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Thread: What does Gonzaga need to be a team that can make a deep run in the NCAA tournament

  1. #1
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    Default What does Gonzaga need to be a team that can make a deep run in the NCAA tournament

    I really enjoyed and liked the Virginia vs Michigan St game last night, and I learned alot from watching it. That was one of the best and toughest basketball games I've ever watched, and there is going to be more of it in the rest of this tournament because there are some really, really great defensive teams in this tournament. I could really see that there is a level of toughness in these teams that Gonzaga lacks. And there is a level of offensive talent that Gonzaga also did not have this year, and overall I think it lacks. The reason why I feel this way is because when a team plays defense the way that Virginia, Michigan St, Florida, UCONN, Kentucky, Louisville and Dayton play you need players who can score points in particular players who can go one on one against the toughest kinds of opponents.

    I realized last night while watching Virginia and Michigan St, and then thinking back to our game with Arizona, that the team really did miss Kelly, Elias and Mike Hart. These guys had a toughness that some of our players lacked in the game against Arizona, and Elias and Kelly had the abiliy to score one on one against very tough opponents. I also kept wondering throughout the game, and actually I thought about it every time I watched Virginia play this year, why did Mark Few pass on Joe Harris, a player from Eastern Washington who wanted to be a Zag? I could see last night that there are different levels of toughness and offensive talent, and the elite teams (top 8 to 16) possess a level of these that the other teams do not have.

    I really do hope that the GU staff, and Jerry Krause in particular, can schedule some games next year with at least one of these elite teams, and preferable two or three. The team NEEDS TO PLAY AGAINST that level of talent in order to see where they need to be. The kind of schedule that Gonzaga had this year really did not help the team. I think we can all see that the number 8 and 9 seed is not the best seed for a team like Gonzaga. And in order to stay away from that kind of a seed, Gonzaga needs to play much better teams then they played this year. You may argue that Dayton is still alive and advanced to the elite 8. Take a look at who they played and you may understand why they are there. They have not played a #1 seed yet. Gonzaga, because they were an 8 seed, had to play a number 1 seed in the second round. In my opinion the best seeds are the 4/5 seeds. Especially the 4. An aweful lot of good teams cone out of that pod.

    Here's to a better season next year, and as has been said, there is more talent in next years team, and now Mark Few and his staff needs to make the team tougher, and the best way to do that is to play tough teams who are in the top 10-16 teams in the country. I really believe that this is a MUST. Our conference is just too weak to prepare the Zags for the NCAA Tournament.

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    It helps to have an Adrien Payne in the middle. We must get players like him to play with the big boys and go deep in tournament.

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    Default Toughness

    Quote Originally Posted by ZagMan in Philly View Post
    It helps to have an Adrien Payne in the middle. We must get players like him to play with the big boys and go deep in tournament.
    Dog on a bone fight and Larry Bird-like toughness. Scoring potential means nothing.

    Kelly showed up every game- not so much with some Zags currently. Offensive rebounding is key.

    Scorers need to score not post goose eggs in biggest game of year or 10 points below their average.

    Pangos is tough. Nuff said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwils View Post
    Dog on a bone fight and Larry Bird-like toughness. Scoring potential means nothing.

    Kelly showed up every game- not so much with some Zags currently. Offensive rebounding is key.

    Scorers need to score not post goose eggs in biggest game of year or 10 points below their average.


    Pangos is tough. Nuff said.
    Pangos is tough...dang tough....Hope his toe is completely better next year. The team would have been much better without his injury, but still doubt they were top ten tough and talented.
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    Well Kelly, Elias, or Hart didn't make much a difference last year. You point to talent and schedule specifically...which leads me to the poor WCC conference. We will incrementally continue to trend up but we need some luck to advance. Just my opinion.
    Go Zags!!!

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    It is pretty simple (I didn't think of it), Bilas and then the whole panel said a couple years ago - generally (sometimes team hit some luck) if you want to go deep to the FF, you need pros. If you don't have guys (2?/3?) that won't eventually be in the NBA, you cannot realistically think you can power your way through. Think about Arizona, the only team the committee could put in their way where the expectation was a very tough type of game they could lose is Florida. There is no other team that could realistically just power its way through anyone else.

