PDA

View Full Version : Am I the Only One?



thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-03-2016, 02:29 PM
I know, I know...call me paranoid. But am I the only one who is always a little worried, in the back of my mind, that this run of amazing success at GU is tenuous?

I mean, a couple of bad years or some NCAA violation, and is it possible that we start slipping and, waaaay down the road, the clock strikes midnight and we go back to being San Diego or Santa Clara? Or maybe Coach Few leaves in 15 years and make a mistake hiring his replacement and poof there it goes?

I know it sounds ridiculous, but there's just no way we're good every year for the rest of eternity.

23dpg
04-03-2016, 02:33 PM
I use to feel that way 10-12 years ago. Figured it was inevitable that UW would overtake Gonzaga, get all the good recruits and the Zags would settle back into their niche like every mid major before and after has done.

But not anymore. A generation of results is a pretty good indicator.

gonzagafan62
04-03-2016, 02:49 PM
Yes. It's a hard climb but the fall is easy. Take nothing for granted and enjoy the run.

krozman
04-03-2016, 02:50 PM
A conversation best had in 25 years when Mark Few retires.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-03-2016, 02:52 PM
Yes. It's a hard climb but the fall is easy. Take nothing for granted and enjoy the run.

The follow-up question is, let's say, god forbid, something terrible happens and in 25 years, we're back to pre-1999 Gonzaga. Going 5-13 or whatever in the WCC. Make the NCAA Tourney once in a blue moon. Do we — and if so, how — maintain our fandom? That would be SOOOO soul-crushing, wouldn't it?

(Not saying this will happen because we're pretty darn well-established now, but I want to at least acknowledge and be prepared for the possibility.)

gonzagafan62
04-03-2016, 03:02 PM
The follow-up question is, let's say, god forbid, something terrible happens and in 25 years, we're back to pre-1999 Gonzaga. Going 5-13 or whatever in the WCC. Make the NCAA Tourney once in a blue moon. Do we and if so, how maintain our fandom? That would be SOOOO soul-crushing, wouldn't it?

(Not saying this will happen because we're pretty darn well-established now, but I want to at least acknowledge and be prepared for the possibility.)

I've been wearing these hoodies, hats, jackets, sweatshirts, tshirts, underpants and so on for 10 years. Have a wedding ring with a zag bulldog on it. When I say for life I mean it. I don't care if we go 0-30 and have no wins and no TV games. Gonzaga is life.

I do hereby declare however that I'm a bit exhausting. When it comes to my fandom of Gonzaga. Everyone in town knows I'm a zag fan. I'm a bit crazy passionate about sports! A little? PS3 maybe that's crazy for saying that

cggonzaga
04-03-2016, 03:03 PM
My single biggest worry is if Tommy Lloyd was to leave. He's clearly our best recruiter and the players love him. It would be a huge loss imo.

seacatfan
04-03-2016, 03:08 PM
I guess nothing lasts forever, but there's no end in sight for the Zags currently. Xavier doesn't have as long as a consecutive NCAA Tourney streak as GU does, but they've been consistently good for something around the last 25-30 years. A bunch of different coaches during that time frame. GU may very well continue to be a strong program once Few decides to retire.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-03-2016, 03:33 PM
I guess nothing lasts forever, but there's no end in sight for the Zags currently. Xavier doesn't have as long as a consecutive NCAA Tourney streak as GU does, but they've been consistently good for something around the last 25-30 years. A bunch of different coaches during that time frame. GU may very well continue to be a strong program once Few decides to retire.

Xavier's a good example but they're now in the Big East. I feel like everyone in the big conferences at least get SOME whiff of success every now and then (Oregon St., for example). It's cyclical. But the dregs of the WCC/smaller conferences simply never do.

This is the strongest argument for moving conferences, IMO. When you're in the WCC, you're at risk (no matter how small) of complete irrelevance.

gonzagafan62
04-03-2016, 03:50 PM
Xavier's a good example but they're now in the Big East. I feel like everyone in the big conferences at least get SOME whiff of success every now and then (Oregon St., for example). It's cyclical. But the dregs of the WCC/smaller conferences simply never do.

This is the strongest argument for moving conferences, IMO. When you're in the WCC, you're at risk (no matter how small) of complete irrelevance.

Northwestern has never been in or played an NCAA tournament game. On that note, I feel confident in saying: I'm glad we've had the run we've had over the last 20 years.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-03-2016, 04:10 PM
Northwestern has never been in or played an NCAA tournament game. On that note, I feel confident in saying: I'm glad we've had the run we've had over the last 20 years.

True. But let's say college basketball goes on for another 1,000 years. I'm pretty confident saying Northwestern wins at least one championship. EVENTUALLY they'll stumble upon a stretch of 10 great years or something and get it done. San Diego? Weber St.? Hampton? Coppin St.? Hard to see them.

VaBeachZAG
04-03-2016, 04:15 PM
The follow-up question is, let's say, god forbid, something terrible happens and in 25 years, we're back to pre-1999 Gonzaga. Going 5-13 or whatever in the WCC. Make the NCAA Tourney once in a blue moon. Do we — and if so, how — maintain our fandom? That would be SOOOO soul-crushing, wouldn't it?

(Not saying this will happen because we're pretty darn well-established now, but I want to at least acknowledge and be prepared for the possibility.)

