View Full Version : Press Coverage after the Zags' WCC Semi-final

03-08-2010, 07:51 AM
Las Vegas Sun (http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/mar/07/gonzaga-familiar-territory-las-vegas-championship-/): The story includes the photo of the game so far:


As the clock ticked down on Sunday’s West Coast Conference semifinal matchup between Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga, a chant started from behind the Bulldogs' bench.

“This is our house!” the Gonzaga student section chanted at the Orleans Arena, “This is our house!”

And after a 77-62 defeat of the No. 5-seeded Lions, the Bulldogs are once again headed to their house, the WCC Tournament championship game, where they have resided the past 13 seasons.

“It was definitely a hard-fought and hard-earned win,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. “But we knew it was going to be like that.”

“It was basketball in March: It wasn’t real pretty, but I thought we were very effective.”

A three-pointer by sophomore Bol Kong at the 5:40 mark of the second half put the dagger in Loyola Marymount’s tournament run, giving the No. 14-ranked Bulldogs a double-digit lead that proved too much to overcome.

“Coming in here, all week, we were working on being in attack mode,” freshman forward Elias Harris said. “The coaches made it really simple: Just attack.”
Kitsap Sun - Howie Stalwick (http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/mar/07/gray-draws-high-praise-from-carlesimo/):
Gonzaga's Gray Puts It All Together; Bainbridge Grad Impresses NBA Coach

LAS VEGAS — The basketball rosters of Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount include young men from all around the world, but the best player on the floor in Sunday night’s game between the Bulldogs and Lions hails from li’l ol’ Bainbridge.

Steven Gray, Gonzaga’s junior guard out of Bainbridge High School, turned in a brilliant performance at both ends of the floor in a 77-62 victory in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Championships.

“He was the difference in the game,” broadcaster and former NBA and college coach P.J. Carlesimo said after the 18th-ranked Bulldogs advanced to the title game for the 13th consecutive year.

Gray led all players with 18 points and seven assists (tying a career high). He hit 6 of 10 shots, led Gonzaga with two steals, grabbed six rebounds, played his usual lock-down defense and had just one turnover in 31 minutes.

“He did everything,” Carlesimo said. “He passed, he rebounded, he guarded.”

Calling himself “a big Steven Gray fan,” Carlesimo said Gray may have a future in the NBA.

“If he continues to improve the way he’s improved, I think he can play in the league, no doubt,” Carlesimo said.

Gray was typically modest when informed of Carlesimo’s comments.

“It’s great to hear,” Gray said. “You’ve got to take it for what it is. It’s definitely nice to hear that.”

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/mar/07/gray-draws-high-praise-from-carlesimo/#ixzz0hbZ13TzX

03-08-2010, 08:00 AM
The Olympian (http://www.theolympian.com/2010/03/08/1164598/bulldogs-gun-for-another-wcc-crown.html):
LAS VEGAS - Arms, legs and bodies were swinging wildly - and at times, carelessly - that is how much angst had built up in the 18th-ranked Gonzaga men's basketball team.

The Zags had experienced a pair of unexpected West Coast Conference losses – including one to the team they faced Sunday night in the semifinals of the conference tournament in Loyola Marymount.

Payback was swift and overdue.

Gonzaga advanced to its 13th consecutive WCC tournament title game by turning away the Lions, 77-62, in front of a largely pro-Zags crowd at the neutral-site Orleans Arena.

But it was Gray who put forth one of the most heroic performances Few said he’s witnessed his 11 seasons as coach of the Bulldogs.

On a night when Bouldin wasn’t sharp and Harris wasn’t fully involved until the second half, Gray filled the gaps on both ends.

He even gave his bench a scare when, biting on a fake by the Lions’ Drew Viney, he got so airborne he flew over the 6-foot-6 forward’s shoulder and landed squarely on his right arm.

Few said initially the Zags staff thought Gray broke his elbow.

“Nothing too big,” the junior shooting guard from Bainbridge High said afterward, holding a huge bag of ice over it in the arena hallway.

Minutes later, he tried swiping at an inside attempt by LMU’s Kevin Young and not only missed, he hit his shooting hand on the backboard. The impact tore off two fingernails.

“Blood was everywhere,” Gray said. “But it looked pretty bad-ass, I’m not going to lie.”

03-08-2010, 08:08 AM
“Blood was everywhere,” Gray said. “But it looked pretty bad-ass, I’m not going to lie.”:

That's hilarious.

Thanks for the links, ZN

If Gray keeps playing like that, and MB gets back to form, we'll do some damage. Guard play is the key to March (& April).

03-08-2010, 08:18 AM
I like the way you think Thomas! :)

Thanks for posting ZN!


03-08-2010, 08:27 AM
Las Vegas Review Journal (http://www.lvrj.com/sports/smart-team--talent-add-up-to-smart-play-86816867.html)
MATT YOUMANS: Smart team, talent add up to smart play

If a formal test existed to measure basketball IQ, Gonzaga senior guard Matt Bouldin would have a shot to ace it. He's a cerebral player who sets the example for a well-coached, well-conceived team.

