July 21, 2014

Zagaholic at Zags Scrimmage: what we saw


We finally had a chance to make it down to our first off-season Gonzaga scrimmage this summer. Read on for highlights followed by pictures.

The men usually scrimmage after the kid camps end at about 10 p.m. and go at it hard for an hour. Entrance is gained by entering at the South/West side of the old Martin Center. Once inside, take a right and follow the signs all the way to the Kennel. It’s free of charge and anyone can attend. There is plenty of seating. I would estimate that about 200 or so spectators attended, so there is plenty of choice seating. It’s a great way to get a glimpse at the newbie’s, as well as some former players.

Teams consist of 5 players, one with shirts, and one with skins. They play for approx 10 minutes and then substitutions are made. There is no scoring, referees, or coaches, so it’s pretty much a free for all. Several “fill-in” players were needed to make the teams. I have no idea who they were.

There were some disappointments as well as pleasant surprises. The disappointments were that a lot of the players we hoped to get a look at were not in attendance. Kyle Wiltjer, Silas Melson and Sabonis were absent. So were Karnowski, Dranginis, Wesley, and McClellan. This really was a bummer as we wanted to see all the new guys in action, as well as get a feel for any improvement with the bigs, Wiltjer and Karnowski.

That being said, let’s get into highlights of what we saw:

Gary Bell- was a DNP. He sat on the sidelines watching, holding a basketball. Oddly enough, I remember this exact scenario last summer, as he was injured then as well. He is not 100% yet from his knee injury/surgery, but expects to be 100% by the start of the season.

Kevin Pangos- All indications are that he is good to go. We watched very carefully. No signs of any residual injury with his ankle or turf toe. No hesitation as he planted, pushed off and cut. As always, he was money from deep. He hit aprox. 5/7 from the NBA three point line and also looked great in his mid-range game, scoring floaters at will and taking it to the hole.

Ryan Edwards- I have to be honest, he looked terrible. Slow down the court and pushed around in the paint. His body language was awful. He was frustrated at his play, as well he should have been. No footwork, no energy, and he missed a lot of forced shots. He could really use a redshirt year. He has soft hands, size, and is money from the free throw line, but he needs some work. I still feel he can become a very good player down the line.

Josh Perkins- Wow. Very skilled and looks D-1 ready. No look passes, behind the back and head. I’d buy a ticket just to watch this guy pass. He is something special. Great handles all around. Athletic and fast, with good breakaway speed and good size. If his shots aren’t falling (he hit about ½ his shots) he can take it strong to the hole, play above the rim and finish.

July 1, 2014

Zags: Full Cupboard

This, is going to be awesome.

Next year's version of the Zags promises to be the best we've had since, well, it's been awhile. With leading stars back: Pangos, Bell, Karnowski. New talent galore: Sabonis, Wiltjer. Add in elite transfers: Byron Wesley and McClellan from Vandy. Newest recruits: Perkins, Alberts, and Melson...wow!

If this team can gell, and be at peace with being TEAM players, it should be a very special year. Being team players will be important because there are a lot of players, yet limited minutes. I can't wait for the season to begin.

For a closer look, check out this video from KREM 2 Sports:

http://www.krem.com/sports/With-impact-transfers-and-promising-freshmen-Zags-loaded-for-2014-2015-265312621.html

June 4, 2014

Catching Up With Sam Dower

Ryan McNeill of HoopAddicts.com recently caught up with former Gonzaga star Sam Dower and had a chance to interview him. him. He sent me this video/link of his interview. Thanks Ryan!!

It's somewhat doubtful that Sam will be drafted, but hopefully he will impress enough in his workouts to get an invite to an NBA camp and work his way into a roster spot with a team. We'll definitely be pulling for him.

May 27, 2014

Let's Talk About Windows

If you are a fan of a mid-major basketball team, you have to accept the fact that you will probably never see your team win a championship. So, in a sense, you are accepting the fact that your team, the one you spend an inordinate amount of time cheering for and obsessing over, is destined to fail in some fashion at the end of the season. This is kind of a relief, actually, because that knowledge always exists in the back of our minds, so we can take joy in other accomplishments (beating the hell out of the University of Washington, for example, or making the tournament a bunch). We’ll never be Beyonce, but maybe if everything falls into place, for one magical year, we can be Nicki Minaj. Lorde? Whatever, you get it.

Elite schools reload and compete for titles. Mid-majors have down stretches (that can last, oh I don’t know, a decade or two) and eventually piece together an interesting roster. We are spoiled in that Gonzaga consistently attracts high level recruits (bolstered by our international pipelines), so we end up having these “interesting” teams more often than most. By “interesting,” I mean that they are good enough to play deep into the tournament and compete with/beat schools outside of the top 6. I’d say they generally happen every 2-4 years. Starting with the Morrison run, these are the teams I’m talking about:

May 19, 2014

Byron Wesley: Final Piece Of Gonzaga's Puzzle?

It comes as no big surprise that USC transfer Byron Wesley has officially decided to commit to Gonzaga. All signs pointed to him signing, but now it is official. Not sure if he is the "final piece of a puzzle" or not, but he is an upgrade at the wing position and a very talented offensive player. He has size and length which will also help the Zags on D. This newest acquisition puts the Zags squarely in the top 10 lists in a lot of peoples minds before the season even gets here. We'll be following his progress this summer at Gonzaga and let you know how he is assimilating into Coach Few's system. Watch the video from Campus Insiders below...GO ZAGS!

May 1, 2014

Transfer Bryon Wesley Closing in on a Decision: Zags in Top 3


Byron Wesley was a prized recruit coming out of High-School. A two time MVP at Etiwanda in California, he was ranked #1 in the State by Cali Sports and graded a very respective 91 on ESPN.

In college he landed at USC and improved every year. His junior season he ave 17.4 ppg, 6.4 rebounds & 2.3 assists, while draining 47.6% from the field and hitting 72% from the free-throw line. Byron even tossed in a couple of 31 point games for fun (see: WSU & Northern Arizona). At 6'5 215 lbs, he is a slasher who can create and finish at the rim with both hands while going right or left. He has a solid mid-range game and strong upper body. Defensively, he is very active with excellent D out to the perimeter.

But things were not all roses at USC. He had previously been suspended twice for violation of team rules. Additionally, his team finished his junior year 11-21, going a woeful 2-16 in conference. Also, the 2014/15 campaign, although adding some exceptional young talent (UNLV transfer Katin Reinhardt & Jordan McLaughlin), looked to be more of the same. Rebuilding while losing. He wanted out and he wanted to go out with a bang.

Given this, when the coveted guard decided to transfer from USC to play his senior year elsewhere, the phone was ringing off the hook. Teams lined up for a look at this skilled veteran. Dozens of early inquiries were whittled down to approx. 8 teams, which were subsequently cut to 5, and now to a final three: Gonzaga, Pitt & Oklahoma State.