Interesting discussion. However, you do realize there are a significant number of posters that likely will have passed beyond this earth in 25 years. How about we revise the discussion to a more realistic (for some of us) time span of, say, 10-11 years :)

MDABE80
04-03-2016, 04:42 PM
People used to say that even after the E 8 and two swt sixteens that followed it. I quit worrying. This past year was easily the scariest.......all year long. Guard play up and own and I always worried about injuries. Plus we really were lucky to pull out the tournament to even get to the NCAA. Few felt the same way. This year, again, was the worst in this regard. I know we'll be fine for the next several years unless a catostrophic event happens. SO no, I don't think about us going to the level of San Diego or Santa Clara............it just won't happen. We're lucky to have a young core of coaches.
I also worry about Tommy going elsewhere.Hope he keeps getting great raises. There will come a day that money won't matter to stay. He'll move on. Sad that day will happen. If you knew Tommy, he's just a nicest guy...smart, dedicated with an obvious eye for talent.....and he works his *ss off to get it here.

willandi
04-03-2016, 04:54 PM
The follow-up question is, let's say, god forbid, something terrible happens and in 25 years, we're back to pre-1999 Gonzaga. Going 5-13 or whatever in the WCC. Make the NCAA Tourney once in a blue moon. Do we — and if so, how — maintain our fandom? That would be SOOOO soul-crushing, wouldn't it?

(Not saying this will happen because we're pretty darn well-established now, but I want to at least acknowledge and be prepared for the possibility.)

In 25 years I'll be 92 and probably senile. Pretty sure I'll still be a Zag fan, even if I don't know who or what they are!

Zag_Dad
04-03-2016, 05:33 PM
The streak of consecutive appearances in the NCAA will come to an end eventually.. it's just bound to happen. However, I really don't see GU fading back to "irrelevant". The reputation of this program and success they have achieved should generate good recruits and good opponents until there is a legnthy fall from "elite" status. I just don't see the team and program failing to compete in that manner. Injuries, bad luck, bad assessment of incoming talent are all factors but it would take a prolonged combination of some or all of these factors to derail Gonzaga.

Just my two cents.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-03-2016, 05:48 PM
The streak of consecutive appearances in the NCAA will come to an end eventually.. it's just bound to happen. However, I really don't see GU fading back to "irrelevant". The reputation of this program and success they have achieved should generate good recruits and good opponents until there is a legnthy fall from "elite" status. I just don't see the team and program failing to compete in that manner. Injuries, bad luck, bad assessment of incoming talent are all factors but it would take a prolonged combination of some or all of these factors to derail Gonzaga.

Just my two cents.

And two very rational, well reasoned cents at that.

BULLDOG#1
04-04-2016, 07:45 AM
As fans, we sometimes forget what a freaky force of nature this Zag run has been. That a little school in eastern washington can achieve and maintain this level of success is nothing short of incredible. Now GU is a destination school for high level transfers and top high school recruits - all the while maintaining Tommy's unbelievable world-wide recruiting success - and looks to be continually growing in momentum, which should lead to better success in the tourney including a final four or NC. This was a year when the zags had heavy blows (lose Pangos and Bell and then Karno for the year) and presented situation where the program would likely miss the tourney. Next thing you know, the boys pull it together and have a sweet-16 (nearly EE) run... what an amazing platform for success that Few has created.

If Sabonis and Karno leave along with Wiltjer -- those losses would cripple most programs. GU will probably be a top 20 team even if all of them leave. That is a testament to what a program Few and co. have built.

That said, nothing lasts forever. Although the Zags are loaded for next year and the foreseeable future, things can change pretty quick. I say enjoy it while we have it and maintain the fan base in the inevitable down times.

zagdontzig
04-04-2016, 08:47 AM
I always wondered that seeing LMU fans circa Hank Gathers still coming to the WCC tournament looking around like "y'all just don't know the pain." I'm an optimist though. I feel like there are enough loyal boosters built in the last 20 years that they won't sit still for more than 4-5 years of NIT appearances. Tommy Lloyd looks like he's getting groomed up well, and athletic department is healthy money-wise. I'm feeling ok about our future.

DixieZag
04-04-2016, 09:10 AM
No one has touched on it directly but another big aspect to sustaining elite level ball, not falling to back to pre-1999, is money. I no longer worry about it with the current coaching staff. Even this year, when it looked like we'd miss the tournament, we had red-shirts and recruits that looked to lock in another run next year.

But, even if we had a couple down years, even if Few were to leave, or Tommy left, the Athletic Department (and the administration) now has the money to invest to do what it takes to get back to that level. Invest in getting the people who can get it done, invest in the students maintaining the excitement and I don't see going back to permanent mediocrity.

Money cannot guarantee elite level basketball, but it can be a big stopgap to any slide.

zagdontzig
04-04-2016, 09:13 AM
No one has touched on it directly but another big aspect to sustaining elite level ball, not falling to back to pre-1999, is money. I no longer worry about it with the current coaching staff. Even this year, when it looked like we'd miss the tournament, we had red-shirts and recruits that looked to lock in another run next year.

But, even if we had a couple down years, even if Few were to leave, or Tommy left, the Athletic Department (and the administration) now has the money to invest to do what it takes to get back to that level. Invest in getting the people who can get it done, invest in the students maintaining the excitement and I don't see going back to permanent mediocrity.

See my post directly before yours. I agree it is critical. But we have some boosters that have started to show endurance, and maybe a bit of the same insecurities we're expressing here. Last years E8 generated another big contribution.

Reborn
04-04-2016, 09:46 AM
Something else to consider is student enrollment. Gonzaga has spent a lot of money to build new buildings to meet the needs of the increased enrollment size that has happened in the last ten - fifteen years. Gonzaga is not the same campus as it was when I graduated in '70. To maintain that upward trend in increased student enrollment, the administration at GU will have to keep the basketball program at it's current level. And after Few and Tommy leave, and that's a long time from now, the administration will need to pay for a top notch coach. I hope to live long enough to see who that would be. He's going to have to b someone very special, like Mark Few. So do I think it will happen. NO!!!

