View Full Version : Bud Wither Article Seattle Times 12/18/2008

12-18-2008, 06:50 AM
Very interesting and candid article.


12-18-2008, 06:55 AM
Can you make a long tournament run without a consistent threat on the low block, or at least a banger?

That is my biggest concern also.

12-18-2008, 06:59 AM
Great article by Withers. Wow. That loss to Arizona really did point to some shortcomings the Zags need to address. Withers seems to point out the reasons for his concerns for the Zags, just as LIZF did a couple weeks ago and he got blasted by the board. Can these shortcomings be corrected? Of course. Will they? That's what this season will be about. And thats what the UCONN game is going to be about. I am so excited about the game Saturday.

12-18-2008, 07:22 AM
I think Bud's comments are consistent with the thoughts and concerns of most of the reality-based basketball fans on this site. We will know a lot more after Saturday.

Go Bulldogs. Win the BIS!

12-18-2008, 07:57 AM
All great points raised by Whithers. I think Pargo has and will continue to show he's up to the task of being a great point guard. The rest of those I'm not so sure about (especially the low post threat). This team really has a chance to be special, though, and I really hope they do put it all together.

12-18-2008, 08:46 AM
Regardless of the loss to Arizona, it is still going to be a great matchup in Seattle this Saturday. UCONN is #2 and GONZAGA is #7; thats right, two top 10 teams battling it out in front a sold out arena on national TV. From my perspective that is not too shaby.

Anyway, I get the point Withers is trying to make, but it reminds me of Coach Few's first season as the head coach. The media jumped all over the Zags bandwagon and then wrote them off after the Zags dropped a couple of games. If memory serves me correctly that season worked out pretty well.

One game at a time Zags. Let's enjoy the ride.

Go Zags!

12-18-2008, 08:49 AM
Spot on.

12-18-2008, 08:55 AM
I disagree with the conventional wisdom that we don't have a legit inside presence. Josh is fine, just get him the damn ball!!! Four shots against Arizona? Of course he's not a threat. Bigs need help. Jeremy Eaton and Axel Dench saw the ball inside more than Heytvelt. I hope no one wants to argue that those guys were better than Josh. Philosophically I think that is the biggest difference in the Zags post Ronny Turiaf. Before he left, all the way back to Jeff Brown, the idea was to work inside out, through the post (even with shooters like Santangelo, Frahm, and Stepp). Since then (even with a post like JP Batista), the intent just hasn't been there to go inside first. I think it would be wise to make this more of a priority, especially when outside shots aren't available or falling.

Coach O
12-18-2008, 08:57 AM
Good article by Withers. Look for one on Gray tomorrow or Saturday.

12-18-2008, 09:01 AM
Josh can and will get up for the BIS ... look for another you tube performance like UNC a few years ago

12-18-2008, 09:02 AM
Gonzaga must get Josh low post touches at the start of each game. If he doesn't get those touches, he gets out of the flow of the offense and starts to drift.....

12-18-2008, 09:09 AM
When all is said and done, these OOC games don't mean a great deal (other than entertainment value and effect on seeding). Right now there is a hue and cry about GU's presence down low.

If Rob heals, and is available for WCC and post season play -- the Zags will be fine. I believe a healthy Rob Sacre gives GU 18-22 minutes a game -- banging and low post presencing. He sure did okay in last year's UConn game and throughout last season.

From a personal standpoint -- I'd prefer the Zags not be at full strength now vs Jan/Feb/Mar (and hopefully early April).

12-18-2008, 09:17 AM
When all is said and done, these OOC games don't mean a great deal (other than entertainment value and effect on seeding).

I think seeding is a pretty big deal. Wouldn't it be nice to not play a Davidson in the first round this year?

12-18-2008, 09:25 AM
would some of the cheerleaders on this board consider Withers a Zag hater?

12-18-2008, 09:27 AM
Apple, it's hard for Josh to be a force inside, or anywhere, if he only gets 4-6 shots a game. Get him the ball and good things happen.

The most troubling point brought up in the article (IMHO) is the point on game management. That has been our achilles heel for the past few years in big games. We don't need it in 20+ point blowouts but we'll need it, and have needed it, in the tourney for years. Going all the way back to the Indiana game against the General, we haven't had good game management in close, important games.

Hopefully, that won't come back to haunt us Saturday or in the Big Dance, time will tell. To me, it's a lot more about the guys in the suits and ties and a lot less about the guys with the numbers on their shirts.


12-18-2008, 09:30 AM
I think seeding is a pretty big deal. Wouldn't it be nice to not play a Davidson in the first round this year?

I absolutely agree -- I'd prefer the Zags not be a 7 seed and have to play a 10 seed Davidson.

However, even without Rob's low post presence -- the Zags should still win enough entertaining OOC games to be in position for a protected Top 4 seed. They could continue to win and be a Top 2 seed.

My point was this -- GU's low post game right now isn't as good as it is with a healthy Rob Sacre. My preference would be for him to heal completely, then help the Zags during conference and post season play.

12-18-2008, 09:43 AM
Honest article.

The teams' IQ has been lacking at times.

Also, my faith in the team's toughness has been shaken. I was feeling pretty good about end-of-game toughness and poise after the Old Spice Classic - Indiana - WSU... But the team reverted right back to panicky helter skelter at Arizona.

I truly hope to see this remedied in Seattle and beyond.

12-18-2008, 09:48 AM
I echo the comments on game management. This is a problem that has spanned multiple seasons. In big games that are close we are often out played (dare I say coached?) down the stretch.

We all were mystified by the lack of timeouts to slow Davidson's momentum in the Zags last loss before UA.

UCLA comeback was aided and abetted by Zags decison making and again no timeouts

U of A game was there for the taking in the last 2 minutes and we got schooled. 7-2 run, 3 turnovers, poor shot selection, silly fouls.

