PDA

View Full Version : Bud Withers story on the Zags in the G.A.S.



ZagNative
11-21-2007, 01:01 AM
Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/collegesports/2004026479_zags21.html)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Men's Basketball | Alaska tourney could set tone for Zags

By Bud Withers
Seattle Times staff reporter

Now it begins for Gonzaga, a grueling two weeks that will help define whether the Zags are going to be a top-shelf national contender or merely in pursuit of those who are.

The Zags (3-0) begin play in the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage on Thursday night, and none of their three games there figure to be easy. After a weekend in which they open with Western Kentucky and could face Texas Tech and Butler, they must then get ready to play St. Joseph's, Connecticut and Washington State in the next two weeks.

"We've been defending really, really well, and I think we've been rebounding well," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few. "We can do a better job of moving the ball on offense, and with [offensive] execution."

In swamping three outmanned opponents, Gonzaga is shooting 54 percent and allowing 33.1 percent shooting. The 14th-ranked Zags haven't yet allowed more than 54 points and are outrebounding opponents by more than 14 a game.

CDC84
11-21-2007, 08:04 AM
Now it begins for Gonzaga, a grueling two weeks that will help define whether the Zags are going to be a top-shelf national contender or merely in pursuit of those who are.

To be honest, I don't know how one could say this with the knowledge that Gonzaga doesn't have Heytvelt and Gray. It's going to be hard to determine whether GU is a "top-shelf national contender" until all their pieces are in place.

former1dog
11-21-2007, 08:14 AM
CDC84,

I'm not making any predictions, but something tells me we're going to be ok until Heytvelt and Gray return.

:)

FuManShoes
11-21-2007, 08:51 AM
I'm of two minds on evaluating/setting expectations for this team without Josh and Steven available. On the one hand the simpe fact is Josh is GU's biggest offensive threat, not to mention its leading rebounder and shot blocker from last year, so of course it's easy (and logical) to say the team shouldn't be fully judged without him.

On the other hand, as Rummy would (and did) say, "You go to war with the army you have -- not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time. -- You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown upů"

Steven hasn't even played a game for the Zags, so as much as we can think he'd have stepped in and been an offensive force based on what Few saw in the preseason, we simply haven't seen ot yet. Besides, this team is still 9 players deep and the leaders we expected to have on the floor -- Pargo and Pendo -- are playing and do need to set the tone in these tougher games. Hopefully defensive intensity gets them through this stretch. And for the love of God, can someone please start hitting from the outside!

CDC84
11-21-2007, 09:08 AM
For the Zags to be the best team they can be - a "top shelf national contender" - they must have Heytvelt and Gray. They can "get by" without them for now, but they will not beat a team like Memphis unless the full personnel is there.

For the record, I am not satisfied with Gonzaga's offense right now, despite the ungodly shooting percentages. That in part is due to the fact that both Josh and Steven serve vital roles in that offense. Gray is the best shooter on a team that's struggling to hit outside shots, and Heytvelt, in addition to being GU's only really talented post threat, also happens to be a 40% 3 point shooter himself.

I am almost positive that once he gets caught up to game speed and gets his shot going that Gray is going to deliver. I don't think Few has ever been more optimistic about a freshman in the preseason. You just don't see that kind of enthusiasm coming out of him very often.

ZagsGoZags
11-21-2007, 09:08 AM
Yes, agreed to all, except
Josh our best offensive threat,
and it is early to say this, but I think time will show my viewpoint to be correct,
I would say Austin is our biggest offensive weapon already, and will continue to be more so.
It will help the team so much that he is looking like more of a team player than Josh USED TO BE (it may be different now), and also the opponents are going to focus more and more on Austin, esp when he gets the PT he will deserves on merit.
When their defense focuses on Austin, he will find open players better than Josh or even Adam did, I think.
I also think Daye will, by February, be 'dialed in' to top tier level of play, if not before, and still be an effective offensive weapon against them.
Of course, I am not opinionated or anything like that ....

gamagin
11-21-2007, 09:09 AM
the lead paragraph says it all.

What I like about this aggressive schedule is twofold: it is bold and it involves our tradition of taking on the best we can find in the short period before the WCC begins.

It's clear Bennett believes in more caution. choosing his places & opponents carefully, managing everything he can. that is the way WSU plays, too, so we're looking at two quite different philosophies and it will be interesting to see which will jump start which team.

Of course WSU is more seasoned as a team, so perhaps that is what the Cougs need.

We are less seasoned. So, barring injuries, our newbies are going to get important looks at styles they will or may be facing come the league and the big dance. And that means they will be piling up experiences that might, ordinarily and somewhere else, take two years to achieve.

And even in the worst case scenario, it matters not one whit to the WCC schedule and the rest of the season, as long as this tremendously athletic team manages through the course of the season to pull it all together.