    There are usually three or four of those teams around, miraculously, there are four spots, usually 3 of the 4 are the top top teams expected to power their way through.

    It's also why last year was our best chance yet, Olynick, Harris - almost, Pangos (maybe, totally healthy and like Nash?) that is the closest we have come to a line up that can power its way through. Next year, healthy Pangos, intriguing recruits, Shem, Wiltjer, Nunez (who I have not given up on as a star) and BZ says Sabonis) - lots of maybes in that line up with two 4 year starters in the back court - - perhaps next year.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
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    Reborn, I watched the games last night as well and agree with you regarding the TOUGHNESS of those teams. I also agree that our schedule this year was weaker than in year's past, but that is going to happen occasionally when schedules are put together years in advance. However, to your point about scheduling the elite teams in the Kennel, the elite teams simply will not come to Spokane, and will definitely not play in the Kennel, as they have nothing to gain by doing so. Now, we'll get the every so often visit to the Kennel from the likes of Michigan State because of Coach's personal relationship with other coaches, plus the occasional visit to the Spokane Arena by the likes of Memphis (Calipari said on national TV that he would NEVER come to the Kennel), plus the every so often big name in the Battle in Seattle, but that's about it. Also, guys like Adrien Payne and other elite level players are simply not going to relocate to Spokane.

    So, is all hope lost???? Definitely not, but GU has a much smaller margin for error than the BCS powerhouses if they are to get a protected seed (1-5) in the Tourney, which I agree with you is the goal and typical first step in order to make a deep run. I think our recruiting is incredible given the limitations of geography and conference, so we have to control the things we can. IMHO, this year the thing that cost us the coveted protected seed were the BAD losses to Portland and USD. We win those games and we are out of the 8/9 seed and may have been as high as a 4/5. We simply cannot lose games like that and hope to be protected in the Tourney. Last year's team is a good example, no BAD losses resulted in a protected seed. After that, it's a crap shoot, as has been said many times in many threads.

    Injuries also play a big role and can't really be controlled. KP's toe this year and GBJ's injury last year during the Wichita State game are prime examples. If those guys are healthy, who knows what happens.

    Back to yesterday's games, they were all so close and could have gone either way with a slightly different bounce or different call by the officials or coaches. Toughness was evident for sure, but so was talent and a little bit of Lady Luck. IMHO, toughness is important but not at the expense of talent and BB IQ (witness Cincinnati and WVU every year). We have a good mix of those things at GU given our above mentioned recruiting limitations, so we just have to keep going and continue to control the things we can. Maybe we should change the dice because we seem to keep "crapping out" regarding injuries the last few years.

    Two things that stuck with me about yesterday's games are the fact that Dayton is back in the E8 for the first time in 30 years, while GU was last there a mere 15 years ago (1999), and that Dayton is the only non-BCS school left. It's a big hill to climb.......

    We are in a really good place, and continuing to get better. It's a marathon, not a sprint...........

    Go ZAGS

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    It's really simple. We need to recruit better. When is the last time Gonzaga was in the top 25 in recruiting?

    2007?

    As good as we are at developing talent if we could start with players that had a little more from the get-go than we could break through in the tourney. Just my opinion.
    It's F4 or bust.

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    quite honestly, luck is the missing ingredient.

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    To be honest, Gonzaga HAD what we needed to make a deep run this year and last. Same with that 2009-10 team. Toughness? You will NOT find two tougher guards on a team than Kevin in David. Never in a million years! Those are two of the toughest ever to come through the program. We ran into two unbelievably good teams playing unbelievably good basketball the last two years. March is about which team is hot at the right time. Eventually we will be the team winning some of these big games. The best we can do is keep recruiting great Zags and keep building our national brand IMO. There is no team in the country that does more with what we have than the Zags.

    I agree with the scheduling, but that's kind of a crapshoot. I'm sure they're doing everything in their power to schedule the best teams they can.

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    Another great post, Reborn.