Go Zags!!!

cbbfanatic
04-04-2016, 10:41 AM
I love this kind of macro topic, so here's my somewhat removed-from-the-minutiae, stream of consciousness take...

i agree with the premise that GU's success is tenuous. to a degree, all programs that are high-achieving are doing so on a thin line. even the true elites can fall for a short term, but they can much more easily bounce back. that's what this is all about for me, how would GU bounce back from a slip? well, that's the first part. the second part is: how do they keep up what they've done?

to start, i think you need to assess the higher level factors that could become headwinds, and are more or less inherent to the program. also, this is assuming that gonzaga has already fallen some and needs to rebound. As long as they stay on current trend, these factors are not huge killers, though still not ideal.

for gu, i'd say these are the key risks that you could file as "external factors:"

Spokane: as much as many on here love spokane, it's not going to help gonzaga in the case of slippage, for a couple reasons. first, there is not enough local talent in spokane and surrounding area to recruit a highly competitive team (or even core) locally, and over the long term. how many GSL kids per year, or decade, go on to become big name college bball players? very few. so you have to bring kids in. to that end, it's not overly appealing to the general public that doesnt have a familiarity with the city and area. it's very remote and cold in season. not a destination city for the 18 year old bball star that travels around the country playing in tournaments in all sorts of glamorous locales. even for kids from seattle, its a tougher sell than many, many places in the US. you can even extend GU/Spokane's "local" recruiting territory east through Montana if you'd like, since there is no real local competition for those kids.

Conference: very similar to Spokane, the WCC isnt attracting the kids you need to rebuild from any slip to mediocrity. its not a destination conference, doesn't have glamorous dates on the sched (nice cities, sure, but not big name opponents). i dont see this changing. even if the other teams improve some, there is a very real ceiling. to get to the point where high level kids grow up wanting to play in the WCC feels borderline impossible. if you dont believe this, look at the kids the OTHER wcc teams are bringing in. again, all of this is about a situation where GU needs to climb back (which is seemingly inevitable at some point)

Prestige/Elite"ness": I only bring this one up because someone else mentioned it earlier as something GU could re-build off of should a rebuilding day come (and i disagree with it in that context)... I know this one will be controversial, but should GU fall without getting multiple f4s and maybe a title, the enduring legacy will get washed away with many other programs that have had nice little runs - even if they pale in comparison to what GU has done. Might seem unfair, but you don't build the kind of legacy that attracts 4/5 star kids by going to a handful of s16s and a few e8s. those are great in the moment, but certainly have shelf lives. we've all seen the highlights in some posters signatures, but here's some context behind the 7 s16s and 2 e8s... since 1999, 272 s16 appearances have been earned, 136 to the elite 8, and 68 for the f4. granted that only one per year is available to any given team, but this frames up just how many of these accomplishments have been spread out (albeit very unevenly) across the landscape. for further final four context, since 1999, 32 different teams have gone to the final four. 32. 16 of them have gone more than once. to be even close to elite, i think you'd have to be in that second group of multiple f4 appearance teams.

again, this is all from the angle that GU has to climb the mtn again. i think kids NOW are largely signing up for the CURRENT success. if that goes away, i dont think prestige is cashing the checks. thats just me though

the first two are the big ones to me. the ones that you cant really change.

but GU has been fine on that front for almost 2 decades now, so why can't they continue to stay on track? more to the point, WHAT will cause them to fall?

this begs the question of how GU has stayed where they are for so long... and how risky is that proposition? can they stay on their model for the indefinite future?

So here's how i see Gonzaga's last 15+ years, and how they've stayed so consistent: i also assess a risk to continuing these success factors

Coaching continuity & consistency: say what you want about mark few (that preface would be more directed towards his detractors, obviously), but he really knows how to build a balanced team, both 1-5 and fr-sr, that for the most part looks the same year after year. he also beats the teams they should beat with an INCREDIBLE regularity. His total win pct is absolutely incredible when you back it up against his % against the top 25 (think that's in the low-mid 20s). If his teams had the propensity to drop games to teams they shouldnt, like most teams do, there are some NIT years mixed in there because lets face it, the record against the true top of CBB really isnt all that good. mix in some NIT years, and maybe the allure isnt there for a couple key kids along the way, and maybe they lose the momentum? who knows. what i do know is that the consistency has been amazing. as long as Few is around, i'd say risk of losing this positive attribute is low. no reason to believe he doesnt keep doing what he's doing on this front

"non-traditional" recruiting: most high end teams are built mostly through getting US (really should say north american) HS stars to sign up right out of HS. GU hasnt really done this at a level that coincides with their on-court success, but has really supplemented the HS pipeline with some high quality transfers and foreign players. so many of these guys like batista (my all time favorite), turiaf, some of the early australians, karnowski, sabonis, and more were incredibly important to continuity of success. if ANY of these guys didnt pan out in spades, their teams would have struggled significantly. im sure there are some that didnt pan out, but the success rate in this recruiting channel has to be at or near the top of college bball. the same can be said for high level transfers. knight, dickau, wiltjer, etc. international guys and transfers flop ALL THE TIME. but not at GU. at GU, they've been consistent cornerstones. this is a huge risk to me. if the international well dries up (seems to hinge on one coach), or they miss on some xfers that REALLY need to pan out (one next yr comes to mind), it could be problematic. overall depth of talent is great for WCC, but not for the peer group GU wants to associate with... these non-traditional guys need to keep panning out.

There's a lot more to the success, but the two above i think have been very vital. i think consistency can last as long as few is around, and the aspect of roster building is just always going to be risky (but also always has been, and its worked). once one of those pillars falls, i think GU could be in trouble of losing footing in its current tier. from there, they're fighting location and conference to get back to where they are today. they could do it, but it would take catching lightning in a bottle AGAIN (99-01), and i dont think that's worth betting on. if it was, there would be other gonzagas out there.

for those reasons, they need to capitalize as soon as possible. by capitalize, i mean 3rd wknd of the dance.

Zagdawg
04-04-2016, 11:09 AM
The Spokane community has supported the Gonzaga program in the up years and the "down" years (1st weekend exits)-- it would take an extended period of down time (5-7 years no tourney) related to loss of coaching staff, lack of financial commitment to the program and inability to recruit to the program to contribute to a down period.

