October 31, 2014

Exhibition Preview: Gonzaga vs Thompson Rivers University

Thompson Rivers University Roster

Finally, at long last it’s here...well sort of. The much anticipated 2014/15 Gonzaga Men’s Basketball season gets underway on Saturday night at 6 p.m. in the comfy confines of the Kennel. It’s just an exhibition, but certainly the Zag players will enjoy mauling someone besides themselves for a change.

The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack (3-2 preseason) hailing out of Kamloops B.C. Canada, will undoubtedly have their hands full when they roll into Spokane and face a team that is ranked preseason Top 10 by several experts. The ‘Pack however, have a ton of experience, with several 5th year seniors on-board including; 6'4 guard Brent Rouault, 6.8 F Tallon Milne with a fgp of .597, and Brett Parker. Another standout leader is senior 6’10 F Josh Wolfram 12.8 ppg 7.6 rpg. Rouault is their most dangerous deep threat. He can torch the nets, hitting 42% last season.

They have experience and they also have a very good coach, Scott Clark, who came over to the Wolfpack from Simon Frazer, where he led the Clan to 10 straight playoff appearances. He also led Thompson Rivers to its very first Canadian West playoff appearance last season. One thing they do lack, and it’s a pretty “big” problem if you are going to be facing Gonzaga, is size in the paint.

In speaking with Coach Clark earlier today it became apparent that he was less than thrilled about the prospect of containing Przemek Karnowski. When I asked him who he had that he could match up with Gonzaga’s Karnowski, he dead panned “No-one.” He then went on to say it would probably be 6'8 senior Tallon Milne. His answer might become fairly common among opponents this season as 7’2 Przemek is indeed going to be a problem for a lot of teams. 

October 27, 2014

Kraziness in the Kennel 2014- What we saw

We didn't get the best seats this year as the lines were longer than usual. I suppose that was to be expected given all the new players and the preseason hype. These are always fun and it’s nice to get a look at the new players but, I can tell you right now you can’t really glean too much from them. It’s hard to get a solid take when you are basically watching a scrimmage/free for all.  That being said… lets take a look.

As I said, the lines were long. It wasn't that I arrived later than usual; it’s just that the lines stretched forever. It was difficult to tell where one started and one ended. But, we eventually made our way in and it was loud. Smoke was everywhere; excitement was in the air as well as the smell of food. Freebies were given out. You could grab magnetic schedules as well as posters and mini-schedules. It was a full house that was packed to the rafters.

The lights were dimmed and player/coach introductions were made to a raucous crowd that appreciated the newly lit party lights and smoke. I would say that Gary Bell received the loudest welcome, followed closely by Pangos, Wiltjer, Sabonis, and Mark Few. (*Wanted to give a shoutout to the new Director of Basketball Operations, John Jakus, who was also announced for the first time. He received a warm round of applause as well. Welcome to G.U. John!)

October 24, 2014

Gonzaga's Gary Bell Jr. Talks Upcoming Season and Kraziness in the Kennel-

Good interview w/ Gary Bell Jr. about his goals for the season and more. He wants everyone to pack the house for the annual Kraziness in the Kennel tommorow...be there! Gonzaga's Gary Bell Jr. Talks Upcoming Season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

October 16, 2014

Gonzaga #13 in Coaches Poll

The first major poll is out, the USA Today Coaches Poll, and the Zags come in at a very respectable #13. Some will be a tad disappointed it isn't higher, but I feel it's about right.

There has been a ton of preseason hype surrounding this year's team and I for one am happy that this poll has not simply handed the NCAA Crown over to the Zags. This will in most likelihood be a very good team but a pinch of sensibility might be in order folks. It may just be that some over zealous fans should stop guzzling the koolaid (myself included) and come up for air.

To be sure, Gonzaga has some pretty good pieces coming back in Pangos, Bell, and Karnowski. Plus, some elite transfers; Wiltjer, McClellan, Wesley, and Sabonis. Yes, this edition is loaded with talent but that does not always equate to winning. See: Kentucky. They have 9 All-Americans on their roster this year. They've had close to that number before as well, and yet with all of that talent they were bounced in the NIT.

Not saying the Zags will be NIT bound, as we have a pretty good coach, but lets get the season going before we buy the Nat'l Title shirts. A very early litmus test will come on the road vs Arizona, who is ranked #2.