    I was reading the Detroit Free Press this morning and the MSU players described the game as a football match that seemed to last for three hours. They said they were exhausted. The level of intensity on the defensive end by both Michigan. State and Virginia was truly impressive. It certainly is something Gonzaga could improve upon.

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    The lesson here is to fully enjoy the regular season as it unfolds. What happens in the tournament is often subject to circumstances beyond our control. Even being a #1 seed last year did not prevent us from playing what may have been the most difficult matchup possible for us in our 2nd game. That is the nature of the tournament--much depends on luck and draws and there is a whole lot more to college basketball than the NCAA tourney

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    They have one Guard on the their roster under 6'. Their Bigs, Kavanaugh, Scott, Robinson, and Gavrilovic are 250 lbs. or less. Yet, they seem to be in the right place when needed. All are physically tough, rebound, can take it to the hole, and are adequate defenders. Not as good of jump shooters as Dower, or massively strong as Karno, I believe that our Edwards and Meikle can be similar, perhaps better?, players of that type and Karno will be a terror as a Senior. We are getting there, it's a long tough road. Go Zags, Go Flyers!
    [/QUOTE]“Sometimes a player's greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”
    ― Scottie Pippen

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    I think its obvious after witnessing what Kentucky is doing this year talent trumps experience. Wichita and Louisville's experience was shot down by a bunch of freshmen. Not one starter that's shorter than 6'6" ......by the way.

    I wish Zags would have had a shot at Joe Harris 6'6"

    Just my opinion

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    Quote Originally Posted by BTB View Post
    To be honest, Gonzaga HAD what we needed to make a deep run this year and last. Same with that 2009-10 team. Toughness? You will NOT find two tougher guards on a team than Kevin in David. Never in a million years! Those are two of the toughest ever to come through the program. We ran into two unbelievably good teams playing unbelievably good basketball the last two years. March is about which team is hot at the right time. Eventually we will be the team winning some of these big games. The best we can do is keep recruiting great Zags and keep building our national brand IMO. There is no team in the country that does more with what we have than the Zags.

    I agree with the scheduling, but that's kind of a crapshoot. I'm sure they're doing everything in their power to schedule the best teams they can.
    I'll give you that, about Stockton and Pangos as being tough, and that's precisely why that in my thread I talked about the need for offensive talent AND toughness. David does not possess the offensive talent of an elite point guard. Period. Enough said about his talent as a scorer, and honestly I question his passing ability at an elite level (as was seen in the Arizona game). It's also one thing to be 5' 10" tall and tough and another thing to be 6'3 or 4 or 5 and just as tough as the 5' 10" guy. That's what Gonzaga will face when they face the elite teams (top 10). And there is WCC tough which both Stockton and Dower were, but I did not see the kind of toughness needed against a team like Arizona. Nor did I see offensive talent. And I even question the mental toughness displayed in that game.
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    Kentucky is so far outside the norms you can't really apply any theories to them. Every year they bring in 5 new 5 star McDonald's AA that will be gone at the end of the season. Most of the teams left have talent and experience. It's hard to get upper end talent to hang around very long, experience still counts a lot. Florida still looks like the odds on favorite to win the whole thing, they don't have anything close to a superstar, not sure how many NBA guys are on that roster. They have 4 Sr. that play key roles. As good as Payne from Michigan St. is, it took him years to get that that level. He's a Sr. He's even improved significantly from last year. While all these teams have more talent than Gonzaga, Virginia and Wisconsin and even Michigan St. and Louisville don't pull in top recruits anywhere remotely close to the way Kentucky does.

    I agree with several others that Gonzaga needs to be significantly mentally and physically tougher to take that step of getting to an Elite 8 or Final 4. And need more talent and athleticism. And way better defense.

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    I would hope Mark Few would be planning to attend the Final Four with his coaching staff so he has the experience of the environment just like Russell Wilson did when he attended the 49'ers vs Ravens Super Bowl last year. Positive mental projections! How much of a chance do you think pro scouts gave 6' Russell Wilson to win a Super Bowl in his first couple of years in the NFL? I would suggest that Mark Few contact Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson and have them address our team at some point with the positive energy and motivational inspiration of what it took to win a Super Bowl with a team of over achievers.

