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Thread: Can Mark Few and assistants change the face of college basketball?

  1. #1
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    Default Can Mark Few and assistants change the face of college basketball?

    If the zags go undefeated and keep winning with the same type of winning margins, I believe a majority of coaches will reevaluate their coaching styles and trend towards Gonzaga's style of play. Thereby coach Few will be immortalized forever. That is my prediction and Gonzaga will be known throughout the land.
    If you want to be happy tomorrow, think good thoughts today--Bud Fisher


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    Quote Originally Posted by zag buddy View Post
    If the zags go undefeated and keep winning with the same type margins, I believe a majority of coaches will reevaluate their coaching styles and trend towards Gonzaga's style of play. Thereby coach Few will be immortalized forever. That is my prediction and Gonzaga will be known throughout the land.
    Could happen. The zags didn't become the zags over night though. I could see more of a continuous motion offense implemented like the zags do-- much like NBA teams with lots of screen and rolls, cuts, etc... however, you need 1) smart and unselfish kids to make the passes and want to make those passes instead of 1 on 1 play, but also 2) talent. You could run the same offense, but without the horses, you're not going to reach historical level like the Zags this year. Having a HOF coach helps too.

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    The real beauty of the system is you don't need the tallest players or the fastest players to compete. What you need is a group of athletes who are willing to constantly move and share the ball. With the right combination this allows many teams to be competitive. Plus your fanbase will totally love the action, win or lose. To win it all you need superb athletes, but to win your conference and get to the big dance the bar is much lower.
    If you want to be happy tomorrow, think good thoughts today--Bud Fisher


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    What I don’t get when I watch other teams play is I don’t really see any kind of offensive system let alone a good one. I don’t know what they’re doing with their practice time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cscz28 View Post
    What I don’t get when I watch other teams play is I don’t really see any kind of offensive system let alone a good one. I don’t know what they’re doing with their practice time.
    Working on their one on one skills. Tough to find teams that are willing to pass like the Zags.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cscz28 View Post
    What I don’t get when I watch other teams play is I don’t really see any kind of offensive system let alone a good one. I don’t know what they’re doing with their practice time.
    Most of these big time schools recruit most of their players from the aau circuit, and most of these type players have huge egos and have a bunch of hangers on hoping to make a bunch of money off of these players. Our coaching staff stays away from these type of players. This huge egos will not allow themselves to play together as a team, they have to show their 1 on 1 skills and high lite dunks to the nba scouts.

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    I am done. Spoiled forever. A hopeless case. I simply do not enjoying watching teams that do one on one all the time (which seems like most everybody else).

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    I do think we will see more programs implement the "Gonzaga Offense" but it's not that simple.

    The Gonzaga System has been evolving for years before it reached its full lowering in the last 5 seasons. I read where somebody said about GU that they play an NBA-style game with NBA and near-NBA talent against College teams that mostly have less talent. That's why so many of these high-end college programs look so shocked when they face it in person for the first time. You could see right away that USC didn't know what they were in for.

    Getting to this place required all of those seasons in the early 2000's where we definitely didn't have the most talent but were willing to play a fundamentally sound game that required sharing, passing, motion to cover for the talent gap. Those teams punched above their weight, had flashes of amazing and garnered respect but you could see the ceiling when you played #1 seeds like UNC, AZ, 'Cuse, MSU in that era.

    However, with the exposure, we got better US players but crucially, we brought international kids who didn't come from the top-tiers of the AAU system. They were just as talented but unknown. They didn't arrive with the sense of entitlement and were highly coachable and so they seamlessly blended into Few's system. The culture was cemented in this time and reinforced with a strong local alumni core. At the same time, we took advantage of the transfer system. The redshirt year for these kids in the program were transformative and word spread. The Olynyk Clinic era. By the early 2010's, we were fielding borderline NBA level talent and, with Few's evolving schemes, were winning OOC games and WCC titles but were mired in the "Few-32" era. Good teams, (even our first #1 seed in 2013) but GU still could be beaten by rugged, athletic defenses like Arizona or by getting "Jimmer-ed", & "Steph-ed". Our defense was behind our offense and Few was getting out-coached after halftime occasionally. Handsy, physical, long teams like 'Cuse, and FSU would take us out even as we screamed about the refs and the soft WCC schedule.