With the schools financial commitment, incoming recruits and existing staff-- a downturn does not look to be imminent in the next 3-5 years.

Probably cross the bridge when we come to it-- but worrying over what "could possibly" occur if a good number of negative things lined up related to the program rather than looking at the positive results of what the team did this year-- in a year where we lost 4 of 5 starters from an elite 8 team -- and still got back to a sweet 16.

The "risk factors are minimal" for an imminent downturn.

mgadfly
04-04-2016, 11:12 AM
I love this kind of macro topic, so here's my somewhat removed-from-the-minutiae, stream of consciousness take...

i agree with the premise that GU's success is tenuous. to a degree, all programs that are high-achieving are doing so on a thin line. even the true elites can fall for a short term, but they can much more easily bounce back. that's what this is all about for me, how would GU bounce back from a slip? well, that's the first part. the second part is: how do they keep up what they've done?

to start, i think you need to assess the higher level factors that could become headwinds, and are more or less inherent to the program. also, this is assuming that gonzaga has already fallen some and needs to rebound. As long as they stay on current trend, these factors are not huge killers, though still not ideal.

for gu, i'd say these are the key risks that you could file as "external factors:"

Spokane: as much as many on here love spokane, it's not going to help gonzaga in the case of slippage, for a couple reasons. first, there is not enough local talent in spokane and surrounding area to recruit a highly competitive team (or even core) locally, and over the long term. how many GSL kids per year, or decade, go on to become big name college bball players? very few. so you have to bring kids in. to that end, it's not overly appealing to the general public that doesnt have a familiarity with the city and area. it's very remote and cold in season. not a destination city for the 18 year old bball star that travels around the country playing in tournaments in all sorts of glamorous locales. even for kids from seattle, its a tougher sell than many, many places in the US. you can even extend GU/Spokane's "local" recruiting territory east through Montana if you'd like, since there is no real local competition for those kids.

Conference: very similar to Spokane, the WCC isnt attracting the kids you need to rebuild from any slip to mediocrity. its not a destination conference, doesn't have glamorous dates on the sched (nice cities, sure, but not big name opponents). i dont see this changing. even if the other teams improve some, there is a very real ceiling. to get to the point where high level kids grow up wanting to play in the WCC feels borderline impossible. if you dont believe this, look at the kids the OTHER wcc teams are bringing in. again, all of this is about a situation where GU needs to climb back (which is seemingly inevitable at some point)

Prestige/Elite"ness": I only bring this one up because someone else mentioned it earlier as something GU could re-build off of should a rebuilding day come (and i disagree with it in that context)... I know this one will be controversial, but should GU fall without getting multiple f4s and maybe a title, the enduring legacy will get washed away with many other programs that have had nice little runs - even if they pale in comparison to what GU has done. Might seem unfair, but you don't build the kind of legacy that attracts 4/5 star kids by going to a handful of s16s and a few e8s. those are great in the moment, but certainly have shelf lives. we've all seen the highlights in some posters signatures, but here's some context behind the 7 s16s and 2 e8s... since 1999, 272 s16 appearances have been earned, 136 to the elite 8, and 68 for the f4. granted that only one per year is available to any given team, but this frames up just how many of these accomplishments have been spread out (albeit very unevenly) across the landscape. for further final four context, since 1999, 32 different teams have gone to the final four. 32. 16 of them have gone more than once. to be even close to elite, i think you'd have to be in that second group of multiple f4 appearance teams.

again, this is all from the angle that GU has to climb the mtn again. i think kids NOW are largely signing up for the CURRENT success. if that goes away, i dont think prestige is cashing the checks. thats just me though

the first two are the big ones to me. the ones that you cant really change.

but GU has been fine on that front for almost 2 decades now, so why can't they continue to stay on track? more to the point, WHAT will cause them to fall?

this begs the question of how GU has stayed where they are for so long... and how risky is that proposition? can they stay on their model for the indefinite future?

So here's how i see Gonzaga's last 15+ years, and how they've stayed so consistent: i also assess a risk to continuing these success factors

Coaching continuity & consistency: say what you want about mark few (that preface would be more directed towards his detractors, obviously), but he really knows how to build a balanced team, both 1-5 and fr-sr, that for the most part looks the same year after year. he also beats the teams they should beat with an INCREDIBLE regularity. His total win pct is absolutely incredible when you back it up against his % against the top 25 (think that's in the low-mid 20s). If his teams had the propensity to drop games to teams they shouldnt, like most teams do, there are some NIT years mixed in there because lets face it, the record against the true top of CBB really isnt all that good. mix in some NIT years, and maybe the allure isnt there for a couple key kids along the way, and maybe they lose the momentum? who knows. what i do know is that the consistency has been amazing. as long as Few is around, i'd say risk of losing this positive attribute is low. no reason to believe he doesnt keep doing what he's doing on this front

"non-traditional" recruiting: most high end teams are built mostly through getting US (really should say north american) HS stars to sign up right out of HS. GU hasnt really done this at a level that coincides with their on-court success, but has really supplemented the HS pipeline with some high quality transfers and foreign players. so many of these guys like batista (my all time favorite), turiaf, some of the early australians, karnowski, sabonis, and more were incredibly important to continuity of success. if ANY of these guys didnt pan out in spades, their teams would have struggled significantly. im sure there are some that didnt pan out, but the success rate in this recruiting channel has to be at or near the top of college bball. the same can be said for high level transfers. knight, dickau, wiltjer, etc. international guys and transfers flop ALL THE TIME. but not at GU. at GU, they've been consistent cornerstones. this is a huge risk to me. if the international well dries up (seems to hinge on one coach), or they miss on some xfers that REALLY need to pan out (one next yr comes to mind), it could be problematic. overall depth of talent is great for WCC, but not for the peer group GU wants to associate with... these non-traditional guys need to keep panning out.