It will be a difficult task to come away with a win down in the desert. If the Zags are undefeated after the 'Zona game, meaning they will have defeated SMU at home and won the NIT Preseason Tourney, we won't be needing anymore koolaid.

Go Zags!!~

September 29, 2014

db4three-life outside a holster

Former Gonzaga star and deep three sniper, Drew Barham, is getting his feet wet w/ Japanese customs and the everyday lifestyle. He has started a blog titled: "db4three-life outside a holster" that chronicles his experiences while in Japan.

After graduation from Gonzaga he signed a pro contract to play professional basketball with the Oita Heat Devils in Beppu, Japan. The duration of the initial contract is for 8 months.

He has been successful in reaching one of his two dreams since childhood, which was to play D1 basketball at the highest level. Now he'll be torching the nets in Japan in the interim, as he hopes to get a shot at his second dream. That, is to become a sharp shooter in the NBA.

We will be following Drew in his quest to reach his second dream, as well as wishing him the best of success! DBforThreeeeeeeeeeeee!

Here is the link to his new Bloghttp://db4three.wordpress.com/?blogsub=confirming#blog_subscription-2

September 27, 2014

Gonzaga's David Stockton gets a Shot with the Wizards

According to Wizard's Insider Jorge Castillo former Gonzaga star David Stockton has signed a contract with the NBA's Washington Wizards to play on their Training Camp Roster.

He played with the Phoenix Sun's summer league team as well as more recently with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz, so he's been getting some pretty good looks.

Although his contract with the Wizards is not guaranteed, he gets a shot at making the team. He will be battling five other signees, which include Daniel Orton and Marquette star Vander Blue during training camp as they battle for the last roster spot available.

Not the best odds for making the final roster but not many gave his father John Stockton much of a chance to make it in the NBA either, yet he became a perennial All-Star with the Utah Jazz and a Hall of Fame player.

Even though he is rather small for a prototypical NBA point guard, David has some of that grit and determination his father was known for. He is also very good at distributing the rock, finding the open man, being disruptive, and otherwise causing havoc on defense. So who knows, maybe he'll surprise us and stick.

In any event, pretty exciting times for a player who started out as a walk-on at Gonzaga. We will definitely be pulling for him to get that last roster spot!

September 25, 2014

Gonzaga looking at Premiere Canadian Recruit Christian David

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was recently in Ontario, Canada watching 2017 6'5 SG Christian David, who is widely considered one of the premiere prospects in Canada. 

Currently ranked the #1 prospect in the class by North Pole Hoops, he plays for Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School in Milton, Ontario. 

He is considered very skilled, an excellent passer with a high basketball I.Q. and was recently named MVP at the NPH hoops showcase. Besides Gonzaga, he is drawing a lot of interest from various top D1 schools. He has offers from Oregon, Baylor, and Illinois. UConn and Michigan have shown interest as well.

Gonzaga has a proven track record of being very successful at acquiring and developing Canadian prospects such as; Kelly Olynyk, Robert Sacre and Kevin Pangos. That alone should put the Zags in a pretty good place with Christian. 

Hopefully GU can continue the trend of landing top talent from Canada, and keep the Canadian pipeline to Gonzaga flowing.

Christian David DP
Via North Pole Hoops: "The rising Filipino star is already very skilled, with a well-rounded game and still growing both physically and as a player–Picture perfect shooting stroke, High I.Q, great length and athleticism, complimented with possibly his most distinguishing characteristic–VISION and passing ability. David’s recruitment exploded after an MVP performance at the Toronto #NPHShowcase this past summer, followed by strong production on the AAU circuit. David currently holds major NCAA offers from Illinois, Baylor, Oregon and St Bonaventure."

*Thanks to North Pole Hoops for the update! Go Zags!

September 18, 2014

Past Zag Star JP Batista Transfers to Limoges CSP of France

One of the greatest Gonzaga bigs of all time, JP Batista, recently was signed to a 2 year professional contract by Limoges CSP of France. They are very excited to get some much needed interior help, as they should be. JP is very powerful, has excellent hands, and is more than a capable scorer, hitting .589 from the field at Gonzaga in the 2005/6 season. He was also money at the free throw line ave. .833%. JP scored 19 points per game, along with approx 10 rebounds and 28 blocks.

