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Radbooks
09-25-2007, 11:00 AM
Jay Bilas has a lengthy blurb about Gonzaga in his column on ESPN today and I thought it was interesting so I'm copying it here. I thought he made some good points. (Bob, if you'd rather have me just link to stuff like this, please let me know!)


The Next Gonzaga

Whenever a school from a non-BCS conference has success, I am always asked whether that school can be the "next Gonzaga". Last season, I was asked that question about George Mason. Earlier this week, I was asked that question about Davidson. A bunch of coaches on the mid-major level have gotten fired over that question, and the fact is because it is a silly one. The question is the same as asking whether a player could be the "next Jordan". Gonzaga has done something that is almost impossible to duplicate elsewhere, for which there is no blueprint. The Zags have a good tradition, great continuity in coaches and mind-blowing support. Gonzaga was doing it their way and the right way -- and well before any of us caught on -- when Dan Monson and the Zags made their run to the Elite Eight in 1999. In less than 10 years, what Gonzaga has accomplished in Spokane has been nothing short of incredible, with conference titles, NCAA appearances, and a reputation that requires a "storming of the court" if you beat them.

But, it is folly to suggest that we should expect that sort of success from other programs in similar conferences. What Gonzaga has done with its limited size and resources has never really been done before, and may never be done again. When Gonzaga burst onto the scene and stayed there, which school did we compare it to? Gonzaga was the next & who? The answer is nobody, because no team from the mid-major level had ever done it in the modern game. The program that has come the closest to Gonzaga's success over the past decade has been Southern Illinois. The Salukis have been consistent winners in the Missouri Valley Conference, have had great support and a great consistency of coaches. I cannot wait to get to Carbondale this season to see the Salukis, or the "closest thing to Gonzaga".

TexasZagFan
09-25-2007, 11:05 AM
The Zags have a good tradition, great continuity in coaches and mind-blowing support.

HE FORGOT ABOUT THE FOO!!! :mecry:

ZagMania
09-25-2007, 11:16 AM
Well put by Bilas.

CDC84
09-25-2007, 11:35 AM
From Mike D. as well......

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=200829


Gonzaga's success was the result of unique circumstances. The Pacific Northwest has a fraction of the Division I schools located in other regions but no shortage of talent. In recruiting outside of that region, Gonzaga aggressively traded on the brand name engendered by tournament success. Until assistant Billy Grier became San Diego's head coach last month, the core of Gonzaga's excellent staff had been kept intact.

It should also be pointed out that Gonzaga replaced Grier with Ray Giacolleti, who has been a head coach at two D-1 programs.

The problem I have with Bilas is that what he's talking about is the EXACT reason why Gonzaga shouldn't be called a mid major, and yet he insists that they are. The Zags enjoy media, television and recruiting clout (especially) that no non-BCS team besides Memphis has, and there is really nothing that a Southern Illinois or a George Mason can do about it given the geographic locations of their schools and such. In fact, the Zags enjoy media, television and recruiting clout that most major conference teams in basketball don't enjoy. The fact that their athletic department budget isn't as big as Iowa or an Iowa State is irrelevant. Basketball is a unique sport, and the Zags are a unique program.

cbbfanatic
09-25-2007, 12:37 PM
very well said by bilas - for a duke guy he's not all bad.

it has been a perfect storm of so many things that have put GU where it is - would be very tough to duplicate - not sure there is really room for 2 gonzagas anyway.

CDC, "mid major" doesnt have to be looked upon as a negative thing (in large part thanks to schools like gu, memphis and siu). all it means is that the school doesnt play its conference ball in the big east, acc, pac10, big 10, big 12, or sec. doesnt mean you cant be successful, and doesnt ALWAYS put you at a significant disadvantage either.

jazzdelmar
09-25-2007, 01:01 PM
he's damning with faint praise.....still a BCS homer.....same kind of patronizing that elite disabled athletes are subject to........"oh look at them, they are (almost) as good as us, how noble and inspiring".....dont buy it GU fans

cbbfanatic
09-25-2007, 01:11 PM
he's damning with faint praise.....still a BCS homer.....same kind of patronizing that elite disabled athletes are subject to........"oh look at them, they are (almost) as good as us, how noble and inspiring".....dont buy it GU fans

honestly, i think youre reading too deeply into it. kinda taking on the role of having a victims mentality/inferiority complex.

enjoy the praise and attention, seems pretty genuine to me. this doesnt sound AT ALL like BCS homer talk to me. if all BCS homers looked as kindly upon gonzaga as this piece does...

ZagNative
09-25-2007, 01:18 PM
I thought it was a great piece, with no hint of anything but respect for the Zags.