All of those games were winnable. And we nearly blew the Vols game for some of the same reasons.

We need to thrive in the pressure of the close games on big stages. This is where blowouts in WCC or other nonconference games hurt us.

I love this team and think this is the final piece of the puzzle.


12-18-2008, 09:53 AM
1. Bud Wither's is one of our biggest supporters over the years. Anything BUT a hater.
2. Josh can't rebound or score inside when HE"S not there. Watch Josh.....he's rarely in the low post. This has been true since he came. here.......full or part season. Josh mostly roams and it seems the hes like it outside. Few's commented on this for years.
3. We need a low post presence. We don't have one...and I doubt we will. Can we get to FF without one? Well......it's the only thing that'll will prevent it..they way GU's playing now. If each guy gets into a Tony Bennett mindset and consider a basket denies is a basket earned..........then it works.

We have the talent but outside of Josh and Austin, our shooting % is just "ok" but not spectacular. Matt and Gray are the only 2 guards I'd trust from long distance.

All this is fine. We've only played 8 games and there's 3 months left and lots of games. If we don't correct what Wither's says, it's the 32 or 16 for us. Everything else improves, and it's the E8 or the FF (with luck). If these things don't improves, it would tske divine intervention to get to the championship game. D1 Ball is weak this year once you get past UNC.....we can do it and we can go the distance.....but wow do we need some discipline and hard work to get there. Somebody have Jon Brockman cloned and come here!!!! and soon!

12-18-2008, 10:11 AM
on the toughness concern after the Arizona game. To me, it was team (player) toughness that got us back tied with about three minutes left, and the lack of game management that didn't finish the deal. That game was there for the taking, we had all the momentum after we came back and tied it. What followed in the last three minutes, chaos and total meltdown, similar to the UCLA game a few years ago, is the lack of game management that is so costly. Also, early in the second half of the AZ game, where was the timeout, the personnel changes, the something (anything) that would have stopped the 10-0 run that really broke our backs.

It isn't the toughness, or lack thereof, that concerns me as the season progresses. What concerns me is the recurring lack of game management early in the 2nd half (first five minutes) and in crunch time (last 3-4 minutes) of close games. I keep looking for adjustments and keep failing to see them. Hopefully, this year will be different and adjustments will be made.

As an example of my point, remember the BIS against OK St. a few years ago. We played a lackluster first half, the score was close, we got schooled the first five minutes of the second half, fought back to get it close near the end (toughness). Fortunately, the game management that sealed the victory was performed by AMMO, and no one else, as he took the ball and the game into his own hands. We don't have AMMO this year, or anyone like him, so the guys need to be put into the best possible situation regarding personnel, time left, play calling, etc. to allow them to be successful.

That falls to the guys in the suits and ties...........


12-18-2008, 10:23 AM
It was a collapse against Ariz. We didn't play tough. Last 5 minutes we just finished the game but didn't get mad and control it. Ariz is a decent team and we should have beat em by 10 pts. We looked lackluster and disinterested in a victory.

I thinkwe need to realize that we have the vest talent in the country outside of UNC. It's real but it needs something to reaffirm that instict that wins championships. Josh should be furious when he sees the tapes. As far as sheer athletic talent, I don't know of big man who has better talent this year.

We need him to stick his nose into the game and not just observe it. Kid is spectacular and everyone knows it. We know it ( again), the media knows it and the scout drool. He needs to know it and make the most of his chances.
He's just SO key to the defense and offense too......but he disappears for stretches. As the season progresses,........well maybe not league but against UConn, Memphis, Utah, Tenn..........all on TV..... He needs to just demolish the other teams. Belief in oneself is necessary. If he has his eyes on the NBA, he needs to just go wild. It's up to him. If he does what he's supposed to do though, GU advances to the E 8.

12-18-2008, 10:28 AM
Withers is right on.

Josh needs more touches, period. We also need IRA and Matt to help Josh get free inside. The other thing that stood out to me last game was this: Nic Wise would run the shot clock down a bit then he'd break for the hoop....wouldn't you know the Arizona players would also break to the hoop. Mr. Wise would promptly dish to one of them for a score. JP can get to the hoop better than most in college BB...we need more folks following him to the hoop. It amazed me that he would make a break and there wouldn't be any Zag near him. Maybe JP needs a quick signal to let the fellows know whats gonna go down. We could and should be eating teams alive with this especially given JP's quickness. The 3 pointer is nice and has its place but, we need to establish something inside. We aren't going to far without it. We have the talent we just need to multitask with that talent.

12-18-2008, 10:33 AM
well, more of a cheerleader than a fairweather fan. He has been eminently fair to the Zags and has given them lots of coverage. As a Westsider, I'm grateful the Times allows him to write as much as he does about our team. And for the record, his article about our vulnerabilities was spot on.

Rob's absence (limited minutes though they be) hurts deeply against teams with a strong low post presence. The loss to Arizona was a bigger issue than that, however.

12-18-2008, 11:19 AM
A hater? Withers wrote the definitive book on Gonzaga basketball: "Bravehearts......."

12-18-2008, 02:47 PM
Agree on Game Management.

Better poise in the clutch.

12-21-2008, 10:31 AM
Bud Withers couldn't have said it any better. Primary to our game against UCONN, he listed our three biggest issues/concerns as:

1. Poor Game Management(Coach and Players) in closing out games.
2. Questionable point guard play in pressure situations.
3. Our post players unwilling to play in the post and our lack of a "banger".

In no particular order, these WERE the three reasons we did not hold on to the lead and it ultimately cost us the victory. I loved our effort yesterday, yet ol' Bud Withers appears to be spot on with his analysis.

Go Zags! On to Portland State...