    Set the bar high and let your kids see you believe in their abilities enough to take the time and effort to experience the Final Four in person before what will be Kevin and Gary's senior season and who knows it could also be Karno's last year also. I don't know but I'm sure some on this board do............has coach Few ever attended a Final Four?

    Few could also get in some great fly fishing in the Guadalupe River after the games.

    Just my
    opinion

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    This is an enjoyable thread, lots of good thoughts with minimal personal insults, not that I don't find the personal insults disturbing, because I do, but it's all just entertainment, just like the basketball is really just entertainment for all of us. In fact, the list of things needed for GU to make the final four in this thread and all of the others, is quite impressive. I don't even need to list them to make my point. In fact, they are all valid. We need them all. Getting to the final four is such a difficult task that we have to improve in all of these areas. I''d wager that Mark Few and the gang know this and work on all of them, every day.

    Here's another thought: imagine a time a couple of weeks after GU makes our first final four. (Replace final four with national championship, if you like.) Better yet, imagine the next few years after that final four. Now, imagine what this board will be like at that time. We won't have nearly as much to complain about, will we? I will be ecstatic and proud when we get there, but I don't think I'll enjoy this board as much as I do now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zagceo View Post
    I would hope Mark Few would be planning to attend the Final Four with his coaching staff so he has the experience of the environment just like Russell Wilson did when he attended the 49'ers vs Ravens Super Bowl last year. Positive mental projections! How much of a chance do you think pro scouts gave 6' Russell Wilson to win a Super Bowl in his first couple of years in the NFL? I would suggest that Mark Few contact Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson and have them address our team at some point with the positive energy and motivational inspiration of what it took to win a Super Bowl with a team of over achievers.

    Set the bar high and let your kids see you believe in their abilities enough to take the time and effort to experience the Final Four in person before what will be Kevin and Gary's senior season and who knows it could also be Karno's last year also. I don't know but I'm sure some on this board do............has coach Few ever attended a Final Four?

    Few could also get in some great fly fishing in the Guadalupe River after the games.

    Just my
    opinion
    I think he has attended nearly all of them. I know he's attended most lately. I do wish he'd occasionally say "our goal is to go to the FF" or "Our goal is to win the N.C." we hear a lot more about winning the conference (which I know matters, a lot). No doubt he says a bunch of things behind closed doors we don't know about.
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    Default good post dad

    good post dad. I agree 100% with everything you said in this post. I must admit I gave up hope a long time ago that we will ever be able to recruit the type of kid you describe = Tough on defense and overall tough physically and mentally, strong, big and tall, explosive and Offensively Skilled. I don't think we will ever get that type of combination. we will get a few of those characteristics in a player but I don't see us ever getting a player with all of those attributes. those type of players are going to Arizona, Kentucky, florida, UNC etc etc. this doesn't mean I have given up on Gonzaga as a fan, I love the team but I just don't feel we will be able to SIGN those type of players, we will recruit them but SIGNING them is a different story. They will sign with the elite.

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    We need to keep hoping and keep looking. Joe Harris was one we passed up on. Look at Dayton. Those are the kind of guys I'm talking about. For one thing it would help if Gonzaga began recruiting some players that could flat out shoot from the out side. Like a healthy Pangos. I see Dayton play and they can flat out shoot from the outside. When we shoot from beyond the arc I usually hold my breath. We need a few players like Richie Frahm. Maybe Dranginis can become that kind of shooter. I think he has it in him, he just needs to get the confidence.