23dpg
09-25-2007, 01:36 PM
me2

Robzagnut
09-25-2007, 02:06 PM
>The problem I have with Bilas is that what he's talking about is the EXACT reason why Gonzaga shouldn't be called a mid major

You make it sound like being a mid major is a bad thing. GU will always be a mid major as long as it plays in a mid major conference.

Much better to be the mid major program that everyone strives to become rather than the major (UW) that dodges them.


>I thought it was a great piece, with no hint of anything but respect for the Zags.

Yup.

CDC84
09-25-2007, 02:15 PM
CDC, "mid major" doesnt have to be looked upon as a negative thing (in large part thanks to schools like gu, memphis and siu). all it means is that the school doesnt play its conference ball in the big east, acc, pac10, big 10, big 12, or sec. doesnt mean you cant be successful, and doesnt ALWAYS put you at a significant disadvantage either.

You're missing the point. Gonzaga has things going for it - whether it be recruiting clout, television or media (now even a gulf stream jet) - that SIU, Wichita State and others outside of the BCS leagues (except Memphis) simply don't have. If you label Gonzaga as a mid major, you are actually diminishing the accomplishments of a Southern Illinois or Creighton, but most of all, you are putting unfair pressure on other programs outside of the BCS leagues that are trying to build winning traditions. To expect those programs to do what Gonzaga has done is crazy, and yet as Mike D. is talking about, coaches are getting fired like mad because of it. Personally, I could care less about what Gonzaga is called....I care about the programs that are being compared to them as a result of giving the Zags the mid major tag.

The bottom line is that Gonzaga is at a stage right now where they are simply playing with a different deck of cards than other programs outside of the BCS leagues besides Memphis. I am not talking about performance on the court here....a program like Southern Illinois has proven it can compete against the big dogs, and I can name many teams from the BCS leagues I'd rather play than SIU. I am talking about the inherent advantages that Gonzaga has when it comes to getting players and promoting their program. It's just something that SIU is likely never going to have due to their school's location and the amount of BCS teams that they have battle against to get players and TV/media exposure. And that's SIU...imagine how much of a challenge it is for a Radford or Texas-San Antonio.

I dislike the major/mid major tag as much as anyone. But if it is going to be used by people, and if you are going to start expecting Sun Belt and SWAC programs to start doing a Gonzaga, and then fire their coaches when they don't, the truth needs to be told about how Gonzaga's program is unique, where they stand on the pecking order, and how a carbon copy just isn't going to happen.

BobZag
09-25-2007, 02:23 PM
Jay Bilas has a lengthy blurb about Gonzaga in his column on ESPN today and I thought it was interesting so I'm copying it here. I thought he made some good points. (Bob, if you'd rather have me just link to stuff like this, please let me know!)


The Next Gonzaga

Whenever a school from a non-BCS conference has success, I am always asked whether that school can be the "next Gonzaga". Last season, I was asked that question about George Mason. Earlier this week, I was asked that question about Davidson. A bunch of coaches on the mid-major level have gotten fired over that question, and the fact is because it is a silly one. The question is the same as asking whether a player could be the "next Jordan". Gonzaga has done something that is almost impossible to duplicate elsewhere, for which there is no blueprint. The Zags have a good tradition, great continuity in coaches and mind-blowing support. Gonzaga was doing it their way and the right way -- and well before any of us caught on -- when Dan Monson and the Zags made their run to the Elite Eight in 1999. In less than 10 years, what Gonzaga has accomplished in Spokane has been nothing short of incredible, with conference titles, NCAA appearances, and a reputation that requires a "storming of the court" if you beat them.

But, it is folly to suggest that we should expect that sort of success from other programs in similar conferences. What Gonzaga has done with its limited size and resources has never really been done before, and may never be done again. When Gonzaga burst onto the scene and stayed there, which school did we compare it to? Gonzaga was the next & who? The answer is nobody, because no team from the mid-major level had ever done it in the modern game. The program that has come the closest to Gonzaga's success over the past decade has been Southern Illinois. The Salukis have been consistent winners in the Missouri Valley Conference, have had great support and a great consistency of coaches. I cannot wait to get to Carbondale this season to see the Salukis, or the "closest thing to Gonzaga".

Including the link with your favorite part is always the best way to go.

BobZag
09-25-2007, 02:41 PM
"Gonzaga's success was the result of unique circumstances. The Pacific Northwest has a fraction of the Division I schools located in other regions but no shortage of talent." -Mike D.

True. See Steven Gray. But as we've learned, not all Seattle-Tacoma area kids buy into Gonzaga. That said, there is a distinct possibility our 2008 backcourt class could hail from Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas (or thereabouts). That is national.

drnoe
09-25-2007, 02:46 PM
>GU will always be a mid major as long as it plays in a mid major conference.