There's a lot more to the success, but the two above i think have been very vital. i think consistency can last as long as few is around, and the aspect of roster building is just always going to be risky (but also always has been, and its worked). once one of those pillars falls, i think GU could be in trouble of losing footing in its current tier. from there, they're fighting location and conference to get back to where they are today. they could do it, but it would take catching lightning in a bottle AGAIN (99-01), and i dont think that's worth betting on. if it was, there would be other gonzagas out there.

for those reasons, they need to capitalize as soon as possible. by capitalize, i mean 3rd wknd of the dance.

Does the "Spokane" factor swing the other way with transfer kids? While a 17 or 18 year old may be looking for a beach, or pretty girls, does a graduate transfer with a season or two left want a place where they can focus on making the most of their limited time - distraction free?

I was recruited, once long ago, to play a college sport. I was mature for my age trying to make long term decisions without a great support system locally. I could have signed to play football locally with a very prestigious school just a few years removed from a national championship. I wanted to focus on academics and chose a location close enough my financially poor family could still come see me, but far enough away that I could focus on my goals without distraction of certain influences at home. It worked out well for me. I wonder, if the more mature transfer student who has already experienced some of college life, might find Spokane appealing for all the reasons they might not have liked it initially.

Coach Crazy
04-04-2016, 11:22 AM
This program hasn't even peaked, yet. And if they stay in the WCC, then it would take another year with the combination of trials (or like them) that we witnessed to have another "close call" year. How often has that happened? With the acceleration in our talent acquisition, you could make the case that it is less likely to happen, moving forward.

I wouldn't be surprised if GU pays Tommy to stay put.

TexasZag
04-04-2016, 11:30 AM
In 25 years I'll be 92 and probably senile. Pretty sure I'll still be a Zag fan, even if I don't know who or what they are!

LOL! Sadly, I suspect I'll be in the same boat. I just hope that the wife doesn't take my impending state of mind as an opportunity to jettison the Zag Swag!

cbbfanatic
04-04-2016, 11:42 AM
Does the "Spokane" factor swing the other way with transfer kids? While a 17 or 18 year old may be looking for a beach, or pretty girls, does a graduate transfer with a season or two left want a place where they can focus on making the most of their limited time - distraction free?



yeah, in a lot of cases it could be beneficial. there are certainly cases where frosh kids would prefer a place like spokane too, but on a macro level it feels like a disadvantage

i agree with those that say short term risks of degradation are slim. current state can exist awhile longer. the train is on a really nice track. also forgot to add differences to the positive between now and 1999, that were mentioned by others. these are primarily money, institutional commitment, and having tasted success. GU will fight to keep its basketball relevance if it ever comes into doubt. that's worth a lot.

again though, on the prestige front, GU needs to start capitalizing and get to a few final 4s. not every year will yield that result, and not every year where it doesnt happen is a disappoinment. but at some point, it simply has to happen. the whole notion of "we havent peaked yet, the best is yet to come, etc" cannot be defended indefinitely

maynard g krebs
04-04-2016, 11:55 AM
I feel like everyone in the big conferences at least get SOME whiff of success every now and then (Oregon St., for example). It's cyclical.

Interesting choice for an example, as they've sucked for a quarter century until now, yet are still 22nd in all time D1 wins. Seventeen tourney appearances, 6 elite 8's, 2 final 4's. Probably the top program in the pac in the post-Wooden years until Miller retired.

When I was a kid living north of Philly in the late 60's, LaSalle and Penn both achieved top 5 rankings nationally.

Times change. There are the elite programs that have the resources and market share to stay on top; for everybody else it seems to largely depend on finding a great coach; Few, Marshall at Wichita, Altman at Oregon, Bennett at SMC to name a few. Replacing guys like that is a dicey proposition; the hot young mid major coach may or may not make it, and the promoted assistant can be a disaster; Oregon State never recovered from promoting Jim Anderson; North Carolina had the resources and history to recover from the Guthridge hire.

So I think it's likely that GU comes back to earth at some point; Oregon State was good for most of 60 years w/ Slats Gill and then Ralph Miller. Seems as though if Tommy Lloyd sticks around and takes over for Few and the Euro recruiting continues, GU can stay good for a long time, but given location, conference affiliation, market share, resources etc. we've witnessed a minor miracle the last couple of decades, and one that isn't gonna last forever.

As to my fandom, when I got on the bandwagon in 97 I never expected this. I saw a bunch of mostly local kids who collectively played as a team and above their individual ability, and liked their style. I think if they'd just been, on average, as good as SMC over the years that would be enough to keep me as a fan; I'd be rooting for them in the NIT and wishing for the occasional tourney run and upset, and traveling to games when and where I could. But honestly, if they started finishing 7th in the WCC over a period of several years it would be hard to stay a hard core fan.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-05-2016, 07:23 AM
I love this kind of macro topic, so here's my somewhat removed-from-the-minutiae, stream of consciousness take...

i agree with the premise that GU's success is tenuous. to a degree, all programs that are high-achieving are doing so on a thin line. even the true elites can fall for a short term, but they can much more easily bounce back. that's what this is all about for me, how would GU bounce back from a slip? well, that's the first part. the second part is: how do they keep up what they've done?

to start, i think you need to assess the higher level factors that could become headwinds, and are more or less inherent to the program. also, this is assuming that gonzaga has already fallen some and needs to rebound. As long as they stay on current trend, these factors are not huge killers, though still not ideal.

for gu, i'd say these are the key risks that you could file as "external factors:"

Spokane: as much as many on here love spokane, it's not going to help gonzaga in the case of slippage, for a couple reasons. first, there is not enough local talent in spokane and surrounding area to recruit a highly competitive team (or even core) locally, and over the long term. how many GSL kids per year, or decade, go on to become big name college bball players? very few. so you have to bring kids in. to that end, it's not overly appealing to the general public that doesnt have a familiarity with the city and area. it's very remote and cold in season. not a destination city for the 18 year old bball star that travels around the country playing in tournaments in all sorts of glamorous locales. even for kids from seattle, its a tougher sell than many, many places in the US. you can even extend GU/Spokane's "local" recruiting territory east through Montana if you'd like, since there is no real local competition for those kids.