    What do you think of Sabonis, Demian? To me he's the kind of recruit I'm talking about. If we have a chance of recruiting the kind of players that we're talking about, then I do believe they will need to come from overseas and Canada. Pangos will be a senior next year; so I think Tommy needs to begin doing some mining in Canada for a point guard.
    Last edited by Reborn; 03-29-2014 at 04:43 PM.
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    I need to say something about Coleman and Nunez, and I don't want it to be taken as a negative statement or a "put-down." That being said, I do NOT believe that these are the kind of players that I am talking about. There has been so much written about these two players, but when we talk about next year or talk about building a team that can make a deep run in March, we will talk about them again. I see that some fans who are posting here believe that these guys could start or play major minutes next year. I am not one who believes that. Coleman can play some minutes off the bench but because he has no outside shot at all, and is not really a good, solid defender his minutes will be limited. He is also not very tough in my opinion. He is quick and fast, but when it comes to toughness I just do NOT see it. Not the kind we need any way.

    I also believe that Nunez does not have it. Unless he really changes. Maybe his last year. By then he may learn how to play the game as a team player. He has no game in my opinion. Not at an elite level. He is too thin to be tough. He is athletic and can jump, but that's not what we need. He plays defense ok, and rebounds pretty good. It is his offensive game that really suffers. Honestly, I think Few made a mistake when recruiting these guys, and in the future I think the staff needs to do better research on players coming in as transfers.

    When I look at the team next year, it looks like Nunez will be a backup 4 and that concerns me. I have heard that he can shoot from the outside, but I sure never saw that this year. If he does have an outside shot, somewhat like Barham has, then I think we're okay. I think he is better defensively, and on the boards then Barham was. Drew was usually the guy that gave Karnowski a break, and most of the time it was a great strategy, but when playing the better teams Drew struggled on defense. He just was not big enough to guard a 4 who was not only tough but also a good scorer. Let's hope that Nunez can evolve into that kind of player, but one who is 6-8.

    I think the other guy we need to keep in mind is Meikel. Meikel is 6' 8" and memory of him is that he could shoot from the outside in high school. If he can add weight and keep his shot he could help. I liked how he played this year, as did other fans here, and quite honestly I don't know why he didn't play more. He seems to have better basketball IQ then Nunez. And I also feel the same about Edwards. I think he's okay as a backup center, playing some minutes. He is a good foul shooter and if he can score from the elbows and foul line I think he would be a plus. PK, so far anyway, does not shoot from that distance.

    As has been elaborated, Few has done a very good job recruiting guards, who will be very good in the years to come. I really don't need to talk about the guards here because these are the guards who could really help us (if they can knock down that outside shot at the collegiate level).

    Now the most important person in this picture I believe is Sabonis. If, and for me it's a pretty big IF, if he comes to Gonzaga, then I believe we're in good shape. This is the kind of recruit we need, Demian. He will be as good of a fit as I believe Elias was. Maybe better because he's taller. But we need an elite rebounder and I think Sabonis is that, and he will evolve into a pretty good shooter I believe. If Sabonis comes I believe we have a legitimate reason to be really excited about next year.

    Go Zags!!!
    Go Zags!!! The Best Is Yet To Come!!!

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    This was an interesting year for the zags in my opinion. I started out more negative in my expectations than I think I ever have. I didn't think our inside game could hold up against the competition, boy was I wrong. Shem and Sam both exceeded my expectations and were quite dominant and was what the team turned to towards the end to win.
    The season started out with a very high scoring team that was throwing in 3's from everywhere, but Pangos gets hurt and all of a sudden no one can shoot from outside and the team begins to struggle.
    Thank goodness the inside game developed.
    I believe this team was way more talented than the Arizona game showed. I think we had a bad case of nerves as the turnovers killed us. They physically seemed to dominate, but if you erase the turnovers and add a bit of outside shooting we would have been fully in the game. I think the comments on Gonzaga not competing with the Physical abilities of some of the teams is pure BS.

