PDA

View Full Version : Are We Better Off Now........?



snebzag
05-24-2010, 06:53 PM
I look back at a team with two Spokane kids, a red headed baller from a B school and Juco transfer, going to the sweet sixteen, seconds and passes away from the elite eight. (sorry for the bad memory) And wonder if our major recruiting effort worldwide is getting better results.
I love the talent we are bringing in, I miss the talent that is leaving. Each year brings higher and higher expectations, but so far no results other than 20 plus wins and a dance card. Not complaining. Great program, Great results.
This program has changed alot. Recruiting big time athletes. Is it a matter of the right combination of players? Coaching? Passion?
You look at the 99' team going so deep. A bunch of no names to others than us. Just an off season question that can set my mind at ease. I believe we are on the right track, but what is better for GU. Recruiting worldwide big time athletes or assembling a group of gym rats.

kitzbuel
05-24-2010, 07:06 PM
Guess it depends what you call no results.

10 straight conference season titles, 12 straight NCAA appearances (the only 'Mid' of six schools to do this). These can be considered good results.

kyle dixon
05-24-2010, 07:51 PM
I agree with Kitz. It is all about the whole body of work, then when you get to the tournament all bets are off and roll out the dice. Match-ups/luck/injuries and a million other areas play a role.

Mark Few/Tommy/and Giacoletti have been outstanding. Our twelve year tournament run is pretty remarkable (very renowned around the country), plus every March the Spokane community is captivated about these Zags.

In Few I trust,

Kyle

MickMick
05-24-2010, 08:10 PM
I agree with Kitz. It is all about the whole body of work, then when you get to the tournament all bets are off and roll out the dice. Match-ups/luck/injuries and a million other areas play a role.

Mark Few/Tommy/and Giacoletti have been outstanding. Our twelve year tournament run is pretty remarkable (very renowned around the country), plus every March the Spokane community is captivated about these Zags.

In Few I trust,

Kyle

This.

The single elimination tournament is so much more than just being a good team. So many variables. A team like Butler can get to the finals, but the odds are generally against teams that are not blue blood "factory" schools.

What increases our chances is simply punching the ticket on a regular basis. Keep getting to post season and the stars will eventually align. You really can't expect any more than that.

B-hamZag
05-24-2010, 08:30 PM
I believe with the recruits coming in and the potential ones in the next few years we have something that could be special. Also with the addition of a solid assistant coach we are heading in the right direction. I think it is only a matter of time that we will get the right seed and the right match ups to break through to a final four. What Few has done with such a small school in a so so conference is outstanding, I just hope he has the fire like I do to reach the final four! GO Zags!

rawkmandale
05-24-2010, 09:17 PM
Well, I can agree that we have nicely maintained our Top 25 status, whether with local kids or imports. Perhaps getting the best "far and wide" prospects is the best way to go, in order to give us the best chance of sustaining this great run.

However, one of the "best" moments that was available to us never happened. That would have been been a starting lineup of five Eastern Washington kids (Morrison, Pendergraft, Heytvelt, Mallon, and C. Floyd). Unfortunately, that time passed and was not taken advantage of. It will likely never come again. Too bad......

MDABE80
05-24-2010, 11:27 PM
The results are about the same. Better/best in 99 and nothing like it since.
We have better athletes who can do more things but the TEAM we had back then hasn't been equalled. The 2006 group was very good and played with fire and passion but apart from Errol, there weren't any spectular athletes. They played together...except for Ammo who hogged a bit and didn't play much defense. He nearly got us there. Decent team....nearly E 8 too.This brings up a different question I guess. Goals.

Is it good enough to snag a S16 every other year and maintain integrity, have respect and be a national thought? Should we go after all those high end types and try to have several top 100 kids who might get GU to the E8 multiple times with a visit to the FF? As long as we remain true to the Jesuit mission and the kids have togetherness and want each other to get better, it's fine .


No teams will be alike. We've had good and some not so good. And yet, the NCAA has been achievable. I like the journey...with the results we've had....with all sorts of kids and all different teams. But to be clear...that 99 team was the most successful we've had. Maybe not the best team as far as talent goes but the best success.

2wiceright
05-25-2010, 12:12 AM
This.