Conference: very similar to Spokane, the WCC isnt attracting the kids you need to rebuild from any slip to mediocrity. its not a destination conference, doesn't have glamorous dates on the sched (nice cities, sure, but not big name opponents). i dont see this changing. even if the other teams improve some, there is a very real ceiling. to get to the point where high level kids grow up wanting to play in the WCC feels borderline impossible. if you dont believe this, look at the kids the OTHER wcc teams are bringing in. again, all of this is about a situation where GU needs to climb back (which is seemingly inevitable at some point)

Prestige/Elite"ness": I only bring this one up because someone else mentioned it earlier as something GU could re-build off of should a rebuilding day come (and i disagree with it in that context)... I know this one will be controversial, but should GU fall without getting multiple f4s and maybe a title, the enduring legacy will get washed away with many other programs that have had nice little runs - even if they pale in comparison to what GU has done. Might seem unfair, but you don't build the kind of legacy that attracts 4/5 star kids by going to a handful of s16s and a few e8s. those are great in the moment, but certainly have shelf lives. we've all seen the highlights in some posters signatures, but here's some context behind the 7 s16s and 2 e8s... since 1999, 272 s16 appearances have been earned, 136 to the elite 8, and 68 for the f4. granted that only one per year is available to any given team, but this frames up just how many of these accomplishments have been spread out (albeit very unevenly) across the landscape. for further final four context, since 1999, 32 different teams have gone to the final four. 32. 16 of them have gone more than once. to be even close to elite, i think you'd have to be in that second group of multiple f4 appearance teams.

again, this is all from the angle that GU has to climb the mtn again. i think kids NOW are largely signing up for the CURRENT success. if that goes away, i dont think prestige is cashing the checks. thats just me though

the first two are the big ones to me. the ones that you cant really change.

but GU has been fine on that front for almost 2 decades now, so why can't they continue to stay on track? more to the point, WHAT will cause them to fall?

this begs the question of how GU has stayed where they are for so long... and how risky is that proposition? can they stay on their model for the indefinite future?

So here's how i see Gonzaga's last 15+ years, and how they've stayed so consistent: i also assess a risk to continuing these success factors

Coaching continuity & consistency: say what you want about mark few (that preface would be more directed towards his detractors, obviously), but he really knows how to build a balanced team, both 1-5 and fr-sr, that for the most part looks the same year after year. he also beats the teams they should beat with an INCREDIBLE regularity. His total win pct is absolutely incredible when you back it up against his % against the top 25 (think that's in the low-mid 20s). If his teams had the propensity to drop games to teams they shouldnt, like most teams do, there are some NIT years mixed in there because lets face it, the record against the true top of CBB really isnt all that good. mix in some NIT years, and maybe the allure isnt there for a couple key kids along the way, and maybe they lose the momentum? who knows. what i do know is that the consistency has been amazing. as long as Few is around, i'd say risk of losing this positive attribute is low. no reason to believe he doesnt keep doing what he's doing on this front

"non-traditional" recruiting: most high end teams are built mostly through getting US (really should say north american) HS stars to sign up right out of HS. GU hasnt really done this at a level that coincides with their on-court success, but has really supplemented the HS pipeline with some high quality transfers and foreign players. so many of these guys like batista (my all time favorite), turiaf, some of the early australians, karnowski, sabonis, and more were incredibly important to continuity of success. if ANY of these guys didnt pan out in spades, their teams would have struggled significantly. im sure there are some that didnt pan out, but the success rate in this recruiting channel has to be at or near the top of college bball. the same can be said for high level transfers. knight, dickau, wiltjer, etc. international guys and transfers flop ALL THE TIME. but not at GU. at GU, they've been consistent cornerstones. this is a huge risk to me. if the international well dries up (seems to hinge on one coach), or they miss on some xfers that REALLY need to pan out (one next yr comes to mind), it could be problematic. overall depth of talent is great for WCC, but not for the peer group GU wants to associate with... these non-traditional guys need to keep panning out.

There's a lot more to the success, but the two above i think have been very vital. i think consistency can last as long as few is around, and the aspect of roster building is just always going to be risky (but also always has been, and its worked). once one of those pillars falls, i think GU could be in trouble of losing footing in its current tier. from there, they're fighting location and conference to get back to where they are today. they could do it, but it would take catching lightning in a bottle AGAIN (99-01), and i dont think that's worth betting on. if it was, there would be other gonzagas out there.

for those reasons, they need to capitalize as soon as possible. by capitalize, i mean 3rd wknd of the dance.

Just wanted to give this post its due. Thank you for putting so much time and thought into this.

I couldn't agree more with your conclusion about the 3rd weekend of the dance. We GOTTA cash one of these in...it would provide a little extra insurance against "slippage."

From what everyone has said, to me, it seems to come down to coaching consistency. Mark Few is 53. If he can give us another 17 seasons (taking him to retirement age) similar to his first 17 — maybe they "only" make the Tourney in 15 of those 17 or something, even that would be fine, as long as there's one or two Final Fours mixed in — I think that would be enough to cement us among the elite.

CDC84
04-05-2016, 08:21 AM
So I think it's likely that GU comes back to earth at some point; Oregon State was good for most of 60 years w/ Slats Gill and then Ralph Miller. Seems as though if Tommy Lloyd sticks around and takes over for Few and the Euro recruiting continues, GU can stay good for a long time, but given location, conference affiliation, market share, resources etc. we've witnessed a minor miracle the last couple of decades, and one that isn't gonna last forever.