The way I see it is that GU is a major program that happens to play in a mid-major conference. Their record of the past decade and their impressive current and future pipeline of elite players prove this out.

lothar98zag
09-25-2007, 03:30 PM
The way I see it is that GU is a major program that happens to play in a mid-major conference. Their record of the past decade and their impressive current and future pipeline of elite players prove this out.
+1

CDC84
09-25-2007, 03:54 PM
"Gonzaga's success was the result of unique circumstances. The Pacific Northwest has a fraction of the Division I schools located in other regions but no shortage of talent." -Mike D.

True. See Steven Gray. But as we've learned, not all Seattle-Tacoma area kids buy into Gonzaga. That said, there is a distinct possibility our 2008 backcourt class could hail from Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas (or thereabouts). That is national.

Gonzaga's geographic location also greatly assisted in the recruitment of Heytvelt, Pendo, Mallon and Stepp (especially the first two). But more importantly, if you go back several years ago, it helped them "hide" players who I don't think they could've kept hidden if the university were located in Chicago or Charlotte. The geographic isolation allowed Few (especially) and other GU staff to develop relationships and recruiting networks that I just don't think are possible for other programs to develop who are trying to do what Gonzaga has done, but in an area that is congested with dozens and dozens of Division One programs...especially BCS ones.

That all being said, Gonzaga certainly still has its own hurdles - Seattle/Tacoma being one. But they are of a different variety than what faces the average non-BCS program.

maineblackbear
09-25-2007, 04:17 PM
i am aurprised that no-one (I may have missed it in my perusing) has mentioned one of the other advantages GU has that other mid-major schools do not have (including SIU--sorry Gonzdb8) is that our academics is top notch-- in football (DI) where the # of schools competing is 1/3 that of NCAA basketball, the Stanfords, Northwesterns (and many of he Big-10 schools) are at a disadvantage because of the academic onus-- here in basketball land with a much larger field to compete against in recruiting the academics becomes a HUGE plus.... so we compete well against BCS basketball schools in terms of athletics and outshine academic schools (read WCC and others) in academics... it is a huge double whammy for others to overcome, and the reason why we are the mid major in our own league.... mbb

MickMick
09-25-2007, 04:45 PM
Legend creates expectation. The national sports writers aren't exclaiming "Whats wrong with Washington State football?" But they are saying that about Notre Dame football....and have been saying it for about a decade.

If (Lord forbid) Gonzaga ever hits rock bottom, I would expect the same type of reaction. In my mind, we are in the midst of Sports Legend and Mark Few is our version of Knute Rockne. Fifty years from now, Gonzaga coaches will be compared to Saint Few.

Take it all in and appreciate it while it is there.

cbbfanatic
09-25-2007, 04:48 PM
mbb

not sure i follow your point. are you saying GU is superior academically to most other mid majors or high majors - and how again is this a boon basketball-wise?

i'm not saying that GU isnt a solid academic institution, i'm just not sure i am following...

also, and i think this should be noted in any academic discussion, are the players that gonzaga pursues typically big into the academic side of things, given GU's relatively unimpressive graduation rate?

lothar98zag
09-25-2007, 04:53 PM
mbb

not sure i follow your point. are you saying GU is superior academically to most other mid majors or high majors - and how again is this a boon basketball-wise?

i'm not saying that GU isnt a solid academic institution, i'm just not sure i am following...

also, and i think this should be noted in any academic discussion, are the players that gonzaga pursues typically big into the academic side of things, given GU's relatively unimpressive graduation rate?
grad rate? huh?

Last I heard GU's APR (what the NCAA cares about) was above average...

:confused:

maineblackbear
09-25-2007, 05:37 PM
cbb says: not sure i follow your point. are you saying GU is superior academically to most other mid majors or high majors - and how again is this a boon basketball-wise?

mbb says: I am saying that GU is academically superior to most high majors and athletically superior to virtually if not all mid-majors (currently-- I agree wholeheartedly with above poster that says we need to enjoy the present). That gives us an impressive two stroke punch that allows us to compete with anyone.

cbb says:
i'm not saying that GU isnt a solid academic institution, i'm just not sure i am following...

also, and i think this should be noted in any academic discussion, are the players that gonzaga pursues typically big into the academic side of things, given GU's relatively unimpressive graduation rate?

mbb says: GU players, and more importantly their parents, know that GUs academics are excellent-- certainly this plays a part in the choice that many academically gifted/athletically gifted students might make.... While we (GU) are willing to recruit students with some academic question-marks, it does appear that we do not recruit people who cannot succeed here-- we recruit (it appears) those who are able to hack our beloved academic core. (extra credit to those who get the Full Metal Jacket AND Gonzaga academic reference :-)

So, my conclusion is that we can offer both academics and competitive success at a level that others cannot. Not all others-- for example, Stanford, Notre Dame--many others we could all name-- but we have outshown both of those athletically for the last ten years, so it seems fair to say that we have the 'best' of both worlds... (which is also why in the back of my heart I really respect ACC schools-- UNC, Duke, Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech-all top flight academically while competitive scholastically--right now because of the special alignments of the planets, we get to compete with those in both categories)....