He also has a ton of international experience playing for several pro teams as well as being on Brazil's National Team (they won the FIBA World Championship in 2010).

Best of success to JP in the continuance of his career at Limoges!. We'll be following his career and keep you updated.

Here is an article we ran across regarding his transfer (translated):

Limoges CSP recorded his first recruit for the next two seasons with the signing of Brazilian Joao Paulo Batista pivot .

Emblematic figure of the Pro since 2008, item 5 is a real support inside point with a sense of play and very good "hands" that make him a constant threat to his opponents.

"Trained at the American University of Gonzaga , "JP " Batista is a connoisseur of the continental basketball since 2006, he attended the MSB sign in 2008 and made ​​it a cornerstone of his game , winning passage Cup France and the week of the Aces in 2009 and the Leaders Cup in 2014, he was the MVP, after a quarter -final against the hard CSP .

A collection of trophy in addition to the Baltic League in 2007 and doubled championship Latvia / Euro cup in 2008!

International brazilian limougeaud the new pivot will bring to his new team a wealth of experience of the European and global basketball for the next two seasons."

September 17, 2014

Gonzaga, the Land of Giants: not just a recent trend

Gonzaga's Jean-Claude Lefebvre towers over vehicle

Lately, and it feels a bit odd for me to say this because GU has a reputation as "Guard U", but Gonzaga has become known for recruiting and acquiring international big men. I am talking about the 7' variety. Kelly Olynyk, Robert Sacre, Przemek Karnowski, and Domantas Sabonis setting the recent trend. (*editors note- Gonzaga's Will Foster not included in list as he was not an international recruit. He was from Bonny Lake, Wa. and stood 7'5 with shoes making him perhaps the largest Zag of all time. I say perhaps because Jean Claude was purported to be 7'4 w/out shoes by some.) 

With what felt almost like a paradigm shift in recruiting, I became curious; was this simply a recent trend, or had there been others? To my surprise, it turns out the Zags first landed a behemoth basketball player over a half century ago. His name was Jean-Claude Lefebvre. He stood 7'3 (some say 7'4) without shoes and weighed in at 280 lbs. This was in 1957. At that time he was the largest college basketball player in the world. The average height of a man then in France was 5'5 so his kind of size was very rare.

Born in France, he didn't like basketball as it was considered a tall man's game and he was not a fan of his own height. He resisted efforts by many to play the game. Eventually he relented and played two very successful years for the French National Team. During this time he caught the attention of Whitworth Coach James McGregor who recommended him to Gonzaga. Jean signed with Gonzaga in 1957 and the city was buzzing with anticipation. The local Spokane newspaper, the Spokesman Review, even ran a headline declaring "Gonzaga Snags Giant."

Jean-Claude had a huge appetite and was known for having, among other things, three milk shakes and one and a half gallons of orange juice per day. He was so big that special beds had to be made for him at Gonzaga as well as specially made shoes. The largest athletic shoes available at the time were size 17. Those were made for the gigantic professional heavyweight boxer named Primo Carnera. The problem was that Jean-Claude needed size 21s, so they had to rush order custom ones!

In his first game as a Zag he scored 50 points vs Whitworth College. Once a giant cardboard cutout was even used (a likeness of Jean) to assist Idaho College in preparation for shooting higher against the Zag's French Giant. It was held up by their diminutive assistant coach (see picture below).

His career at GU was hampered due to knee injuries and he also became homesick. After his second season he went back to France. Jean-Claude was drafted #64 by the NBA's Minneapolis Lakers in 1960, becoming the first Frenchman ever drafted. He was hopeful of playing for his country in the Olympics but unfortunately, he contracted tuberculosis and was hospitalized. It also ended his chance to play in the NBA. 

He passed away in 1999. RIP big fella and thanks for anchoring the Zags... aka- BIGs U.

Photo: Courtesy of Gonzaga University Archives

* Gonzaga's senior guard Chuck Redmond stands next to Jean Claude in above pic. 

September 16, 2014

The Brodies-An Introduction

Some of our Zags having some fun and they can play waay above the rim...niice! This definitely is the most athletic team GU has ever fielded. The upcoming season promises to be a fun one!!~