I actually think location is one of the main reasons why Gonzaga became what it is today and why it has a chance to remain one of the best programs out west. They are located in a talent rich area with very few division one schools (and very few high major programs). You can simply "hide" players in the pacific northwest (and the west in general) that you can't in the Midwest and East. There is no way that players like Matt Santangelo and Casey Calvary (as injury-ridden as he was) would've played in a league like the WCC if they had played high school ball in Indianapolis.

It's all about commitment and a willingness to continue to invest in the program at this point. The guy who doesn't get enough credit in this whole thing is Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth. As great as Coach Few and his staff have been, this program wouldn't be what it is without Roth's genius and his ability to bring in the bucks. When Mike retires, who is going to replace him?

As long as GU keeps investing in its program (the new student-athlete academic center is yet another move forward....just like the chartered plane, the new arena, etc.), I don't see the train stopping. I could see it getting to the point where the program misses some tournaments and such. I could see the 80%+ winning percentage dropping....things like that.

So much of this really revolves around athletic and school administration and where they place their priorities. The true leadership. If Gonzaga were to ever bring in lousy people to fill those future vacancies, that is when I would have major concerns. Administration is the only thing that could destroy what the Zags have going right now.

That and ungrateful fans who don't remember (or who don't learn about) where the program came from......

MontanaCoyote
04-05-2016, 08:37 AM
[QUOTE=thegloriousgoateeofKP;1206524]Just wanted to give this post its due. Thank you for putting so much time and thought into this.

I couldn't agree more with your conclusion about the 3rd weekend of the dance. We GOTTA cash one of these in...it would provide a little extra insurance against "slippage."



Just a little friendly advice from oldster poster; 1." Don't' Worry, Be Happy," and, "Enjoy the Moment." OK!?

Many insightful and interesting posts on this thread and I understand and appreciate the concern. But I may be dead by the time there's really anything to worry about. So, it's next year for me, hoping that both PK and DS decide it's best for them to come back and dreaming of a national championship in '17. :clap:
I guess that's not exactly living in the moment is it, but, then again, having something to look forward to promotes longevity and I'm all for that!:pray:

thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-05-2016, 10:14 AM
Just a little friendly advice from oldster poster; 1." Don't' Worry, Be Happy," and, "Enjoy the Moment." OK!?

Many insightful and interesting posts on this thread and I understand and appreciate the concern. But I may be dead by the time there's really anything to worry about. So, it's next year for me, hoping that both PK and DS decide it's best for them to come back and dreaming of a national championship in '17. :clap:
I guess that's not exactly living in the moment is it, but, then again, having something to look forward to promotes longevity and I'm all for that!:pray:

You mention "dreaming of a national championship." But here's another question: It's pretty unlikely that we ever win one of those. The odds are just stacked against us, no matter how good we are, because we're only one of 351 teams competing for it, and the tournament that decides a winner is single-elimination.

So: Would would be happy just making a Final Four? Will that be our "super bowl?"

primal23
04-05-2016, 12:25 PM
Something else to consider is student enrollment. Gonzaga has spent a lot of money to build new buildings to meet the needs of the increased enrollment size that has happened in the last ten - fifteen years. Gonzaga is not the same campus as it was when I graduated in '70. To maintain that upward trend in increased student enrollment, the administration at GU will have to keep the basketball program at it's current level. And after Few and Tommy leave, and that's a long time from now, the administration will need to pay for a top notch coach. I hope to live long enough to see who that would be. He's going to have to b someone very special, like Mark Few. So do I think it will happen. NO!!!

Go Zags!!!

Heck it's not same campus when my wife and I finished school back in '00. We would walk thru campus and didn't know so many buildings now. And having multiple nephews and nieces graduate from GU and them talking about buildings that we hadn't heard of was amazing and great at the same time. Having been there before and during the initial run it was quite exciting! Being in the admin building basement floor and seeing the Spokesman papers framed on the wall is a great memory!

23dpg
04-05-2016, 12:27 PM
You mention "dreaming of a national championship." But here's another question: It's pretty unlikely that we ever win one of those. The odds are just stacked against us, no matter how good we are, because we're only one of 351 teams competing for it, and the tournament that decides a winner is single-elimination.

So: Would would be happy just making a Final Four? Will that be our "super bowl?"

Yes, then no, but ultimately yes.

gonzagafan62
04-05-2016, 12:52 PM
The follow-up question is, let's say, god forbid, something terrible happens and in 25 years, we're back to pre-1999 Gonzaga. Going 5-13 or whatever in the WCC. Make the NCAA Tourney once in a blue moon. Do we and if so, how maintain our fandom? That would be SOOOO soul-crushing, wouldn't it?

(Not saying this will happen because we're pretty darn well-established now, buht I want to at least acknowledge and be prepared for the possibility.)

I do kinda wanna add some actual knowledge to this if you don't mind.

The school graduates will always be here. Especially the ones pre-99. I'll always be here. As for people like you, do you watch another team but still keep your loyalty to Gonzaga when they are around or do you enjoy the memories? I guess it's all in how you were raised. I was taught when you have a team you stick with them. Forever. A quote from my dad goes something like "You will always change, but your favorite team shouldn't, because right when you do, that team always does something" it always stuck. My dad was an army child (later went to the army himself and always moved around so he has like 10 teams he likes but truly follows the Sooners closer.

I don't see how he gets any enjoyment out of it. Maybe he just loves or even just follows them (although he just bought his final four stuff, yuck!) ... But I'm sitting here waiting for the day.

And when it happens, that day will be the sweetest day ever. Sweeter than anything my dad's felt. I can guarantee that

gonzagafan62
04-05-2016, 12:55 PM
You mention "dreaming of a national championship." But here's another question: It's pretty unlikely that we ever win one of those. The odds are just stacked against us, no matter how good we are, because we're only one of 351 teams competing for it, and the tournament that decides a winner is single-elimination.

So: Would would be happy just making a Final Four? Will that be our "super bowl?"

