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BobZag
04-13-2010, 11:01 AM
Mark Few & Staff are accumulating Juco guards to bolster the backcourt and, if nothing else, push the current Zag guards to the limits of their capabilities, Barring unforeseen circumstances, they pretty much know Elias will be here one more year. The staff wants to maximize this opportunity (great frontcourt and wings) by adding outside shooting and playmaking abilities.

They feel a run to the EE or FF is doable, more so next season than last season. And just as importantly, they feel the team can have a great regular season with marquee wins and another WCC title sans the bad losses.

And for obvious reasons, they want the Gary Bells and Kyle Wiltjers and Kevin Pangoses of the world to see a Zag team that is doing something special. Ditto for younger recruits further down the road.

In short, this is the reason we're seeing Juco guards squarely on the radar. They are short-term fixes that will bridge the gap to long-term talents Dranginis and they're hoping Bell, Pangos, Wiltjer, et al.

spudzag
04-13-2010, 11:36 AM
Your explaination makes sense, but isn't that pretty much the the strategy every years (sans the EE, FF expectation)? It does seem that most of the parts are assembled to make a deep run and step up to the next level. Thanks for the post, best thread I've read in a while.

Tmac5360
04-13-2010, 12:56 PM
Lunardi's early braketology for next year would not suggest FF for the Zags.

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/bracketology

A 12? He must really like Matty. And doesn't think the zags will fare well without him.

Jedster
04-13-2010, 01:12 PM
I agree, I think the window for this team is really open right now to make a big splash and make a deep run. We will have our work cut out for us with the OOC already lined up, but this will be a much more mature team next year (while still young!). Having a talent like Elias, you need to be a bit more aggressive, hence trying really hard to get a JUCO.

I know 2010 was never going to be a great national recruiting year for players, but I also wonder a bit if Few wanted to also hold back on scholarships to see how this really young team gelled, so he could target the JUCO market for more immediate help in whatever area needed it (guards in this case). In a lot of ways, this is like a team that is close to competing for the Super Bowl title going out in free agency to sign the big player to put them over the top. Not sure if that type of talent is out there, but if they find a piece that will improve the team in the back court, it will definitely move us closer to the goal.

hockeyzag
04-13-2010, 01:22 PM
Appreciate the report Bobzag

cjm720
04-13-2010, 01:29 PM
Elias Harris has some serious power in Spokane!!!

I figured 2011/2012 would be our year to really make a deep run, and I still do. Just have a feeling about Dower, Arop and to a certain degree Kong and of course Meech and Sacre will be seniors.

BUT Harris is essentially a Dower, Arop, and to a degree, Kong all wrapped in one, so I can see how the staff might feel as if next year could be the year, especially with Steven who will be the most important player IMO.

Mr Vulture
04-13-2010, 02:00 PM
What am I missing...I keep hearing about the lack of frontcourt depth but I see 4 quality guys for 2 spots. Sacre at the 5, Harris at the 4, Olynyk/Dower backing up those spots. We also have Michael Hart that can fill in there as well. To me, that is obviously better than what we had this year in Sacre and Harris with a freshman Olynyk and Foster....

MDABE80
04-13-2010, 02:22 PM
Harris will be shifting to the 3 spot and play 4 as well. I think the staff want's more outside shooting from...I would ....he was 45% from 3 land this past year. Dower will be much more appreciated when he's on the court and we can see him. Kelly's simply not a big man even though he has the size of one. Rob will be Rob. I do thinkwe will need another good...not just a space taker upper...to round out the front court. Injuries..(minor ones even) can sideline a kid... andgivining rest to the other kids down low is essential.

We need another big...and a super guard...

BobZag
04-13-2010, 02:31 PM
I agree, I think the window for this team is really open right now to make a big splash and make a deep run. We will have our work cut out for us with the OOC already lined up, but this will be a much more mature team next year (while still young!). Having a talent like Elias, you need to be a bit more aggressive, hence trying really hard to get a JUCO.

I know 2010 was never going to be a great national recruiting year for players, but I also wonder a bit if Few wanted to also hold back on scholarships to see how this really young team gelled, so he could target the JUCO market for more immediate help in whatever area needed it (guards in this case). In a lot of ways, this is like a team that is close to competing for the Super Bowl title going out in free agency to sign the big player to put them over the top. Not sure if that type of talent is out there, but if they find a piece that will improve the team in the back court, it will definitely move us closer to the goal.

