View Full Version : CAN'T MISS

03-05-2014, 05:17 PM
The other night on ESPN they were showing the starting five for the Zags and something blew me away: Kevin Pangos....Junior. Kevin is in the midst of his third year in Spokane, already! Under the moniker CDools we have contributed to GUBoards over the past three years and are excited to make our way on Friday to Vegas for our first WCC tourney. With an obvious bias and slant toward our beloved son from Newmarket, Ontario we are excited about everything Zags. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce the Zags Nation to a blog that we have started in support of a project we are working on about KP. Our project is called CAN'T MISS and is motivated by books we have read on success and what it takes to be successful. Books like "Outliers," "The Talent Code," and most recently Jay Bilas' " Toughness" have motivated this project to be undertaken. Check out the blog at http://cantmissblog.blogspot.ca/.

We are looking for contributions to our blog from the Zags faithful and to start we are asking a question to be explored: If you have read
" Toughness" ( and if you haven't I would highly recommend it) does this year's Zags team, with all the injuries and illness, the convoluted schedule where they played four league games before the students were in class in January, not embody many of the factors that Bilas speaks of when he talks Toughness. More directly, do you think Kevin Pangos, after the great start in Maui and then the most famous Turf Toe in America and the subsequent decrease in the level of performance he is used to, show a lot of toughness when he fought through all of this and still was named All WCC? Thanks in advance.

03-05-2014, 05:37 PM
Zags have definitely showed toughness this year. Not sure if Bilas believes that. He just dropped us to #30 in his polls.

03-09-2014, 08:06 AM
Zags have definitely showed toughness this year. Not sure if Bilas believes that. He just dropped us to #30 in his polls.
The pollsters aren't the ones whose opinions and thoughts we are after... The Zags gutted out a win last night and I was sitting in section 115 and could feel the tension and passion in the crowd. It was almost like a home game as the crowd rose to its feet on almost every possession in the last five minutes. Looking at last night and the whole season; does this team not show the 'Toughness' Bilas refers to in his book. Not perfect, but tough. Winning a game perhaps they coulda/ shoulda lost. Taking a team's best shot and pulling it out on the back of Sam's FT's and David's gutsy finish. Survive and Advance is also a part of toughness...

03-09-2014, 10:05 AM
Nice idea, you are using the internet to its exact purpose.

I haven't read the literature you recommend, so my definition of toughness might be a bit off....but there are a few things about this team and this season in general that to me scream "toughness".

One, this is supposed to be a "rebuilding year". I'm not just talking about the opinions of fans and commentators, the players know it as well. The roster lost quite a bit of talent from last year - forcing guys like Karno, Coleman, Nunez, even Edwards to come in at not only win...but to win on basically their first try.

Consider this - Our bigs averaged less than 40 D1 min/game last year - That Karnowski, Dower, Barham, Nunez, and Edwards taken TOGETHER. This year they average over 80 min/game. That's a huge step-up in responsibility. And what was the result of this extra playing time? A more efficient front line - Increasing productivity from 17.5 pts and 7.4 rbs/game to 37 pts and 20.8 rbs/game.
Few: Hey bigs, we're going to double your minutes, but in exchange we need triple the rebounds. Bigs: No problem.
That's tough to do in one year, every player stepped up, and the team needed every bit of it.

Looking at the whole roster, there are only three players that have EVER gotten consistent starters minutes (20+/game) at any point in their careers. Pangos and Bell of course, and then Coleman (2 years ago and 3000 miles away at Providence). Think of what this does to your opponent's mentality: There is a huge payoff for beating Gonzaga, but now you are playing against guys you've never really heard of...guys who haven't proven they can beat you before. Well, this year many of our players came in cold and proved they could win just like the last decade+ of GU teams. That's tough.

The second issue is injuries. The selection committee (is supposed to) go easy on teams that lose when key players are temporarily out with injury. Dower (Kansas State) and Bell (Portland) are definitely key players. However, I haven't really heard coaches/players/media/or even fans making excuses for the Zags this season. That's a kind of toughness too, this team believes it ought to win even with it's second string.

The two games mentioned are the only losses where key players were knocked completely out, but how many games did the Zags WIN with hobbled player(s)? The NCAA doesn't give extra credit for that, but this team deserves it. Dower came back less than 100%, Pangos has played 75% of the season visibly injured. Bell is never 100%. Stockton and some others were plagued by illness.
Karnowski is a special case, getting better and better as the year goes on...at times the only legitimate active big on the roster (OK, Edwards counts)...he seems to have taken copious amounts of punishment and avoided injury. That's toughness too - he has flipped his freshmen season on its head - where stamina, strength and consistency were weaknesses for Karno, they are now assets.

This is starting to look more like a review of the season...I hope I have the same attitude when the season is over. From what I've seen, I expect the Zags to compete for the WCC tourney title and advance in the NCAA tourney.

Rebuilding years don't just happen automatically. That is, new inexperienced players don't just get better automatically with an increase in playing time. This year's Zags team has successfully rebuilt themselves. This postseason looks promising, and next year looks REALLY promising.