Heck yeah id be just happy making a final four. Be a great moment. The dream is the title and bringing ALL the bacon. But the first thing you gotta do is make the FF. That in itself is soooooo hard to do

thegloriousgoateeofKP
04-05-2016, 01:13 PM
I do kinda wanna add some actual knowledge to this if you don't mind.

The school graduates will always be here. Especially the ones pre-99. I'll always be here. As for people like you, do you watch another team but still keep your loyalty to Gonzaga when they are around or do you enjoy the memories? I guess it's all in how you were raised. I was taught when you have a team you stick with them. Forever. A quote from my dad goes something like "You will always change, but your favorite team shouldn't, because right when you do, that team always does something" it always stuck. My dad was an army child (later went to the army himself and always moved around so he has like 10 teams he likes but truly follows the Sooners closer.

I don't see how he gets any enjoyment out of it. Maybe he just loves or even just follows them (although he just bought his final four stuff, yuck!) ... But I'm sitting here waiting for the day.

And when it happens, that day will be the sweetest day ever. Sweeter than anything my dad's felt. I can guarantee that

Oh, I agree 100%. The more effort you invest in a team and the more painful losses you suffer directly correlates to how much you enjoy their successes. I ain't goin anywhere, no matter HOW bad the Zags get (if they ever stumble).

But just from a practical point of view, they'd be on national TV way less, there would be fewer posters on the message boards, less coverage of them by the papers, way less recruiting info would leak out...it'd be tough to follow them as passionately as we do now.

DixieZag
04-05-2016, 02:17 PM
I actually think location is one of the main reasons why Gonzaga became what it is today and why it has a chance to remain one of the best programs out west. They are located in a talent rich area with very few division one schools (and very few high major programs). You can simply "hide" players in the pacific northwest (and the west in general) that you can't in the Midwest and East. There is no way that players like Matt Santangelo and Casey Calvary (as injury-ridden as he was) would've played in a league like the WCC if they had played high school ball in Indianapolis.

It's all about commitment and a willingness to continue to invest in the program at this point. The guy who doesn't get enough credit in this whole thing is Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth. As great as Coach Few and his staff have been, this program wouldn't be what it is without Roth's genius and his ability to bring in the bucks. When Mike retires, who is going to replace him?

As long as GU keeps investing in its program (the new student-athlete academic center is yet another move forward....just like the chartered plane, the new arena, etc.), I don't see the train stopping. I could see it getting to the point where the program misses some tournaments and such. I could see the 80%+ winning percentage dropping....things like that.

So much of this really revolves around athletic and school administration and where they place their priorities. The true leadership. If Gonzaga were to ever bring in lousy people to fill those future vacancies, that is when I would have major concerns. Administration is the only thing that could destroy what the Zags have going right now.

That and ungrateful fans who don't remember (or who don't learn about) where the program came from......

Morrison, Heytvelt, Ravio, Bell, Gray, Violette, Dranginis, even Olynick and Sacre could be said from the greater area, of course fill out many more as international recruits. I hadn't thought of it this way, but you're certainly right.

Also goes to Few that some of those players weren't that highly ranked, (some like Heytvelt, Morrison, Bell, were). They are all-time Zags now.

Roth is the second most important cog in the wheel over there. For the first few years after 99, perhaps he was the most important, kept investing, believing that it could be done here. When he retires we will need a national search (unless they have one in waiting) and he/she ought to be awfully good.

Mantua
04-06-2016, 02:19 PM
Interesting choice for an example, as they've sucked for a quarter century until now, yet are still 22nd in all time D1 wins. Seventeen tourney appearances, 6 elite 8's, 2 final 4's. Probably the top program in the pac in the post-Wooden years until Miller retired.

When I was a kid living north of Philly in the late 60's, LaSalle and Penn both achieved top 5 rankings nationally.

Times change. There are the elite programs that have the resources and market share to stay on top; for everybody else it seems to largely depend on finding a great coach; Few, Marshall at Wichita, Altman at Oregon, Bennett at SMC to name a few. Replacing guys like that is a dicey proposition; the hot young mid major coach may or may not make it, and the promoted assistant can be a disaster; Oregon State never recovered from promoting Jim Anderson; North Carolina had the resources and history to recover from the Guthridge hire.

So I think it's likely that GU comes back to earth at some point; Oregon State was good for most of 60 years w/ Slats Gill and then Ralph Miller. Seems as though if Tommy Lloyd sticks around and takes over for Few and the Euro recruiting continues, GU can stay good for a long time, but given location, conference affiliation, market share, resources etc. we've witnessed a minor miracle the last couple of decades, and one that isn't gonna last forever.

As to my fandom, when I got on the bandwagon in 97 I never expected this. I saw a bunch of mostly local kids who collectively played as a team and above their individual ability, and liked their style. I think if they'd just been, on average, as good as SMC over the years that would be enough to keep me as a fan; I'd be rooting for them in the NIT and wishing for the occasional tourney run and upset, and traveling to games when and where I could. But honestly, if they started finishing 7th in the WCC over a period of several years it would be hard to stay a hard core fan.

I'd like to think that I would support our team come what may, but the problem would be finding something to talk about. There wouldn't be much in the media. The recruiting would fall off.

Alum08
04-06-2016, 02:59 PM
I watch our team more intently when we aren't performing well, so I would likely be an even bigger fan than I am now.

gonzagafan62
04-06-2016, 07:05 PM
I watch our team more intently when we aren't performing well, so I would likely be an even bigger fan than I am now.

Intently, sure me too. I watch all the Ames, but I'm with you. When we play worse, it's easier to point out flaws and se what type of execution we need to win certain games.

I think (but haven't thought about it) I take more pride in seasons like 10, 11 and 14 more than I do 15 and 09. It was such a relief to make it to the elite eight with the standards we had, and such a disappointment in 13.

That being said I love all the seasons. All are near and dear to my heart. This school is truly remarkable