    Lately, we have had the best of all worlds: We are a destination for top international and US talent because we showcase them playing an NBA style game. They know they will get better and will have a tenured coaching staff at the peak of its powers. They see Zags in the NBA getting paid. These players can stay in front of their man, switch across the board on defense, will dig at the ball and who love to play fast. In the same way that teams hate playing against Boeheim's unique zone defense, the Gonzaga read-and-react offense and transition game is feared too because it is so different too. I imagine that some WCC coaches have felt a little "told ya so" after many national level programs pointed to the lopsided WCC scores as evidence of conference weakness. Game scores in the OOC and NCAA tourney games look just the same as WCC (a little worse even).

    My point is that it is hard to replicate this without going through the steps we had to. Maybe some other program can do it quicker but if it was that simple somebody would have already been the "next Gonzaga". I also think this is sustainable as long as we have coach Few and his key staff members. I keep telling myself that he is the son of a preacher from Creswell, OR who stayed at the same chruch for 58 years. Like father, like son, I hope.

    ZZ

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    Quote Originally Posted by zagzilla View Post
    I do think we will see more programs implement the "Gonzaga Offense" but it's not that simple.

    The Gonzaga System has been evolving for years before it reached its full lowering in the last 5 seasons. I read where somebody said about GU that they play an NBA-style game with NBA and near-NBA talent against College teams that mostly have less talent. That's why so many of these high-end college programs look so shocked when they face it in person for the first time. You could see right away that USC didn't know what they were in for.

    Getting to this place required all of those seasons in the early 2000's where we definitely didn't have the most talent but were willing to play a fundamentally sound game that required sharing, passing, motion to cover for the talent gap. Those teams punched above their weight, had flashes of amazing and garnered respect but you could see the ceiling when you played #1 seeds like UNC, AZ, 'Cuse, MSU in that era.

    However, with the exposure, we got better US players but crucially, we brought international kids who didn't come from the top-tiers of the AAU system. They were just as talented but unknown. They didn't arrive with the sense of entitlement and were highly coachable and so they seamlessly blended into Few's system. The culture was cemented in this time and reinforced with a strong local alumni core. At the same time, we took advantage of the transfer system. The redshirt year for these kids in the program were transformative and word spread. The Olynyk Clinic era. By the early 2010's, we were fielding borderline NBA level talent and, with Few's evolving schemes, were winning OOC games and WCC titles but were mired in the "Few-32" era. Good teams, (even our first #1 seed in 2013) but GU still could be beaten by rugged, athletic defenses like Arizona or by getting "Jimmer-ed", & "Steph-ed". Our defense was behind our offense and Few was getting out-coached after halftime occasionally. Handsy, physical, long teams like 'Cuse, and FSU would take us out even as we screamed about the refs and the soft WCC schedule.

    Lately, we have had the best of all worlds: We are a destination for top international and US talent because we showcase them playing an NBA style game. They know they will get better and will have a tenured coaching staff at the peak of its powers. They see Zags in the NBA getting paid. These players can stay in front of their man, switch across the board on defense, will dig at the ball and who love to play fast. In the same way that teams hate playing against Boeheim's unique zone defense, the Gonzaga read-and-react offense and transition game is feared too because it is so different too. I imagine that some WCC coaches have felt a little "told ya so" after many national level programs pointed to the lopsided WCC scores as evidence of conference weakness. Game scores in the OOC and NCAA tourney games look just the same as WCC (a little worse even).

    My point is that it is hard to replicate this without going through the steps we had to. Maybe some other program can do it quicker but if it was that simple somebody would have already been the "next Gonzaga". I also think this is sustainable as long as we have coach Few and his key staff members. I keep telling myself that he is the son of a preacher from Creswell, OR who stayed at the same chruch for 58 years. Like father, like son, I hope.

