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GonzagaGurl08
10-13-2007, 05:44 PM
BZ or anyone with insider info, do you know how the first practice of the year went last night? I'm itching to know how the guys are doing.

Also, maybe it's just me, but is practice starting later this year than in past years? As far as dates goes? Perhaps that's why the Blue and White Scrimmage isn't next weekend (FFW) but the weekend after?

spudzag
10-14-2007, 07:27 AM
I think this is the responce we are all going to get until the open practice night.

gamagin
10-14-2007, 08:28 AM
Gonzaga immersed in depth

David Pendergraft will be counted on for his leadership this season. The Spokesman-Review (Dan Pelle The Spokesman-Review)


Gonzaga basketball

Jim Meehan
Staff writer
October 14, 2007

At the outset of every season, Gonzaga men's basketball coach Mark Few tends to have a fairly concrete idea of his starters, rotations and who might redshirt.

This season, not so much.

"I've kind of been a guy that likes to get his starting five, especially if there are seniors and we usually go with that," Few said. "I think this year it could fluctuate a lot and I don't think it's going to be that big a deal.

"I think we're going to play a lot of people and a lot of different combinations. Hopefully we can turn this depth into a luxury."

The depth he referred to began auditioning for playing time Friday night at GU's first practice at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga's exhibition opener is against Emporia State on Nov. 7 and the regular season begins versus Montana on Nov. 11.

"At some point you go from having practice and intrasquad to having to put five guys on the floor," Few said. "We have about 13 that can play and have shown so far they deserve to play, but it's really hard to play 13."

GU boasts a roster of players who "all bring something to the table," junior point guard Jeremy Pargo said. Senior forward David Pendergraft, who committed to the Bulldogs as a sophomore at Brewster High, said the collection of talent may be unparalleled since he began following GU.

"From top to bottom, everybody can go in there and play significant minutes and make a significant impact," he said. "Obviously we've had Adam (Morrison) and J.P. (Batista), but from top to bottom it would be hard to match another GU team with this. But we also know we have to make it happen."

The depth should create quality competition in practice and Few said, "from a coaching standpoint we have some accountability for what we need and want." He added, "the trick will be getting the right combinations."

A number of proven players return. Pargo averaged 12.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists on last year's 23-11 squad that lost to Indiana in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Forward Josh Heytvelt, reinstated Friday after being suspended for the final five weeks of last season, averaged 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds. Matt Bouldin started 20 games as a freshman and averaged 8.9 points. Micah Downs (8.1 points) was a key contributor down the stretch.


Pendergraft led the team in field-goal percentage (57.8) and 3-point percentage (48.6) and was the third-leading rebounder (4.4). Abdullahi Kuso averaged 4.6 rebounds and blocked 42 shots, second to Heytvelt's 43. Will Foster, a 7-foot-4 center, saw limited duty, but he added much-needed bulk in the off-season. Larry Gurganious returns after missing last season with a back injury. Theo Davis, reinstated Friday along with Heytvelt, played well for the Canadian development team this summer.

Austin Daye, a 6-foot-10, 190-pound forward who averaged 30.9 points as a high school senior, heads the list of newcomers. He's joined by freshmen Steven Gray, a 6-4 combination guard, and 7-foot center Robert Sacre. Junior forward Ira Brown was a first-team NJCAA All-American while averaging 16.1 points at Phoenix College.

"Playing time isn't going to be easy to find," Gurganious said, "but that's what practice and the first month is for. It's for who wants it more. It's good to have competition within your team, but you also have to think about the team concept and what's best for the team. I think everybody fits in perfectly with this team and we should be really good."

Few said there's no rush to decide on potential redshirts. "As we get into a good solid month of competing and trying to get the defensive and offensive systems downs, then we'll see how many minutes (are available) because we want to maximize their careers at GU," he said.

Rebounding has been a cornerstone of many of GU's best teams and Few likes the potential of this crew, but "that will depend on how detail oriented they are." He said GU should have more options defensively.

Team leadership is in the capable hands of Pendergraft and Pargo, Few said. "Pendo is as good a leader as we've had. I think Ira has some real leadership ability."

Few said one question may have multiple answers.

"We're going to have to figure out and it'll probably be by committee who takes and makes the big shot for us," Few said. "I don't think that's dialed in as much as a lot of the other years. I don't know if it will ever shake out because maybe one of our strengths is we have a lot of guys that can make a play at the end of the game."
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BobZag
10-14-2007, 09:14 AM
BZ or anyone with insider info, do you know how the first practice of the year went last night? I'm itching to know how the guys are doing.

Also, maybe it's just me, but is practice starting later this year than in past years? As far as dates goes? Perhaps that's why the Blue and White Scrimmage isn't next weekend (FFW) but the weekend after?

We'd all love to know how practices go but they are locked up tighter than a drum. I'll hear bits and pieces, which I'll pass along as much as I can, but that is about as good as it will get. No, in fact it feels like practices actually might've started earlier this year, the 12th instead of the 14th or 15th. As gamagin posted, we can all see how Few may need every minute of spare practice time this year to sort out all the depth! I really like how the Zags will privately scrimmage against Portland State, plus play the Blue-White game. Who starts? What's the rotation? What combinations work and don't work? To press 25%, 50%, 75% of the game? It's a darn good thing the staff has from October 12 to November 11 to get things somewhat ironed out.