View Full Version : Meehan blog - GU on the Mend

12-27-2007, 06:08 PM
I sure appreciate Meehan's coverage!

GU on the mend (http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/sportslink/archive/?postID=6758#more)

Gonzaga isn't completely healthy, but it is getting closer. Matt Bouldin (calf, ankle) is probably the biggest concern, but he's expected to play against Tennessee on Saturday and forward Josh Heytvelt will have the benefit of eight days between the Oklahoma and Tennessee games.

For a look at tomorrow's S-R article tonight, click below for an unedited Gonzaga notebook.

We'll be back in the morning to post some of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl's thoughts and the GU-Tennessee preview before flying over to Seattle.

By Jim Meehan
Staff writer

It didn’t take long for Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few to add up the number of practices he’s had all of his players available.

“We’re working on our third practice with everybody out there,” said Few, prior to Thursday’s workout at the McCarthey Athletic Center. “We’re very much a work in progress and trying to get them all used to playing with each other and really understanding their roles when this is the group on the floor or this is the group on the floor.

“We’re still dealing with all those things you usually deal with in October or November, which is OK. Hopefully now we’re not just grinding along in the same (manner) like a lot of teams are. We’ve added some new things to the mix and we should be better because of that in the long run. It’s just going to take some time to work through it.”

And it’s going to take more time for the Bulldogs (9-3) to get truly healthy as they enter their last stretch of non-conference games _ Tennessee on Saturday in Seattle, Utah on New Year’s Eve at the McCarthey Athletic Center and Georgia on Jan. 5 at the Spokane Arena _ before entering West Coast Conference play against Loyola Marymount on Jan. 12.

Forward Josh Heytvelt, returning from a stress fracture, played 15 minutes against Oklahoma on Dec. 20, his first action since a brief appearance in GU’s exhibition win over Emporia State.

“I was excited, it was my first time in a real game in 10 months or so,” he said. “I might have lost some of the mental part of the game because I was so excited to be in a real game, but that comes with playing and experience.”

Guard Matt Bouldin (ankle, calf) gamely played 25 minutes against Oklahoma but was clearly limited. He won’t be at full speed for Tennessee.

“That was miserable; it’s hard when you can’t push. I had no push at all with my left foot,” he said of the OU game. “I’m getting better for sure. Right now it’s pretty tight, but I got to do some treatment at home (in Colorado) with my physical therapist. My calf gets really tight, but it’s easier to loosen up for a game. My ankle is harder to loosen up.”

Guard Steven Gray has played in two games since returning from his fractured wrist. He appears to be operating without limitation. The only player absent from Gonzaga’s preseason roster is Theo Davis, who finished final exams and returned to Toronto to be with his father, who suffered a stroke in early November.

“It’s nice to have everybody back,” guard Micah Downs said. “Steven and Josh will help us out with scoring _ and everything else.”

Heytvelt said he was “pretty winded (against Oklahoma), which was to be was to be expected. I’ve been trying to condition but there’s nothing like basketball shape.”

Few debated whether to play Heytvelt.

“Obviously he didn’t play very well and I didn’t expect him to play very well,” Few said. “I had reservations about playing him, that was a really hard game, but he wanted to play and he was cleared to play. But he’s got to respond. Certainly he’s got to rebound better and play better defense or he won’t get any more minutes than he did the other night.”

The response of Heytvelt’s right foot/ankle was much better than it was in early November following the Emporia State game.

“Way, way better. One hundred percent difference,” Heytvelt said. “After the exhibition game my ankle felt, well, I couldn’t even touch it. After Oklahoma, it was a little sore, but nothing serious.”

Few said Heytvelt is probably weeks away from being where he was last season. Heytvelt conditioned for four days over the holiday break in his hometown of Clarkston and then returned to Spokane a day early to workout with GU coaches.

“I feel like my legs are getting more under me and I feel like I’m going to be a lot better for Tennessee,” he said. “I still have a lot of things to work on. Hopefully I can get back to where I was before too long.”

Air time

Players and coaches had nothing but rave reviews for GU’s first trip on the booster-funded charter plane that took them to Oklahoma City.

The team returned home at about 2:30 a.m. after the 6 p.m. tip-off against the Sooners. Normally, the travel party would have returned roughly 12 hours later.

“It was nice not having to go through security and all that,” said Downs, who also mentioned the amount of time saved on the return trip to Spokane.

Gonzaga will use the 30-seat plane for its remaining road trips.

“It’s going to really help our guys with everything _ academically and being fresh,” Few said.

Posted by Jim
at 6:39 PM on 27 Dec

12-27-2007, 06:26 PM
It's about time ZagNative posts something positive, for heaven's sakes.

I predict by Memphis the Zags will be at full-tilt boogie.

12-27-2007, 06:37 PM
I've been warned and taken it to heart: BZ hates whiners!

12-27-2007, 06:58 PM
i put up a scouting report for the UT game on blogspot.