You pretty much nailed it, Jed. About halfway through the season the coaches realized they had perimeter problems and set out first thing after Buffalo to shore up those problems. If Carter comes, he's a good start. Not saying he'll immediately start or set the world on fire, but if the guys ahead of him don't or can't kick it up a notch (they should but one never knows), then he and/or another new guard will.

The staff realizes the 2011 class could be special for them, and the 2012 class looks just as good. But they also think Elias will be able to make a huge impact next season, and they know the supporting cast is strong at every position around Elias, with PG being the weakest link.

As spudzag alluded to, Gonzaga strives to field a powerful team every year, but losing so many good players after 2009 caused an expected lowering of expectations. With only one Zag leaving this year, it's a whole different deal. We don't usually see this kind of last minute recruiting by the staff.

With a couple of new but seasoned (Well, Juco anyway) guards coming in, guards with 3-point shooting skills and playmaking skills, Meech, GJ, etc., will be forced to either make big strides or move aside.

All the pieces will be in place.

CDC84
04-13-2010, 02:42 PM
I have to admit it's times like these where I wish GU had the recruiting prowess to go after a kid like Brandon Knight. I know there's a good chance he'll be one and done, but he's supposed to be a good student and a team first player with a nasty competitive streak. Imagine how good Gonzaga could be next year with a player of his talents........

mdZag23
04-13-2010, 02:53 PM
There is a ton of talk on this board about next year, the point guard situation, and the recruiting situation.

One thing that is not being talked about is this teams need for a big time 3-pt threat. What happened with our lack of production from the 3pt line? and now we lose Matt?

I know Steven can shoot it but he is clearly not as consistent as he needs to be and is being asked to take on more and more responsibility as an overall do everything guard, which is why his shooting is struggling IMO.

I long for the days of Santangelo and Frahm.

BobZag
04-13-2010, 02:58 PM
There is a ton of talk on this board about next year, the point guard situation, and the recruiting situation.

One thing that is not being talked about is this teams need for a big time 3-pt threat. What happened with our lack of production from the 3pt line? and now we lose Matt?

I know Steven can shoot it but he is clearly not as consistent as he needs to be and is being asked to take on more and more responsibility as an overall do everything guard, which is why his shooting is struggling IMO.

I long for the days of Santangelo and Frahm.

Read above. It's a priority this spring.

WeSayZed
04-13-2010, 03:04 PM
Very interesting, and that explains a lot of things too. Thanks for the report BZ! It’s exciting too. It looks like the promise they’ve seen in some of our young players matches what we’ve seen, and they want to make sure we have depth in the areas we had some struggles. Make sense if you think the team can go far this year and you don’t want to have any Achilles’ heel type areas of weakness.

CDC84
04-13-2010, 03:08 PM
I think you would see Gray's long distance shooting improve if he got a really good point guard next to him. It would allow him to be a true shooting guard.

I know it's a minor point, but Santangelo was only 34% 3 point shooter and a 37% shooter from the field his senior year. I think a lot of us (myself included) tend to elevate him as a player due his performance in the NCAA tournament. The only guy who you could really classify as sharpshooter during that time was Frahm. Casey and Axel had good percentages from behind the arc, but they didn't take many 3's - although it must be said that their ability to knock down shots from the perimeter made Gonzaga's offense all the more lethal.

mdZag23
04-13-2010, 03:08 PM
why can't KO be a Gordon Hayward type of player?

I don't think that he can handle the ball like Hayward but I do believe that he has potential to do all the other things Gordon does very well.

just a thought.

WeSayZed
04-13-2010, 03:10 PM
I have to admit it's times like these where I wish GU had the recruiting prowess to go after a kid like Brandon Knight. I know there's a good chance he'll be one and done, but he's supposed to be a good student and a team first player with a nasty competitive streak. Imagine how good Gonzaga could be next year with a player of his talents........
I like it the way it is. Finding the diamonds in the rough and overachieving is kind of the spirit of this region, isnít it?
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/28/Underdog.jpg

Mr Vulture
04-13-2010, 03:31 PM
I know I keep hearing that Elias will be shifting to the 3 next year but I just don't see it. I think he may play some 3 but I would be very surprised if he didn't play the 4 primarily. There is no way Olynyk plays anything but the 4 or 5 because he lacks the quickness to defend a 3 at the college level. We have 4 guys for the inside spots...