The mythical polls that track the season are fun, but meaningless. Adjusting and learning how to win at the appropriate times are everything.

So sit down, buckle up and hold on. it's might be a bumpy ride but it is going to be fascinating, too.

GonzagasaurusFlex
11-21-2007, 09:23 AM
To be honest, I don't know how one could say this with the knowledge that Gonzaga doesn't have Heytvelt and Gray. It's going to be hard to determine whether GU is a "top-shelf national contender" until all their pieces are in place.

As much as I salivate over the prospect of this team adding a healthy JH (the guy who showed up last year vs UNC) to the mix, I'm not sure that particular piece will ever be 100% healthy this year nor would I want my team thinking "how good we're gonna be when we're all back." If Sacre and Theo combine w Kuso to give us some inside force offensively and defensively, then I think the Zags are indeed a "top-shelf national contender"...we'll find out in the next few weeks.

Reborn
11-21-2007, 10:33 AM
There certainly seems to be more anxiety on the Board than I would have thought after such a good start. I think the Zags are going to be fine, and look forward to the GAS. Marquette looked really good last night, and apparently they had shot poorly from the 3 pt line until last night. And look what happened. They stepped it up because it was a big game.

I doubt if Josh will be the player this year we had hoped he would be. I remember his Sophmore season when he got hurt, and he really didn't help us much that year when he returned. Missing two months is not good. I feel the same way about Gray. The Zags are developing team chemistry right now and are doing a pretty good job of it. I really like how THIS zag team is playing. They have a team chemistry that they did not have last year with Josh. I think he's different this year (as Zaggystardust has pointed out) and I hope he keeps it up. I think Josh and Gray will help us most if they become role players when they return, especially Gray. I think will help us more because he's played in Few's system way more than Gray. The problem, even with Josh, is that we are not the same team he left last year. We are different defensively for sure. Daye is developing into a star and Josh must accept that I think. LG is a gem, and Gray will have to accept that.

I like LG's style of play. He is our top defender and is a total team player. Would out team be better with Gray taking LG's place? I am not sure since we haven't seen him play. He is missing a lot of time that's for sure, and especially for a Freshman. I can't say enough about how I love what LG brings to this team.

I've also got to put in a word for Ira Brown because I also believe he can really help us as we move into the next level of competition this week. Ira is very athletic, and although we haven't seen him shoot, I've seen him defend. He is a great defender who will bring muscle to a team that's rather thin.

I think that this is a different Gonzaga team and one that we are not used to because we are tough, quick, faster and more athletic. So far we are not the best shooting Zag team for sure, but we certainly can play D. I haven't seen a team out there play better defense than GU....possibly Marquette. Duke preasures the ball but I really think that we are doing it as well. Memphis is preasuring the ball well too. This year's team may win in the 70's vs the 80's.

There's been this negative talk pointing out that if GU continues to play like we've been playing that we are in trouble. The way it works, in my opinion (for all teams), is that teams usually play to the level of their opponents. We are getting ready to play some good teams, and GU is ready for that I think. We've had 4 days to practice (which for us is a lot) and by next Sunday I think everyone will feel pretty good once again.

jim77
11-21-2007, 11:34 AM
I still think this team is playing pretty darn good under the circumstances...This team is MUCH better without Josh than last year. This team plays defense(LG has been a huge boost) and that has been the difference. However, I look forward to Josh returning, IMO he will be the difference come march....we also need Gray for added depth at the point. I feel good about the GAS and I think win or lose the fellas willl leave it on the floor.

GGGGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZZZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAGS!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!

MickMick
11-21-2007, 12:44 PM
There are those that speculate that Josh may have recurring foot problems for the duration of his career.

lothar98zag
11-21-2007, 12:55 PM
There are those that speculate that Josh may have recurring foot problems for the duration of his career.
can anyone w/ a good memory or partial insider info tell me the difference (if any) between the foot problem Josh had to start the season 2 years ago vs his problem this year?

Thanks.

RenoZag
11-21-2007, 01:36 PM
Not insider info, but a quick recap from the current GU media guide:

2005-06: "Hampered throughout the pre-season with a precursor to a stress fracture in the left ankle. . .saw first collegiate action of season against Maryland. . .suffered broken left ankle against Conn. in title game in Maui. . .had surgery on Nov. 28 and returned to action on Feb. 11 against Stanford. . ."

ZagNative
11-21-2007, 01:48 PM
2005-06: "Hampered throughout the pre-season with a precursor to a stress fracture in the left ankle. . .saw first collegiate action of season against Maryland. . .suffered broken left ankle against Conn. in title game in Maui. . .had surgery on Nov. 28 and returned to action on Feb. 11 against Stanford. . ."

This time it's the right ankle (http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/news?slug=txgonzagaheytvelt&prov=st&type=lgns). Hopefully, since it hadn't yet actually developed into a full fracture, he won't be out as long as he was with the surgery for the left ankle?