    ZZ
    Nice assessment! Lots of truth in there. Who was it that said Mark Few prepares players for NBA better than any coach in college basketball?
    One of the greatest stories in basketball history...Gonzaga!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zagzilla View Post
    I do think we will see more programs implement the "Gonzaga Offense" but it's not that simple.

    The Gonzaga System has been evolving for years before it reached its full lowering in the last 5 seasons. I read where somebody said about GU that they play an NBA-style game with NBA and near-NBA talent against College teams that mostly have less talent. That's why so many of these high-end college programs look so shocked when they face it in person for the first time. You could see right away that USC didn't know what they were in for.

    Getting to this place required all of those seasons in the early 2000's where we definitely didn't have the most talent but were willing to play a fundamentally sound game that required sharing, passing, motion to cover for the talent gap. Those teams punched above their weight, had flashes of amazing and garnered respect but you could see the ceiling when you played #1 seeds like UNC, AZ, 'Cuse, MSU in that era.

    However, with the exposure, we got better US players but crucially, we brought international kids who didn't come from the top-tiers of the AAU system. They were just as talented but unknown. They didn't arrive with the sense of entitlement and were highly coachable and so they seamlessly blended into Few's system. The culture was cemented in this time and reinforced with a strong local alumni core. At the same time, we took advantage of the transfer system. The redshirt year for these kids in the program were transformative and word spread. The Olynyk Clinic era. By the early 2010's, we were fielding borderline NBA level talent and, with Few's evolving schemes, were winning OOC games and WCC titles but were mired in the "Few-32" era. Good teams, (even our first #1 seed in 2013) but GU still could be beaten by rugged, athletic defenses like Arizona or by getting "Jimmer-ed", & "Steph-ed". Our defense was behind our offense and Few was getting out-coached after halftime occasionally. Handsy, physical, long teams like 'Cuse, and FSU would take us out even as we screamed about the refs and the soft WCC schedule.

    Lately, we have had the best of all worlds: We are a destination for top international and US talent because we showcase them playing an NBA style game. They know they will get better and will have a tenured coaching staff at the peak of its powers. They see Zags in the NBA getting paid. These players can stay in front of their man, switch across the board on defense, will dig at the ball and who love to play fast. In the same way that teams hate playing against Boeheim's unique zone defense, the Gonzaga read-and-react offense and transition game is feared too because it is so different too. I imagine that some WCC coaches have felt a little "told ya so" after many national level programs pointed to the lopsided WCC scores as evidence of conference weakness. Game scores in the OOC and NCAA tourney games look just the same as WCC (a little worse even).

    My point is that it is hard to replicate this without going through the steps we had to. Maybe some other program can do it quicker but if it was that simple somebody would have already been the "next Gonzaga". I also think this is sustainable as long as we have coach Few and his key staff members. I keep telling myself that he is the son of a preacher from Creswell, OR who stayed at the same chruch for 58 years. Like father, like son, I hope.

    ZZ
    It will also be interesting to see the evolution that comes along next season, when we go
    From “small ball” (relatively) to “ginormous ball” with unprecedented size, and playable
    Depth with size. They will look very different next season. Part of the fun for Coach Few is
    Figuring out what he has personnel-wise, and how to best utilize that personnel.

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    Another small advantage that cannot be replicated.

    Mark Few doesn't recruit jackasses, even non-AAU ones. Team has veto power, and used it, according to Few (a couple times). Few then makes them men, who are even more mature.

    I am convinced that matters to NBA teams. NBA is concerned with development more than anything. It is very hard to develop someone that doesn't want to listen to anyone and thinks they're already Lebron. Some may have noticed but Lebron and Kobe were not jackasses either. There seems to be a connection there somewhere.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DZ View Post
    Another small advantage that cannot be replicated.