Graduation rate is a game NCAA plays with political overtones and is over-rated and often times has little to do with academic quality--though I will acknowledge it does help with the correction of some egregious practices. I just don't like it as a measuring stick....

mbb

ZaginLaw
09-25-2007, 05:57 PM
Bilas and NCAA graduation rate in the thread! I can't wait for November!

CDC - I better understand your arguement with Bilas that has continued from the previous forum and given the jet your arguement is better.

However, Bilas has always qualified mid-major to also mean budget as well. For instance Oregon State's basketball budget is substantially higher than GU's. I think it even dwarfs it. He also says it's not bad to be called a mid-major.

I liken it to being a large cap or small cap company. Small caps don't have the budgets and resources of a large caps can compete and even make more money (profit percentage and even net) than large caps. Remember - Duke is a large cap company.

With all the press Grier gets for talking about GU's success was a long and very patient road (GU's "secret") I think it's funny that all the coaches who don't instantly succeed "like GU" fall by the wayside. Sort of like the rock band who plays for 20 years and then goes national and get's the moniker of "instant success".

Can't wait for this season.

Just win baby......

CDC84
09-25-2007, 07:15 PM
http://web1.ncaa.org/app_data/apr2006/260_2006_apr.pdf

Gonzaga men's basketball has a APR rating of 960 from 2003-2006. That's well above the national averages for public institutions (927) and private institutions (947). It's also near the top of the WCC.

The APR is all that matters now. Grad rates are a thing of the past with the NCAA. Under the old system, Gonzaga wouldn't have gotten credit for graduating JP Batista (a juco transfer) - a guy who was a decorated student at GU.

cbbfanatic
09-25-2007, 08:24 PM
cbb says: not sure i follow your point. are you saying GU is superior academically to most other mid majors or high majors - and how again is this a boon basketball-wise?

mbb says: I am saying that GU is academically superior to most high majors and athletically superior to virtually if not all mid-majors (currently-- I agree wholeheartedly with above poster that says we need to enjoy the present). That gives us an impressive two stroke punch that allows us to compete with anyone.

cbb says:
i'm not saying that GU isnt a solid academic institution, i'm just not sure i am following...

also, and i think this should be noted in any academic discussion, are the players that gonzaga pursues typically big into the academic side of things, given GU's relatively unimpressive graduation rate?

mbb says: GU players, and more importantly their parents, know that GUs academics are excellent-- certainly this plays a part in the choice that many academically gifted/athletically gifted students might make.... While we (GU) are willing to recruit students with some academic question-marks, it does appear that we do not recruit people who cannot succeed here-- we recruit (it appears) those who are able to hack our beloved academic core. (extra credit to those who get the Full Metal Jacket AND Gonzaga academic reference :-)

So, my conclusion is that we can offer both academics and competitive success at a level that others cannot. Not all others-- for example, Stanford, Notre Dame--many others we could all name-- but we have outshown both of those athletically for the last ten years, so it seems fair to say that we have the 'best' of both worlds... (which is also why in the back of my heart I really respect ACC schools-- UNC, Duke, Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech-all top flight academically while competitive scholastically--right now because of the special alignments of the planets, we get to compete with those in both categories)....

Graduation rate is a game NCAA plays with political overtones and is over-rated and often times has little to do with academic quality--though I will acknowledge it does help with the correction of some egregious practices. I just don't like it as a measuring stick....

mbb

ok, fair enough, thanks for the solid explanation - all good points.

not sure i wholeheartedly agree that GU is better than MOST high majors academically (at least, not in perception), because the big state schools (research 1 schools) have such vast resource advantages (and most private high majors are top notch as well), but then again, student athletes at those schools can hide out in cakewalk majors more easily. tough issue, that one - too many angles.

just kinda playing devils advocate i guess - either way, we can agree that academics arent hurting gonzaga at all

kitzbuel
09-26-2007, 05:49 AM
GU can always honestly play the Jesuit trump card. That bears a lot of weight in and of itself. Anecdotally, when ever I inform people who do not know that it is Jesuit, I inevitably get a raised eyebrow 'Oh!' reaction.