's a team in a major eastern city playing in a league that's higher than WCC and is competing against a Big East power house for recruit. You are streching quite a bit to put Xavier in teh Mid-major shoes, but I will give you a pass on that.

And then you throw in Memphis, a top team in the Conference USA. They have dominated that league from the get go, they were good even before John Calipari arrived there. They constantly get some of the best recruits from the country, and I am talking about recruits that are even better than the GU recruits, guys like Rose, Tyreke Evans. They have the resource to hire even the best coaches in CBB. How the heck is that a mid-major program? That's a top 10 program who has a chance to compete for a final four spot year after year. They have a longer history of success than Gonzaga. There is no way you can lump Memphis in the mid-major category.


I think what has made Gonzaga most unique is that Few has stayed so long. Most coaches at Mid-Major schools that build successful basketball programs move on to bigger universities. Great programs are built by great coaches, and if they leave the program often goes down hill. This isn't true in all cases. Xavier is a good example of a program that continues to succeed even after a successful coach has left. And that is because they have hired another great coach.

There are a number of very good, and great coaches in mid-level universities. Baylor's and Davidson's and George Mason's are a few I can think of. However, in order to evaluate whether another mid-major university can do what Gonzaga has done we'll have to wait at least a half-dozen years. What makes Gonzaga great is the number of times in a row we have made it to the Big Dance in March, and I think the number of times we have made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

I'd say that Memphis and Xavier are other schools who are doing what Gonzaga is doing.

thespywhozaggedme
12-16-2008, 02:03 PM
I pride myself on my objectivity. While we like to say that there will never be another GU, one school just might do it: Davidson. In a very fertile recruiting ground, can promise kids immediate pt as opposed to riding the bench. Longtime coach and notoriety. They're starting to get some blue chips too; Ben allison was one of the top recruits outta Europe and he's giving them some solid minutes as a freshman. I don't mind though, two Gonzagas on opposite sides of the country; that'll work.

finechina2003
12-16-2008, 02:11 PM
I agree with thespywhozaggedme. In Davidson we may be watching unfold the very "next Gonzaga". They currently are a media darling with possibly the most exciting player in college basketball. If they can parlay this national attention into continued good recruiting - and combined with good coaching and all of the other intangibles - then they could be the one. I will wait another 8 years before I crown them the "next Gonzaga".

brian_sun
12-16-2008, 02:22 PM
I don't know. If Stephen Curry comes back next season for his senior year, and they get some price recruits to fill the pipeline this offseason, then they MAY be able to withstand the eventual loss of Curry. I am just not seeing it at this point.


I agree with thespywhozaggedme. In Davidson we may be watching unfold the very "next Gonzaga". They currently are a media darling with possibly the most exciting player in college basketball. If they can parlay this national attention into continued good recruiting - and combined with good coaching and all of the other intangibles - then they could be the one. I will wait another 8 years before I crown them the "next Gonzaga".

CDC84
12-16-2008, 02:49 PM
A whole lot of major conference schools would love to have Xavier's roster. It's filled with 3 and 4 star prospects. They pick from a different talent base than most non-BCS teams.

The biggest obstacle Davidson has are its rigid academic standards. It's a very hard school to get into, and they cut zero slack for athletes. Another question is how long McKillop wants to coach. Once he departs, he will never be replaced. He's one of the best and most widely respected X's and O's coaches at any level of the game.

Air Force Zag
12-16-2008, 03:12 PM
This discussion depends on what being "the next Gonzaga" means. If being the next Gonzaga means another "mid-major" becoming perennially successful and competitive in a "high-major" world, then I believe there will be another Gonzaga. As was ably pointed out above, there are many programs who are already there or could get there in the next few years.

But I believe that what Capel was getting at was that you can't attempt to build a successful program outside a BCS conference, or anywhere for that matter, by simply copying a formula. Each school has to do its own thing, build off its own strengths and mitigate the effects of its own weaknesses. The problematic thing, particularly from a coach's perspective, are the unrealistic expectations implicit in the assertion that you can simply "do what they did" and expect that you can engineer success.

MickMick
12-16-2008, 04:17 PM
The next Gonzaga will for the duration of nearly a decade:

Win 80% of their games and play in the NCAA tournament every year. Not really that tough of criteria. They just gotta go out and do it.

GoZags
12-16-2008, 06:52 PM
The next Gonzaga will for the duration of nearly a decade:

Win 80% of their games and play in the NCAA tournament every year. Not really that tough of criteria. They just gotta go out and do it.

And get televised on ESPN more than any school (except Duke).

zagporvida
12-17-2008, 03:49 AM
The biggest obstacle Davidson has are its rigid academic standards. It's a very hard school to get into, and they cut zero slack for athletes. Another question is how long McKillop wants to coach. Once he departs, he will never be replaced. He's one of the best and most widely respected X's and O's coaches at any level of the game.

Are you saying it is easy to get into Gonzaga? Besides we shall see if Davidson can continue their success after Curry leaves and the other factors stated already.

LongIslandZagFan
12-17-2008, 06:21 AM
Are you saying it is easy to get into Gonzaga?


Simple Comparison of the two schools:
% of students with SAT Verbal over 700: Davidson 42%, GU 12%
% of students with SAT Math over 700: Davidson 41%, GU 11%
% of students with ACT Math over 30: Davidson 50%, GU 18%

Gonzaga is not easy to get into, but it is not Davidson. Davidson is a much smaller and very very selective liberal arts college. Its not a knock on GU but it is a reality.

CDC84
12-17-2008, 09:16 AM
It's not just that Davidson is difficult to get into, it's that they cut zero slack for student-athletes when it comes to admissions. ZERO. I know a guy who has worked in their basketball program, and it is a frequent issue that they run into. They have to deny a lot of guys who are pretty smart people and who can academically compete. It's a unique situation.

Almost every D-1 program that offers athletic scholarships cuts some slack for student-athletes at times. Even Stanford cuts slack for athletes. Not everyone on Stanford's basketball team has a GPA and SAT that is perfectly aligned with what the average Stanford freshman has achieved. At the same time, no one is getting in who can't academically compete....there are limits as to how far they will go.

Butler Guy
01-30-2009, 07:59 AM
When I read this article (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/basketball/ncaa/wires/01/29/2060.ap.bkc.t25.building.butler.adv31.1381/), I remembered this thread. Just thought I'd link, if any were interested.

LongIslandZagFan
01-30-2009, 08:11 AM
I really think you guys have a shot at being that "next Gonzaga". I do like that the article doesn't say that directly. It implies it slightly, but it doesn't say it outright.

Perhaps the first step in being the next Gonzaga is to be called the Bulldogs to start with. :D