    Mark Few doesn't recruit jackasses, even non-AAU ones. Team has veto power, and used it, according to Few (a couple times). Few then makes them men, who are even more mature.

    I am convinced that matters to NBA teams. NBA is concerned with development more than anything. It is very hard to develop someone that doesn't want to listen to anyone and thinks they're already Lebron. Some may have noticed but Lebron and Kobe were not jackasses either. There seems to be a connection there somewhere.
    Magic Johnson
    Bonjour tristesse.

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    Not sure what "change the face " means. The style of play? We have a very unique group of players this year. This group also has unusual talents and size. I'm sure some coach somewhere is eyeing the style of play this year. It's way different from our own style from years past. I have some doubt that we can replicate the present play even next year.

    I'd like to think so but this team is so unusual, I doubt it'll be a model for the rest. The passing alone is so unusual that i think it's the best I've seen in a college team as I've said before.
    I just love this team.
    I will be saddened to see the one and dones move along. Just once I'd like to see a group of kids stick together. <sigh>...doubt it'll happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDABE80 View Post
    Not sure what "change the face " means. The style of play? We have a very unique group of players this year. This group also has unusual talents and size. I'm sure some coach somewhere is eyeing the style of play this year. It's way different from our own style from years past. I have some doubt that we can replicate the present play even next year.

    I'd like to think so but this team is so unusual, I doubt it'll be a model for the rest. The passing alone is so unusual that i think it's the best I've seen in a college team as I've said before.
    I just love this team.
    I will be saddened to see the one and dones move along. Just once I'd like to see a group of kids stick together. <sigh>...doubt it'll happen.
    NCAA is unlike the NBA, it's not a copycat league. NBA is now primarily a 3 point shooting league, so much so it's gotten boring, and reflected in diminished TV ratings.

    The players the Zags recruit are an endangered species: basketball players first, great athletes second, team first players third, and excellent students fourth.

    Here's where the Zags have really improved over the past five years: we have a coach that is no longer a control freak, Mark allows his players a great deal of freedom within his system. I'm not saying he was a control freak like most NCAA coaches, but he tightened the reins more in the past.

    I marvel at how Mark has turned the reins of the offense over to Jalen Suggs this year. I don't recall a freshman that had that much latitude before...then again, Jalen is a once in a generation player for the Zags.

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    No...college basketball is a multi billion dollar business that involves thousands of individuals and hundreds of institutions all seeking their own self interest...in a dynamic environment ....The Courts are going to change college basketball....not the basketball courts.

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    Tough to replicate. The balance on this team is exceptional, the personalities mesh, and the core unit are all 99th percentile basketball IQ kind of players. When our bench comes in at the end of games and tries to run the same action, you can see how much harder it is than the starting unit makes it look. I think those guys get there in time, but the feel for the game and feel for the system needs to be super high level. Would love to see more teams attempt to emulate this style of play though, it's a joy to watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bartruff1 View Post
    No...college basketball is a multi billion dollar business that involves thousands of individuals and hundreds of institutions all seeking their own self interest...in a dynamic environment ....The Courts are going to change college basketball....not the basketball courts.
    +1

    Nice to see you, Bart. Hope you and the family are well.
    Go ZAGS!

    Only watching the ball, misses at least 80% of the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasZagFan View Post
    ...

    Here's where the Zags have really improved over the past five years: we have a coach that is no longer a control freak, Mark allows his players a great deal of freedom within his system. I'm not saying he was a control freak like most NCAA coaches, but he tightened the reins more in the past.

    I marvel at how Mark has turned the reins of the offense over to Jalen Suggs this year. I don't recall a freshman that had that much latitude before...then again, Jalen is the first of many generational players for the Zags.
    Remember the land of "Few 32", Tex, when a player sat much of a half for one mistake? When we talked on this Board about coaching with a fear of losing? How some of the players had issues with confidence and player substitutions were done by the game clock not by performance?

    No more, as Coach as grown from the, "...best men's college basketball Administrator...", to a Master Craftsman at the college game. From recruiting (which he was always good at), to scheme development, to player development, practice, to even now game/clock management.