U Zig, I Zag
04-13-2010, 03:32 PM
There is a ton of talk on this board about next year, the point guard situation, and the recruiting situation.

One thing that is not being talked about is this teams need for a big time 3-pt threat. What happened with our lack of production from the 3pt line? and now we lose Matt?

I know Steven can shoot it but he is clearly not as consistent as he needs to be and is being asked to take on more and more responsibility as an overall do everything guard, which is why his shooting is struggling IMO.

I long for the days of Santangelo and Frahm.

I want a scorer. Someone that comes flying off of screens looking to shoot and just oozes confidence. Set-shot types are good, especially in WCC play - but if you run into some athletes you HAVE to be able to create, even from 3.

DD, RF, D-Rav, Ammo, etc - pull-up from 3 feet from behind the line? Sure, if you are feeling it. I loved that and it puts daggers through the hearts of the opponents like nothing else.

We need a baller... I hope that Steven's confidence grows by leaps and bounds this summer and he finds that shot of his.

CDC84
04-13-2010, 03:34 PM
I like it the way it is. Finding the diamonds in the rough and overachieving is kind of the spirit of this region, isn’t it?

Yeah, but it's less reliable. I'm all for going for the best players Gonzaga can possibly get so long as they fit the system. That doesn't rule out the McDonald's AA, but it also doesn't rule out the hidden gem either.

WeSayZed
04-13-2010, 03:44 PM
I know I keep hearing that Elias will be shifting to the 3 next year but I just don't see it. I think he may play some 3 but I would be very surprised if he didn't play the 4 primarily. There is no way Olynyk plays anything but the 4 or 5 because he lacks the quickness to defend a 3 at the college level. We have 4 guys for the inside spots...
I donít think Iíve seen you answer this question yet. Why would Harris come back if he was going to play PF? His future in the pros is a SF. What would be the point of staying in school an extra year to play PF?

NEC26
04-13-2010, 03:52 PM
I donít think Iíve seen you answer this question yet. Why would Harris come back if he was going to play PF? His future in the pros is a SF. What would be the point of staying in school an extra year to play PF?

I would bet anyone who would care to that Harris will be our starting four all year just like last year. Will he get a chance to be a wing player on offense? Probably, but he will still be a four.

VinnyZag
04-13-2010, 03:56 PM
I want a scorer.

I expect Elias Harris, 2010-'11 version, to be GU's best scorer since Adam Morrison.

BobZag
04-13-2010, 04:06 PM
Elias will play both positions. Remember, in Few's system a PF can be shooting threes, slashing to the basket and posting up. Calvary, Violette, Dench, even Batista shot the trey whenever they wanted yet played the 4.

If, and I stress "if", Dower is as good as I've heard from people close to the coaches, if he and Olynyk can just combine for, say, 15 and 10, that will force teams to give Sacre more space to maneuver and, thus, produce at a better clip than he did last season. Dower and Olynyk will also help Elias, giving him more room to operate inside, or, more room on the outside due to having to help with Sacre...

But this is why guards who can shoot it are very important next season. No defenders sagging off and clogging the paint.

It all goes hand in hand, like a delicate ecosystem.

whatazag
04-13-2010, 04:37 PM
What am I missing...I keep hearing about the lack of frontcourt depth but I see 4 quality guys for 2 spots. Sacre at the 5, Harris at the 4, Olynyk/Dower backing up those spots. We also have Michael Hart that can fill in there as well. To me, that is obviously better than what we had this year in Sacre and Harris with a freshman Olynyk and Foster....

This is the second time in the past couple days I've seen a statement like this. Hopefully I am not embarrassing myself, but isn't Hart a walk on guard? I really hope we are not counting on him to back up the 4/5 position in case of an injury to one of our couple proven guys. Still think Poling was a big loss, as there doesn't seem to be any bigs (4/5) that are solidly on our radar for either 2010 or 2011.

d2zag
04-13-2010, 04:51 PM
Elias will play both positions. Remember, in Few's system a PF can be shooting threes, slashing to the basket and posting up. Calvary, Violette, Dench, even Batista shot the trey whenever they wanted yet played the 4.

This is why I think Wiltjer should want to be a Zag. He's a PF who likes to step out and shoot the trifecta, and in Few's system he can do that.