    Next year:

    I expect a lot from our bigs. I think Shem will be a monster and will be recognized on the world stage as such. Originally I thought Shem was a big kid that could shoot and pass a bit, but had no or not much upside as to his physical abilities. This year proved me wrong and I have seen glimpses of a huge upside with Shem. His aggressiveness bodes well for next season as he is coming to dominate the middle on defense like I have not seen in years. Arizona was really struggling with Shem. If there had been outside shooting taking the pressure off him he could have gone to work, but that was not to be. Late in the year Shem started shooting face up jumpers, not just the across the middle hooks. This is really changing his game and I about fell off my chair a couple times of late with him dribbling to the rim. If he can be affective moving with the ball he will be NBA material. Lets hope that develops, but most of all I want to see him develop a game at the free throw line in. Put it on the floor and come down the middle or pop a little wide open jumper to make them come up and guard him. Shem's development will greatly determine what happens next year and I'm excited.
    KyleW is probable of equal importance. He was a real get and with his red shirt and conditioning he should be the scoring leader for the team. I expect Kyle to play the arm much as Kelly did last year, only he has a better long range shoot and will have Shem roaming low. This could be the best offensive pair in the nation. His defense will be the big question, lets hope the physical work brought a bit of attitude.

    The area I am most concerned is with the guards. I'm hoping Pangos is healed and the shooting inconsistencies go away. If that is the case we have a team that can not be shut down. I think Bell will hold form and be much like this year. I am very high on KD, his game just keeps getting better. He was a real shooter in High School and I think with confidence that aspect comes to the surface and he and Pangos bomb away.
    The new guys are total upside and I expect major contributions from them with Melson scoring and Perkins passing.
    The one thing we need to really move up is consistent long range shooting -I have hope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BTB View Post
    To be honest, Gonzaga HAD what we needed to make a deep run this year and last. Same with that 2009-10 team. Toughness? You will NOT find two tougher guards on a team than Kevin in David. Never in a million years! Those are two of the toughest ever to come through the program. We ran into two unbelievably good teams playing unbelievably good basketball the last two years. March is about which team is hot at the right time. Eventually we will be the team winning some of these big games. The best we can do is keep recruiting great Zags and keep building our national brand IMO. There is no team in the country that does more with what we have than the Zags.

    I agree with the scheduling, but that's kind of a crapshoot. I'm sure they're doing everything in their power to schedule the best teams they can.
    I agree with your assessment of last year's team ..if not for the Bell injury I am SURE that Wichita does not make 7 3-pointers in a row ...even with the Bell injury the Zags had a good lead with 5 minutes to go and the Zags would have held them off. Without the Bell injury the Zags are in the final 4, with it the Shockers still had to go 14-28 from beyond the arc to win...

    This year's team was NOT good enough to make a deep run. We all knew,or should have known, that this year's team was not going to be as good as last year's team. The replacements for EHarris, Olynyk and Mike Hart were just not as good. Dower is NOT an NBA prospect unless he gets much stronger and grows a right hand. All you can say for Barham is that he is a very good shooter. As much as I enjoyed and admired the play of David Stockton, for a sweet-16 and beyond team, he is not a starter but a spark plug off the bench who gets about 10-15 minutes per game....

    Going into this year and knowing the talent we had returning I was worried that our string of NCAA appearances would be coming to an end ...I believe this team overachieved to get as far as they did. That being said, I believe next year's team may be better than the Olynyk/Harris team.
    It's What You learn AFTER You Know It All That Counts

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgiaZagFan View Post
    I agree with your assessment of last year's team ..if not for the Bell injury I am SURE that Wichita does not make 7 3-pointers in a row ...even with the Bell injury the Zags had a good lead with 5 minutes to go and the Zags would have held them off. Without the Bell injury the Zags are in the final 4, with it the Shockers still had to go 14-28 from beyond the arc to win...

    This year's team was NOT good enough to make a deep run. We all knew,or should have known, that this year's team was not going to be as good as last year's team. The replacements for EHarris, Olynyk and Mike Hart were just not as good. Dower is NOT an NBA prospect unless he gets much stronger and grows a right hand. All you can say for Barham is that he is a very good shooter. As much as I enjoyed and admired the play of David Stockton, for a sweet-16 and beyond team, he is not a starter but a spark plug off the bench who gets about 10-15 minutes per game....

    Going into this year and knowing the talent we had returning I was worried that our string of NCAA appearances would be coming to an end ...I believe this team overachieved to get as far as they did. That being said, I believe next year's team may be better than the Olynyk/Harris team.
    +1000 -I agree totally with your sentiments.
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