The single elimination tournament is so much more than just being a good team. So many variables. A team like Butler can get to the finals, but the odds are generally against teams that are not blue blood "factory" schools.

What increases our chances is simply punching the ticket on a regular basis. Keep getting to post season and the stars will eventually align. You really can't expect any more than that.

It's sink or swim. Every year the competition keeps getting better as a whole across the country. Even so there are only so many players to choose from. We either have to grow, and keep bringing in better players, or become stagnate and not be in the position mentioned by MickMick. As an example of the growing competition, we now have Canadian, European, Australian players, etc., playing on par with the rest of NCAA Players. The talent levels keep rising. It was nothing but a stroke of genious for our coaches to find new ways to keep Gonzaga's edge by tapping into these new sources of talent. I think this and past success breeds the future college players the likes of Bell, Draginis, (hopefully Wiljer) etc. which in turn will finally get us to the promised land of college basketball ( A national title). Heck, I'd take just making it to the final 4 or two which could propell our program to another level. So much credit is owed to Few and Co. to continue to find ways to put us in that "position" to win in March.

Reborn
05-25-2010, 06:12 AM
I think Mark Few has always tried to get the best basketball players he can get, and that's a great philosophy. In '99 those were the best athletes he could get. He wasn't "trying" to just recruit locally. When there are great basketball players in Washington and Oregon Few goes after them. Bell is local, Dranginis is pretty local (Idaho), Wiltjer from Oregon (let's hope we get him). I think Mark Few wants to have the best team every year, and he and his staff go all out to recruit the best athletes that they can get to try to be the 'best" ever. If it takes going overseas to get "the best" I'm all for it. I really like Rob Sacre, and Turiof was an all-time Zag Favorite. And how about the new kids, Harris, Olynyk, Arop, Kong? I think we fans sometimes forget how young the Zags were last year. Last year may have been the greatest coaching job that Few and his staff has ever done. In terms of being a successful team, I'd say last years team may have been one of the most successful teams in years. They went way beyond what most fans expected. Let's give them the credit they deserve.

I don't agree with the fans that are unable to see how great of an achievement it is to reach the Sweet 16. And to have done it as often as Mark Few has is unbelievable really. You have to have a really good team to make it to the Sweet 16. Really good. To even think that just because we haven't gone beyond that since '99 somehow makes the staff's recruiting flawed, is just ludicrous (rediculous). Come on, guys. Few and his staff our great recruiters. And the recruiting process has been very succussful, and it still is. Do I like going out of state to get players? Heck yeah. Do I like going out of the country? Heck yeah. Just think about all the wonderful memories that we would NOT HAVE if Few had not recruited out of state, or even out of the Pacific Northwest.

zag67
05-25-2010, 07:02 AM
I would just like to say that I agree with Reborn. Few, the coaches and the players throughout the years have done a great job. When you play in a one and out tournament, anything can happen.

Thanks to all of the players and coaches for the great times that we have had and hopefully the many more to come.

Angelo Roncalli
05-25-2010, 07:25 AM
People who attribute the '99 success to the greatness of a team of scrappy gym rats are, to a degree, engaging in fantasy.

The elite 8 run in '99 was, in my opinion, largely the result of (1) Gonzaga getting hot at the right time; (2) extremely favorable matchups in the tournament; and (3) luck. Minnesota's academic nightmare played a huge role, as did Stanford's failure to take GU seriously. Gonzaga was lucky to play a 6 seeded Florida in the Sweet 16 game; GU received a ton of help from Weber State, who knocked off #3 North Carolina in the first round, opening the door for Florida to get to the Sweet 16 game against the zags. .

People who get romantic about '99 tend to forget that that team got thumped by Purdue early in the season, lost on a neutral court to Detroit, lost at TCU, lost conference games to San Diego and Pepperdine, and eked out a 1 point win at Texas San Antonio on a game winning shot and a similar close win by 2 points at Santa Clara.

GU caught lightning in a bottle in '99. Realistically, the continued success and improvement of the program has been the result of continued excellent coaching and being able to bring in more and better players.