OZZY
04-13-2010, 04:53 PM
I also have wondered this whatazag, I would think that Bol would fill in at the 4 before Hart would, Bol played a bit there last year, and has decent hops.

john montana
04-13-2010, 05:23 PM
Hart is still third option IMO. But none the less an option. If things don't go well for Kong or Manny, he has to be ready, and he is no slouch. Technically Hart is a 6' 5" guard. He is a big but more a 3 or 4 kinda guy IMO.

If hart figures into our plans for next year at any position on the floor I think that signals trouble. Seems like a great kid and hard worker but I don't see a major D1 talent. Granted I am not a coach.

CDC84
04-13-2010, 05:49 PM
For me Harris operated as a 3 man the entire 2009/10 season. He wasn't a power forward except in terms of who he guarded on defense. Gonzaga had two wings in their starting lineup: Gray and Harris. Gonzaga never had a power forward. If they had a power forward last season, Rob Sacre would've enjoyed a better, more consistent season. And if they don't get one for the 2010/11 season, I don't see how the offense improves.

d2zag
04-13-2010, 06:40 PM
For me Harris operated as a 3 man the entire 2009/10 season. He wasn't a power forward except in terms of who he guarded on defense. Gonzaga had two wings in their starting lineup: Gray and Harris. Gonzaga never had a power forward. If they had a power forward last season, Rob Sacre would've enjoyed a better, more consistent season. And if they don't get one for the 2010/11 season, I don't see how the offense improves.

Sam Dower will be the starting PF, imo. And that will take a lot of pressure off Sacre.

ZagAddict
04-13-2010, 07:25 PM
Glad to hear that the staff is "All In" for 2010-11 season. But it is now April... what's realistically left on the recruiting circuit for next year. As I see it now, we are looking at Juco guards we "hope" can contribute significant minutes and upgrade the team next year. Not really the recruiting position I would want to be in to go "All In" and bolster a team for deep run in the NCAA tournament next year.

Just my thoughts...

WeSayZed
04-13-2010, 09:04 PM
I felt sorry for Meech simply because....well, we know why. The weaknesses at PG was the global warming in the Zag's delicate ecosystem.

But Sacre had one less guy that the opponents defense had to worry about. If Meech wasn't slashing and driving to the hoop, he wasn't defended. That freed up an extra defender to double on Sacre, Gray, or Bouldin. That ain't gonna happen next year. We have 8 possible starters. Harris, Gray, Sacre, Manny, Bol, Kelly, Meech, and G.J. I am comfortable with any combination of the 8 given Harris, Gray and Sacre are in.

Basically we werent a one-two punch team. We were a one and a half punch team. Next November I look forward to Manny and Bol being a big part of that 1-2 punch. They combined for 45% from 3 pt land!!! That is the 3 pt threat we need. Rebounding and foul/FT problems do not look like issues for these guys either.

Right now I am excited with the guys we have. I would be very happy if Few said "We are going to alternate the PG starts this year. First Meech then GJ etc etc.." To think Few will bolster the guard play by getting us a starting juco PG coupled with the growth and maturity of Meech and Villarino, it gets only better.

I'm like a broken record though. IMO, our problem isn't mechanics or skill sets. It is mental and emotional consistency. How do we get young adults to do the best with the skills that God gave them? and the thousands of hours practicing and strength building that they have committed and put in the Zag bank.

How can we keep "deer in the headlight" collapses like Wake Forest, Duke and USF from happening? How do we eradicate the negative aspects of fear and respect for our opponents but retaining all the positive aspects that fear and respect. Its pressure, thru and thru. Butler had it all wrapped in a perfect over achieving package. They had a loyalty to Brad Stevens system and a willingness to forgo personal stats for the good of the team. Bouldin and Grey exemplify that. Not to say that the other guys didn't, cuz no one on our team had huge personal stats like Dickau, Turiaf or Ammo did. It hurt Bouldins Draft status. He is in my prayers.

To me the mental toughness is the "million dollar" question that has yet to be consistently answered by any team, ever. Well, UCLA and John Wooden had it for about 15 years. but....... other than that. UCONN ladies???

Few is getting close. Oh so close....
Last year we had half a dozen first year players. This year all those players will have a full season under their belts. Harris for one probably didnít know what to expect, but now heís been through a full season and he knows where heís headed next year. He knows there is NBA interest in him and he knows what he needs to work on. If he comes in ready and has a solid year he has a lot to gain. Likewise this is Grayís last year. I hear that heís a very laid back guy, but if there ever was a time for him to up the focus level and have a consistent year this is it. Sacre also knows that if he has a good, consistent, year his draft value will go up considerably. If our leaders come in motivated and a couple of our second year players have breakout years, we could be a very, very, good team, and I hope our players know that now so that they train with that in mind this summer and come back ready to achieve great things.

