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Rubbadub
10-11-2007, 05:05 AM
Great article...

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2007/oct/10/gray-learning-the-gonzaga-way/


SPOKANE

Steven Gray won't grind his way through his first official college basketball practice until Friday night, but renowned Gonzaga sweataholic David Pendergraft wasted no time introducing Gray to "Zag World" over the summer.

Unofficial summer workouts among current and former Bulldogs are a legendary part of the Gonzaga basketball experience. Gray jumped at the chance to work out with his future teammates this past summer, but the state player of the year from Bainbridge High probably had a few second thoughts after being paired up with Pendergraft.

"I remember the first day of weights," Gray said. "They team up young guys with old guys. I got Pendo.

"He just goes nuts in the weight room!" Gray said, a certain level of amazement still registering in his voice nearly four months later. "I was so sore, I could not straighten my arms for two weeks.

"But," he added, "it was so much fun."

That, in a nutshell, explains why Gray and Gonzaga appear to be a perfect match. The Bulldogs pride themselves on finding quality people who love to work hard and play high-level hoops, and that sounds like a fitting description of Gray.

"Steven's terrific," said associate head coach Leon Rice, who swears he was sold on giving Gray a scholarship from the first time he watched him play AAU ball as a freshman at Chimacum High. "The guys call him 'The Silent Assassin.'

"He's quiet, but he's one of those kids who sits back and observes things. He pays attention to what's going on. He's a terrific kid. He's a great teammate. He's such a Zag that way."

That rates as one of the highest forms of flattery at Gonzaga, where team chemistry is treated with great reverence. The Bulldogs said there were problems with chemistry last year, then star forward Josh Heytvelt was suspended after a drug bust that also involved teammate Theo Davis.

Playing without Heytvelt for the final nine games, the Bulldogs rallied to collect their customary bag of goodies: Twenty-plus wins, West Coast Conference title, WCC Tournament championship, NCAA tournament entry, etc.

"Last year's team really stepped up in adversity, because they wanted that to be their legacy," Rice said. "That finish was nothing short of amazing, really."

This year, Rice believes Gonzaga's entire season could be amazing. The Bulldogs are a consensus Top 20 pick in preseason publications, and Rice and Gray say Gonzaga is aiming higher.

"This is probably the most talented team we've had," Rice said. "That's quite a statement, since we've had the No. 2 and 3 (ranked) teams in the country.

"Everyone here, their goal is to win the national championship," Gray said. "Quite a few teams can say that and legitimately mean that.

"As long as we don't get complacent — (and) as long as we keep working hard, there's no reason we can't be playing deep into March and April."

Gray heads into Friday's first practice as the No. 3 combo guard (point guard or shooting guard) behind the only two players whom Rice said he regards as almost certain starters: Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin. Gray said he views his freshman season as "a learning process," and he's prepared to come off the bench after being a high school superstar.

The 6-foot-4 Gray averaged 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game last season. Like his sister, Bainbridge junior forward Brittany, Gray made a verbal commitment to Gonzaga after his sophomore season.

Gonzaga is expected to officially announce the reinstatement of Heytvelt and Davis, but they've been working out with the team since the summer. The 6-11 Heytvelt has battled inconsistency and injuries, but he displayed NBA-type skills at times last season while averaging 15.5 points (second on the team to graduated guard Derek Ravio's 18 ppg) and team highs of 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks.

The 6-5 Bouldin's shooting was streaky last season, but he started 20 games as a true freshman on a 23-11 team and averaged 8.9 points and 3.1 assists. The 6-2 Pargo (12.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 spg) made all-conferemce and provides athleticism along with junior classmate Micah Downs (8.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg), a 6-8 guard-forward. Downs flourished along with 6-6 super sub Pendergraft (7.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg) after Heytvelt left.

Key newcomers besides Gray include 6-10 freshman forward Austin Daye (30.9 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 5.4 bpg as an all-state first-team pick in California); 6-4 junior forward Ira Brown, a two-time junior college All-American who played five years of minor league baseball; and Davis, a 6-9 freshman who redshirted due to shoulder surgery last season.