People who think Gonzaga will be better off with teams built around the best players from the Caribou Trail League and the GSL are hopeless romantics. There likely will never be another Caribou Trail player as good as Pendo. Ammo was probably the second best player in the history of the GSL--I don't expect to see a player from the GSL be the college player of the year again in my lifetime. The Zags will consistently do better and go farther with players like Ronny Turiaf, Elias Harris, Matt Bouldin and Gary Bell.

CDC84
05-25-2010, 07:58 AM
I'll add another thing: 4) the '99 Zags got play their first two NCAA tourney games in Seattle. I don't think that made a big difference against Minnesota (who was just too depleted), but it made a huge difference in the Stanford game. It's questionable whether that game would occur in the modern era with the new pod system in place.

WeSayZed
05-25-2010, 08:39 AM
I think Mark Few has always tried to get the best basketball players he can get, and that's a great philosophy. In '99 those were the best athletes he could get. He wasn't "trying" to just recruit locally. When there are great basketball players in Washington and Oregon Few goes after them. Bell is local, Dranginis is pretty local (Idaho), Wiltjer from Oregon (let's hope we get him). I think Mark Few wants to have the best team every year, and he and his staff go all out to recruit the best athletes that they can get to try to be the 'best" ever. If it takes going overseas to get "the best" I'm all for it. I really like Rob Sacre, and Turiof was an all-time Zag Favorite. And how about the new kids, Harris, Olynyk, Arop, Kong? I think we fans sometimes forget how young the Zags were last year. Last year may have been the greatest coaching job that Few and his staff has ever done. In terms of being a successful team, I'd say last years team may have been one of the most successful teams in years. They went way beyond what most fans expected. Let's give them the credit they deserve.

I don't agree with the fans that are unable to see how great of an achievement it is to reach the Sweet 16. And to have done it as often as Mark Few has is unbelievable really. You have to have a really good team to make it to the Sweet 16. Really good. To even think that just because we haven't gone beyond that since '99 somehow makes the staff's recruiting flawed, is just ludicrous (rediculous). Come on, guys. Few and his staff our great recruiters. And the recruiting process has been very succussful, and it still is. Do I like going out of state to get players? Heck yeah. Do I like going out of the country? Heck yeah. Just think about all the wonderful memories that we would NOT HAVE if Few had not recruited out of state, or even out of the Pacific Northwest.

Are you aware that Sacre, Kong and KO all come from places that are geographically as close or closer to Spokane than the cities Dranginis and Wiltjer come from? Arop comes from a little farther away in Edmonton, but Edmonton and Calgary have a small but significant special relationship with Spokane, as anyone who is a fan of KSPS probably knows. Anyone living in Edmonton, Calgary, or most of the rest of Alberta for that matter, who has a basic cable package gets the 4 main American channels from Spokane, and that means that we get KHQ including the Zags games and the Mark Few show.

MDABE80
05-25-2010, 09:39 AM
Angelo said.."The elite 8 run in '99 was, in my opinion, largely the result of (1) Gonzaga getting hot at the right time; (2) extremely favorable matchups in the tournament; and (3) luck". <these items could happen to us again but haven't. And why not for current teams?

My friend....the above hasn't happened since...but it happens to other teams every year.
Despite that, the 99 team came through. One could argue that every team since hasn't had that "luck". Maybe so...but isn't luck random? Of course it is...that's the nature of "luck". Everyone has an equal shot at it. I guess one question might be....why no luck since? Or have we had lots of luck just getting back to the Swt 16? Luck comes in many forms too...a 1/2 cm tip ( Casey) wins while injury bad luck (Matt) occurs too.

Whether the talent is better or whether luck hasn't intervened since....well...that's up for grabs. One thing is clear though...talent vs luck or combinations thereof haven't yielded the same E8 team results since 99.

We have better physical skills now but do the results we see nowadays measure up? Doesn't seem so on the surface anyway. Could it be that better athletic skills don't coincide with "team" concepts thus generating inferior results? Wyoming crushes us..but we had better talent; Nevada crushes us but we had better talent....and so on.