MickMick
04-14-2010, 03:31 AM
From my vantage, Harris was absolutely a power forward. He rebounded, dunked, blocked, and defended like a power forward. His playing style is much more like Charles Barkley style than an Adam Morrison style.

Rob Sacre played with a damn fine power forward at his side.

FieldHouseFishHouse
04-14-2010, 03:33 AM
....Hart figures into plans A or B would that signal trouble. He is plan C so I do not think there is anything to worry about. Every player even P-Maag figures into our plans, contingency plans, but, none the less plans.

Plan C is "go back to plan A". Essentially there is no plan C. If Hart sees any action in a competitive game it will be due to death, serious injury or coaching staff insanity.
The suggestion that he will see ANY time at the 4/5 other than in pick up games out back of St. Al's is quite hysterical.

bigblahla
04-14-2010, 05:22 AM
Is Steven still headed to Africa?

Go!! Zags!!!

007Zag
04-14-2010, 08:44 AM
From what I have heard, yes, he is. My girlfriend did the Zambia program last year and absolutely loved it. I hope that Steven gets as much from it as possible.

BobZag
04-14-2010, 09:41 AM
But Sacre had one less guy that the opponents defense had to worry about. If Meech wasn't slashing and driving to the hoop, he wasn't defended. That freed up an extra defender to double on Sacre, Gray, or Bouldin.

Bingo. Going out and getting Jucos to fill a void isn't ideal, we all know that, but if you can find a couple gems........ :)

A team is similar to an ecosystem. The 5 depends on the 1 and if the 1 is weak, the 5 suffers, and so does the 4, and the 2 and 3 have added pressure put on them, all due to the 1. Like a QB in football, the whole dynamics of the team's functionality begins at the point.

Mr Vulture
04-14-2010, 12:42 PM
First off..I never said I was right...I just wanted clarification as to why it has been stated multiple times that we are short on guys for the 4/5 positions. In reality, mine anyways:D, Sacre will start at the 5 and Harris will start at the 4. They will be backed up by Dower and Olynyk...I just don't see anything that makes me think otherwise. In regards to why Harris would come back is to continue to improve his game...really that simple I think. I know that Hart is only playing if there is major foul trouble/injury but he did fill in on two occasions last year at the 4. Again, I wasn't saying he was part of the rotation or a major option by any means. Certainly he is undersized for the front court and not a very good fit in the backcourt...he is a good walkon that can fill in occasionally if everything is falling apart.

I don't understand why my thoughts are so under attack. It was simply a question as I just don't see the reasoning behind the thought of Harris at 3 when we have Arop/Kong both that can play the 3 but cannot play the 4.

skan72
04-14-2010, 01:20 PM
All the Mike Hart stuff...

I watched the guy last summer, he seems good to me. 6'4" or 6'5" and a very good build for a D1 guard, pretty athletic too. I was impressed with him and think he could be a good, steady guard for us in the future.

ZagNative
04-14-2010, 02:41 PM
I seem to have a lot of pent-up picture posting need today, as this photo of Mike Hart blocking a Mark Trassolini shot in the Feb. 25 game v. Santa Clara at the MAC came to mind:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_UkLNCxT74w4/S4qfGBkE2WI/AAAAAAAAMp0/kEGPTeCgLJU/2010-02-25%20Mike%20Hart%20Santa%20Clara-2.jpg

bigblahla
04-14-2010, 07:39 PM
All the Mike Hart stuff...

I watched the guy last summer, he seems good to me. 6'4" or 6'5" and a very good build for a D1 guard, pretty athletic too. I was impressed with him and think he could be a good, steady guard for us in the future.

Nothing wrong with Hart. He's a baller like Pendo but he's low on the totem pole in the pecking order.

Just my opinion.

Go!! Zags!!!

webspinnre
04-15-2010, 05:12 AM
Nothing wrong with Hart. He's a baller like Pendo but he's low on the totem pole in the pecking order.

Just my opinion.

Go!! Zags!!!

Especially in the pecking order at the 4. Maybe at the 2/3, but definitely not the 4. If Hart is playing the 4 in anything other than a blowout, we've got serious problems.