    How fortunate for us ZAG fans he has never been satisfied with being a Cinderella, or a real fine mid-major, a perennial overachiever. There is only one goal, perfection.

    Oh, the emphasis in your post is my slight adjustment, cause we ain't seen nothin' yet...

    In response to the OP....
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
    committed people can change the world;
    indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

    ~ Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist ~
    Go ZAGS!

    Only watching the ball, misses at least 80% of the game.

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    Some rely on getting TOP prospects to win...as much as coaching. One of the worst beatdowns I ever saw GU get was from the 2005 ILLINI....THEIR PASSING was on par with GUs now...GREAT TEAM.

    " NO Team is faster than the pass"

    When you combine GREAT shooters/athletes with great passing....you get a team tgats tough to beat. The 1992 "DREAM TEAM" was the greatest ever assembled...when you have Bird...Stockton...Magic...on the same team...LIGHTS OUT!

    The other thing passing teams like GU cause? FATIQUE and Frustration.....chasing the ball around and not catching up does that. THEIR STYLE OF PLAY IS A WEAPON.

    I do think folks will take a hard look at GUs style...especially if they run the table....which hasnt happened in 45 years...rare earth indeed. It also doesnt hurt to have a DREAM TEAM member mentoring and anotheR(BARKLEY) singing its praises. Winners ARE the blueprint. The pass is what kept GU winning..and also pumps up the fanbase...its the way the game was meant to be played...its like an orchestra. I also think its more work for coaches to get a team to move in sync...but once learned..it can keep a program relevant. Its VERY rare to see teams master it....but the 2020-21 team may very well change the BB lanscape...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyra View Post
    I am done. Spoiled forever. A hopeless case. I simply do not enjoying watching teams that do one on one all the time (which seems like most everybody else).
    That is all the NBA ever is.

    Same play, over and over, 4 guys clear out, one on one, and either go to the hole or kick it out.

    It's why 7'0 guys better be able to shoot the 3 now.

    I read a good article on whether Shaq would even be an all-star these days. Interesting.

    As for the culture where kids don't share and egos? Blame the adults around them. One doesn't become a "good man" on one's own, not usually anyway.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
    Mark Twain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DZ View Post
    That is all the NBA ever is.

    Same play, over and over, 4 guys clear out, one on one, and either go to the hole or kick it out.

    It's why 7'0 guys better be able to shoot the 3 now.

    I read a good article on whether Shaq would even be an all-star these days. Interesting.

    As for the culture where kids don't share and egos? Blame the adults around them. One doesn't become a "good man" on one's own, not usually anyway.
    Then you haven’t been watching the Golden State Warriors over the past 7 years. Beautiful basketball, lots of movement and crisp passing.

    But, I refused to watch James Harden when he was with the Rockets. Dribble to the top of the key and usually launch a 3, or drive to the basket. Gawd awful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdmiller7 View Post
    Working on their one on one skills. Tough to find teams that are willing to pass like the Zags.
    Passing is the real deal to winning,these guys love it and it is a joy to watch,period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag buddy View Post
    If the zags go undefeated and keep winning with the same type of winning margins, I believe a majority of coaches will reevaluate their coaching styles and trend towards Gonzaga's style of play. Thereby coach Few will be immortalized forever. That is my prediction and Gonzaga will be known throughout the land.
    Reno posted this link in Old Dogs, but it really belongs here:
    https://theathletic.com/2459932/2021...th-in-spokane/

    This article is fantastic in describing that Gonzaga is doing to college basketball. GU has created a highly unique culture of innovation that is changing not only college basketball but US basketball. Few's staff is learning and integrating new concepts from all over the world and they have unfettered access to the best minds in basketball, especially in Europe. The style GU plays now is a direct expression of that fusion of international experience and knowledge. Programs across the country want to infuse that into their styles and that is making Mark Few's coaching tree valuable.
    'I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.'
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