The Bulldogs are talented and smart. I always put an emphasis on intelligence when judging teams, and this is one that records high scores.

Bouldin is a slick passer with a nose for making the right moves and a knack for knocking down big shots. Add to the equation guard Steven Gray, freshman forward Elias Harris and 7-foot Robert Sacre, and the Zags are a potential monster in March.

A week from today, we'll start filling out NCAA Tournament brackets and forking over $20 for the office pool. It's tough to make predictions without knowing the matchups, but Gonzaga will match up favorably against almost every team in the field.

"If I see a sleeper team that can win it all, it would be Gonzaga," said John Kelly, a sharp college basketball bettor who writes for EOG.com. "Gonzaga is usually the NCAA Tournament darling and falls, with so many disappointments in years' past. But I think this year could be different."

Kelly said the Zags "have a chance to outsmart some opponents," in the postseason, and they continue to outclass the rest of the West Coast Conference.

A friend texted Sunday to ask if I liked Loyola Marymount plus-12½ in the WCC Tournament semifinals at the Orleans Arena.

The reply: I hate to bet against Gonzaga.
This week separates the corpses from the contenders. The smart money is on teams such as Gonzaga, which is alive and well once again.Also in the Las Vegas Review Journal (http://www.lvrj.com/sports/loyola-marymount-surge-stifled-by-no_-18-gonzaga-86816917.html):

Loyola Marymount surge stifled by No. 18 Gonzaga

The West Coast Conference isn't getting four bids to the NCAA Tournament next Sunday. It will let Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson sweat that one out.

But the WCC might have four teams playing basketball somewhere in two weeks thanks to Loyola Marymount's strong late-season surge.

The Lions, who were stomped by top-seeded Gonzaga 77-62 in Sunday's WCC tournament semifinals at the Orleans Arena, have an 18-15 record and are under consideration for the Collegeinsider.com Tournament. Given where LMU was a year ago, at 3-28 and one of the worst teams in college basketball, to extend its season would be a major accomplishment.

"I don't get the impression the season is over," LMU coach Max Good said. "We need to keep playing to keep improving. I believe these kids have earned that opportunity."
Gonzaga knows it's going to the NCAA Tournament one way or another. Several mock brackets have the Bulldogs, who are ranked 18th in the nation, as a projected No. 5 seed when the NCAA field is announced Sunday. But Coach Mark Few is an old hand at this sort of projection stuff. He doesn't spend much time worrying about it.

"I remember getting worked up (Dan) Dickau's senior year (in 2002) when we got sent to Albuquerque as a six seed and had to play in altitude," Few said. "But we have a saying, 'Control what you can control,' and we have no control over seeding. Unless you're a one or a two (seed), you're going to have a battle on your hands."
"There's a lot of ifs and buts about the tournament," Samhan said. "But there's one fact -- win and you're in. We understand that, and we're going to play with great effort to try and win."

03-08-2010, 08:33 AM
Thanks ZN. I loved the "This is our house" chant.

03-08-2010, 08:54 AM
San Francisco Examiner - AP story by Greg Beacham (http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/gonzaga-holds-off-marymount-reaches-wcc-final-86788452.html):
LAS VEGAS — Steven Gray banged his shooting elbow on the Orleans Arena court hard enough to make the Gonzaga guard's coach think it was broken. A little later, two of his fingernails were bent back grotesquely.

"That's why he was constantly bleeding tonight," coach Mark Few said with admiration.

Gray simply gritted his teeth and got the 18th-ranked Bulldogs back to their usual spot in the West Coast Conference tournament final with a 77-62 victory over Loyola Marymount on Sunday night.

Gray had 18 points, six rebounds and seven assists while playing through some miserable pain for the Bulldogs, who have won nine of the last 11 West Coast tournament titles. He hopes he'll be repaired by the time Gonzaga plays in Monday night's title game against Saint Mary's, which beat Portland in the other semifinal.

"We try to come out and follow the game plan, play hard," Gray said. "It makes the game simple. If we keep things simple, other things will take care of themselves."
Gonzaga played in front of its usual traveling crew of several thousand Spokane fans spending a long weekend in Vegas cheering on the tournament's top-seeded teams in both the men's and women's brackets.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sports/gonzaga-holds-off-marymount-reaches-wcc-final-86788452.html#ixzz0hbpHi4ek

03-08-2010, 09:31 AM
John Blanchette (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/mar/08/grays-gory-fingerprints-all-over-game/) - Love, love, love John's writing!
Gray’s gory fingerprints all over game

LAS VEGAS – His right elbow was Saran wrapped in ice, where before a sleeve of white tape had buttressed the joint bruised by a crash to the floor both spectacular and horrifying.