The Zags play a home exhibition game Nov. 7 against Emporia (Kan.) State, then start the season Nov. 11 against visiting Montana. Travel will be less grueling than last season, but Gonzaga's non-conference schedule is loaded with teams like Washington State (Dec. 5 at Gonzaga), Tennessee (Dec. 29 in Seattle), Georgia, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Saint Joseph's, Western Kentucky and a potential showdown with Bobby Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders at the Great Alaska Shootout.

wazZag
10-11-2007, 06:09 AM
Great article, thanks for posting.

Interesting:


Gray heads into Friday's first practice as the No. 3 combo guard (point guard or shooting guard) behind the only two players whom Rice said he regards as almost certain starters: Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin.

ZagNative
10-11-2007, 06:25 AM
Nice article. The Kitsap Sun has done a great job of covering Steven through his high school career.

Needs a pic, though ...

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Zags/Steven%20Gray/Stevensquating.jpg

Birddog
10-11-2007, 06:36 AM
The Kitsap Sun has done a great job of covering Steven through his high school career.

Just curious, what do they call their newspaper the other 9 months of the year?

Birddog

GonzagaGurl08
10-11-2007, 07:54 AM
Steven Gray won't grind his way through his first official college basketball practice until Friday night, but renowned Gonzaga sweataholic David Pendergraft wasted no time introducing Gray to "Zag World" over the summer.

Unofficial summer workouts among current and former Bulldogs are a legendary part of the Gonzaga basketball experience. Gray jumped at the chance to work out with his future teammates this past summer, but the state player of the year from Bainbridge High probably had a few second thoughts after being paired up with Pendergraft.

"I remember the first day of weights," Gray said. "They team up young guys with old guys. I got Pendo.

"He just goes nuts in the weight room!" Gray said, a certain level of amazement still registering in his voice nearly four months later. "I was so sore, I could not straighten my arms for two weeks.

"But," he added, "it was so much fun."

I really liked this part. Just shows how much of a gym rat and stud Pendo is. Glad to see he is imparting his "zagness" on the young ones. Now we know Pendo's secret as an undersized 4/5, its all those weights he's been lifting.

Rubbadub
10-11-2007, 07:58 AM
I really liked this part. Just shows how much of a gym rat and stud Pendo is. Glad to see he is imparting his "zagness" on the young ones. Now we know Pendo's secret as an undersized 4/5, its all those weights he's been lifting.

but...i thought weight rooms are baaaaaaad. :confused:


Frankly, I'm getting tired of the cheap advice people give players that they have to bulk up. Basketball is a game of speed and agility. For every graceful oaf like Shaq there are 50 that aren't. If you look at players that are never injured and those that are frequently injured, nine times out of ten you will find among those frequently injured there is weight room fixation. Daye and Downs will do very well thank you if you keep them out of the weight room.
Just ask Tayshaun Prince. Or Johnny Wooden. :lmao:

lawzag
10-11-2007, 08:26 AM
"but the state player of the year from Bainbridge High probably had a few second thoughts after being paired up with Pendergraft.
"I remember the first day of weights," Gray said. "They team up young guys with old guys. I got Pendo.
"He just goes nuts in the weight room!" Gray said....


Pretty funny...22 year old Pendo is an "old guy", so what does that make us, antiques? :)

Good article by the Sun!

sonuvazag
10-11-2007, 11:47 AM
I also noticed his statment about each player on the team shooting for a national championship. We, as fans, can't add pressure to that. They want it for themselves.

Good for them.

Understanding, it's lofty and attainable at the same time, I'm excited the group isn't selling themselves short. Vegas only gives you odds when you have a betting chance and they might as well go for it.

GreenStreetElite
10-11-2007, 01:45 PM
Think they forgot big ROB in that list of newcomers

OZZag
10-11-2007, 03:31 PM
Think they forgot big ROB in that list of newcomers

You're right about that one, that is the quandry, so much talent/potential for the entire rotation!:D