The question become this then: If we have better talent/athletes, why haven't we achieved the same success? Has the rest of the college BB world gotten that much better? How is it possible that the 99 and 06 teams fared best with less talent than we have now? I don't know the answer but I do know it's a lot more than "luck"...unless "bad" luck counts disproportionately. Also though..the lesser talented teams did the best. Could it be that moderate/above average talent generates the best "heart" when it comes to a team? Or were our very successful teams loaded with talent but it wasn't recognised? Not sure but all those characterisitics above generated superior results. Why not now with the better athletes? Dunno...Maybe God had a plan and somehow visited the 99 team to begin this whole thing for reasons only he knows. Hey you athiests!..it could happen;)

2wiceright
05-25-2010, 10:21 AM
As Angelo stated and Abe quoted, the '99 team had skill, favorable matchups, and good "luck". We all hate to be reminded the '06 team 'shoulda, woulda' made it to elite 8 or further if it only had a little magic "luck" in the final minute (seconds).

One thing we should remember as well, the '99 team had the cinderalla advantage which Gonzaga will never have again (barring 12 years of not making the Tourney). So, as with human nature- they had the advantage of being overlooked (which helped them get deeper in the tourney). Today, even the biggest BCS schools know they had better "bring it" when Gonzaga comes to town. So, when we are next in the position (this year!) to win a Sweet 16 or an elite 8 game, it will be because we have the better team-and probably favorible matchups and a little "luck". :)

PeninsulaDog
05-25-2010, 10:41 AM
Angelo makes some great points. That '99 team was also loaded with talent: Richie Frahm was a legitimate NBA player, Santangelo was awfully close to NBA-caliber, and the team had solid, hard-nosed, skilled role-players in Calvary, Eaton, Nilson, Dench and Spink. And Quentin Hall's contribution during that run can't be overstated -- he audaciously stepped-up and hit some huge shots particularly in the Stanford game. That tournament was the perfect storm for the Zags: Talented team, favorable early matchups (Minnesota, Stanford), and lucky bounces (Florida). A couple of additional made free-throws in the second half against UConn, and the Zags would have been in the Final Four.

GUDan07
05-25-2010, 11:18 AM
We all hate to be reminded the '06 team 'shoulda, woulda' made it to elite 8 or further if it only had a little magic "luck" in the final minute (seconds).

Luck was not needed, composure would have done just fine.

zag67
05-25-2010, 11:38 AM
As was stated the "99" team was a cinderella team. Since then I think that there have been times where we could have gone farther, but for 1) SOME bad luck 2) Tournament committee playing GU against another top mid majors (like Davidson) 3) Team having injuries (even last year Arop, before Sacre, Josh, ....)

Now, all of these will be happening every year. So we (like the players and coaches) have to accept some of them. But I think that we have more players with top level skills and therefore team injuries should not be as damaging. I like the mix of players that the coaches have been working to get and I also have to understand that players like GG and GJ want to play more. I think that GU is trying to build a "team" and in most cases it takes a player multiple years to integrate into the "team" This is because there will be other players that have a better understanding of the system (one player in the wrong position can make a play fail). As far as the tournament committee trying to have as many good games on that first week, well we have to play better during the year and therefore end up higher to get a protected seed. And lastly the bad luck needs to be overcome by building bigger leads so that they are not close enough to allow luck to affect the final result.

CDC84
05-25-2010, 02:39 PM
One of the things that's worth noting about Santangelo is that as an upperclassmen, his shooting stats during the regular season weren't all that great:

1998/99 = 37.5% FG, 38.1% 3PT
1999/00 = 37.3% FG, 33.5% 3PT

He was also very streaky in March. But the guy made big plays.

sittingon50
05-25-2010, 03:42 PM
Really?

kdaleb
05-25-2010, 04:42 PM
Are you aware that Sacre, Kong and KO all come from places that are geographically as close or closer to Spokane than the cities Dranginis and Wiltjer come from? Arop comes from a little farther away in Edmonton, but Edmonton and Calgary have a small but significant special relationship with Spokane, as anyone who is a fan of KSPS probably knows. Anyone living in Edmonton, Calgary, or most of the rest of Alberta for that matter, who has a basic cable package gets the 4 main American channels from Spokane, and that means that we get KHQ including the Zags games and the Mark Few show.

Had the same thought about our Canadian quartet, but I didn't realize that the Spokane channels had that kind of reach up into Alberta. Very cool.