The tips of the nails on the middle and ring fingers of his right hand looked as if they’d been dinner for a passing wolverwine, and the blood from them spotted both his jersey and his shorts. Either that went undetected by officials as the game went on – by rule, it requires fresh laundry – or they simply shrugged and decided they could live with any gore short of a Tarantino movie.

In other words, Steven Gray was a mess.

And he may never have looked so good.

A thousand theories get floated each and every Gonzaga basketball season, most of them crackpot and virtually all of them such generalizations that they leak value before they’re finished being uttered. One that may have some legs suggests that while Matt Bouldin is unquestionably the Bulldogs’ marquee player and that Zags have never really had someone like Elias Harris, they go as the understated Gray goes – at least on those nights when the line between winning and losing is thinnest.

A night such as Sunday, when the Zags worked Loyola Marymount 77-62 to advance to the championship game of the West Coast Conference Tournament for the 13th straight year – 15th in the last 16.

A night Gonzaga coach Mark Few will remember for “one of the best performances I have ever seen (from) one of our players.”

03-08-2010, 10:04 AM
Brief ESPN Highlight Video (http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4975093).

03-08-2010, 10:34 AM
Great articles; thanks for posting, ZN. The photo with the OP looks like the guy is worshiping Gray. Which, given Stephen's toughness and play, seems altogether reasonable.

03-08-2010, 11:30 AM
From the Spokesman-Review (http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/sportslink/2010/mar/08/day-after-loyola-marymount/), always one of the things I look forward to most the day after the game.
—Both teams encountered serious foul trouble, nearly from the start. Robert Sacre had two fouls in the first 3:30 minutes. Before half, five Zags had two fouls (Sacre, Bouldin, Gray, Elias Harris and Manny Arop). LMU’s Ashley Hamilton and Vernon Teel each had two and reserve forward Alex Osborne had three.

Sacre eventually fouled out. He had 8 points, 2 blocks and 1 rebound in 17 minutes. Gray finished with four fouls. LMU lost Jarred DuBois to fouls (9 points) and Kevin Young (12 points) and Drew Viney had four fouls.

“We weathered the craziest foul trouble we’ve had this year,” Few said.

GU turned to reserves Arop and Bol Kong in the first half. Arop, a relentless rebounder, had six of his game-high eight boards in the first half. He scored four points. Kong drove from the elbow for a pair of three-point plays and he also fed Arop for a layup. Will Foster also scored on dunk on a nice feed from Gray. LMU had just two bench points, those coming with 8:45 left in the game on Larry Davis’ layup.

“That’s as extensively as we’ve played (Arop and Kong),” Few said. “Usually we give Steven a blow with one of them, and then rotate Steve back in there and give Matt a blow. We were just in some pretty dire foul trouble.”
Gray on GU’s approach vs. LMU: “All week we’ve been working on just really being in attack mode, instead of reactive, which tended to happen with this team. The coaches made it really simple, just attack and play hard. That means getting in the paint and finishing strong and sealing in the post.”
Few on how Harris rates with GU’s past freshmen standouts: “He’s right there with all of them, with all the great ones I’ve been fortunate enough to coach. He has a big heart, he doesn’t mind taking a hits. He gets fouled a lot because he’s so physical and it doesn’t get called a lot. He’s a great learner. He kind of reminds me of Ronny (Turiaf) in that regard. We run a lot of different stuff and he picks it up as easily as Matt or Steven. That’s a great quality.”
Few on points of emphasis prior to the game: “We did emphasize throwing into the post a lot and establishing them. They did not play well down there at LMU and they’re a big factor for us. Our half-court defense, we spent a lot of time on that, and I thought it looked really good tonight.”

Link to Chris Anderson's Photo Album of the game for the SR (http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/mar/08/bulldogs-not-pretty-but-win/?photos).

03-08-2010, 02:19 PM
WCC Sports has posted video of the post-LMU Zags' press conference, in two parts. Part 1, Player interviews (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3KbzKm3w5k); and Part 2, Coach Few (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wwFZPgT6iI).

03-08-2010, 02:24 PM
Great articles; thanks for posting, ZN. The photo with the OP looks like the guy is worshiping Gray. Which, given Stephen's toughness and play, seems altogether reasonable.

Haha, I hadn't noticed that. I just thought that Gray's hair looked like a halo. Which I guess plays into what you said...

03-08-2010, 02:32 PM
WCC Sports has posted video of the post-LMU Zags' press conference, in two parts. Part 1, Player interviews (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3KbzKm3w5k); and Part 2, Coach Few (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wwFZPgT6iI).

great stuff, all of it. thank you ZagNative.

03-08-2010, 02:35 PM
Brief ESPN Highlight Video (http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4975093).

I just love Max Good. Did you see his handshake with Few after the game? Plus I love that when someone asked him about playing three games in a row, he answered, "it's better than playing one day in a row." Seems like a great guy and obviously a good coach.

LMU will be a force to reckon with in years to come. Hope they can win some OOC contests in Nov/Dec.

03-08-2010, 03:11 PM
Good thread, great links. Thanks guys