Reborn
05-25-2010, 04:55 PM
Gone are the days of true total teamwork (by 100&#37; of everyone on the team) for the sake of school honor, and not getting into the NBA. I am most certainly not saying no-one is giving 100% for the team and don't think at all about the NBA, but I am saying there will always be 1 or 2 who have the NBA as the top goal and that affects the overall chemistry and expectation level.


I totally DISAGREE with this analyses. If it were true the North Carolina's, the Duke's, the UCONN's and UCLA'S would never win a national championships. The fact of the matter may be that if we do NOT get a couple 4 or 5 star athletes on our team we many NOT ever win a national championship. Maybe the fact that we haven't made it to the final 4 or won a national championship is because we have NOT had the so called players with big egos. Coaches on the best teams know how to get these guys with big egos to play for the team. You don't win national championships with guys with BIG EGOS. To win at the highest level DOES take playing with total teamwork. Sorry. Let's keep getting better and better players and let Mark Few deal with the egos.

WeSayZed
05-25-2010, 08:31 PM
Had the same thought about our Canadian quartet, but I didn't realize that the Spokane channels had that kind of reach up into Alberta. Very cool.
The fact that we get Spokane stations is kind of an accident of how the cable system was first set up in this country many decades ago, but it’s a happy accident for Albertans who are fans of Gonzaga basketball. When cable television was first introduced a half century or so ago all the basic cable packages included all the main American channels including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS and later Fox, and the way they did this was to bring in the signal from the nearest city south of the border. In Vancouver I’m sure they get the American stations from Seattle, and iirc most of Ontario gets the Detroit stations. Winnipeg gets its stations from Minneapolis, etc. In Alberta the cable companies brought in the signal from Spokane, and they still do. Manny’s mother in Edmonton, if she has cable television, can watch all the Zags coverage on KHQ, KREM, KAYU and KXLY, if I’ve remembered them all correctly. Most Albertans don’t watch the Spokane news shows, but they could if they wanted to, and if you’re a Zags fan you can watch the sportscasts and keep up with the team. We don’t get SWX – and I’m not even quite sure what that is – but we get all your major stations, and we could watch Stephanie Vigil, or whoever, give the Spokane newscast every day if we wanted to.

As a footnote, usually the channels are brought in from major American cities, but this isn’t the case with Spokane, and that has led to the fairly unique situation that the PBS station KSPS is in. Calgary and Edmonton both have over 1 million people, and this means that a large percentage of KSPS’s viewers, and as it turns out contributors, are Canadians. If you’ve ever watched KSPS’s fund raising drives they’re aimed at Canadians as much as Americans, and KSPS even calls itself, “Public Television for the Inland Northwest and Canada - Spokane, Calgary, Edmonton.”

rawkmandale
05-25-2010, 11:03 PM
God, I love Canada. Especially their National Anthem. I only rooted for Norway in the Olympics Curling finals because I'm a Norwegian American, not because I didn't like the winning Canadian team. Congratulations.

Have you ever driven from Vancouver to Calgary? What an amazing drive. I was Blessed to drive the Columbia Loop from Revelstoke to Golden before the Mica Creek Dam was finished. I did that in 1971, as my parents did on their honeymoon in 1947. It was flooded in 1973. Awesome country.

Go Canada!

WeSayZed
05-27-2010, 09:32 AM
God, I love Canada. Especially their National Anthem. I only rooted for Norway in the Olympics Curling finals because I'm a Norwegian American, not because I didn't like the winning Canadian team. Congratulations.

Have you ever driven from Vancouver to Calgary? What an amazing drive. I was Blessed to drive the Columbia Loop from Revelstoke to Golden before the Mica Creek Dam was finished. I did that in 1971, as my parents did on their honeymoon in 1947. It was flooded in 1973. Awesome country.

Go Canada!
Thanks! Albertans love Norwegians too - you can thank Bj&#248;rnar H&#229;kensmoen for that - so no hard feelings.

I've driven to Vancouver from Calgary many times. My favourite route is the southern one on highway 3. That route takes you past the Frank Slide and the Hope Slide, and through Trail and Osoyoos, but there really is no way to go through the mountains and not be amazed.