Oct 31, 2021; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) points to the guy he was covering during a game against the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers in the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Bulldogs won 115-62. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
When the 2022 NBA Draft rolls around in late June, odds are that Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren has his named called over the first three picks. In fact, many experts anticipate the Orlando Magic will select him at No. 1 overall.
And Holmgren certainly isn’t lacking any confidence. Whether he goes first overall or slips to No. 10, the WCC Defensive Player of the Year envisions a rapid ascension.
The one knock against Holmgren is that he needs to bulk up in order to compete against the league’s more dominant players. He carried just 195 pounds on his 7-foot frame and that’s simply not going to get the job done. But despite that, Holmgren maintains that his most pressing need is to improve his shooting.
And surprise, surprise — Holmgren doesn’t envision that being much of an issue.
Gonzaga entered March Madness as the No. 1 overall team, but they made a very quick exit from the Big Dance.
Gonzaga lost 74-68 to the No. 4-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks in the Sweet 16 on Thursday in San Francisco, Calif. Gonzaga entered the game 28-3 on the season, but there were concerning signs regarding their play throughout the tournament. They were close with Georgia State for about 30 minutes before pulling away. They struggled to get past Memphis in the second round. Then things caught him with them when they lost to the Hogs in the West Region semis.
Many college basketball fans picked Gonzaga to win it all, so the outcome busted a lot of brackets. Take a look at the reaction on Twitter to Arkansas pulling the upset.
Gonzaga had a reputation for years as being great in the regular season and then choking in the NCAA Tournament. They seemed to cast that reputation aside when they made at least the Final Four in four of the last six tournaments. But now they have lost in the Sweet 16 again, and they’ve busted a bunch of brackets in the process.
John Stockton is one of the most celebrated basketball players in Gonzaga history, but it may be a while before anyone sees the Hall of Famer in attendance to watch his alma mater play.
Stockton told Theo Lawson of The Spokesman-Review on Saturday that his season ticket package has been suspended by Gonzaga. Stockton and the university have been at odds over the the mask mandate at McCarthey Athletic Center. The 59-year-old said he had a conversation with Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford recently that was “not pleasant.”
“Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit,” Stockton explained. “And therefore they received complaints and felt like from whatever the higher-ups — those weren’t discussed, but from whatever it was higher up — they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask or they were going to suspend my tickets.”
Stockton chose the latter, which is not a surprise. He has been outspoken against mandates and lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Stockton shared some of his thoughts in a documentary last year titled “COVID and the Vaccine: Truth, Lies and Misconceptions Revealed.” He said during that interview that more than 100 professional athletes and possibly millions of other people have died as a result of being vaccinated. Those claims are not based in fact.
Stockton, the NBA’s all-time leader in steals and assists, said the disagreement over masking has strained his relationship with Gonzaga. He believes the two sides will eventually work things out, however.
“I think certainly it stresses (the relationship with Gonzaga). I’m pretty connected to the school,” he said. “I’ve been part of this campus since I was probably 5 or 6 years old. I was just born a couple blocks away and sneaking into the gym and selling programs to get into games since I was a small boy. So, it’s strained but not broken, and I’m sure we’ll get through it, but it’s not without some conflict.”
It does not sound like Stockton plans to change his mind about wearing a mask to Gonzaga games. He said his tickets will be reissued if and when the mask mandate is dropped.
Stockton played for Gonzaga from 1980-1984. He is one of only two players to have his jersey number retired by the school. Stockton was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 16th overall pick in 1984. He spent his entire career in Utah and was named an All-Star 10 times.
H/T Outkick Photo: Feb 18, 2016; Spokane, WA, USA; NBA all star John Stockton looks during the game between the Pacific Tigers and the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Asked specifically about Turgeon stepping down, which ended his 11-year run with the Terps, Few blamed it on Maryland fans. Point blank, period.
“That fanbase made it so miserable that it wasn’t worth it anymore. The toll it was taking on him and his family. And then I think you could see that effect, it was even taking a toll on his team,” Few said, via 247 Sports.
“I don’t believe a college team should ever be booed. Not at home. You know on the road, I get it. But you should never boo college kids at home. I got a real problem with that. But the word fan is short for fanatic, so there you have it,” Few added.
Turgeon led Maryland to five NCAA Tournaments (would have been six had the 2020 tournament not been cancelled), but only went 5-5 in March Madness games. The Terps were also 3-6 in the Big Ten Tournament under Turgeon, reaching the semifinals just once.
Does that warrant cheering and support? It may not warrant booing at home, but the records and accomplishments certainly aren’t anything worth celebrating.
It’s admirable that Few would stand up for his friend, but Turgeon wasn’t receiving any unfair treatment. Fans are passionate — fanatical — and they let their voices to be heard. Don’t want to hear booing? Then win.
No. 1 Gonzaga creamed No. 2 UCLA 83-63 in an intriguing early-season matchup and proved for now that they are a very deserving No. 1 team. Chet Holmgren also showed he is worthy of the hype.
The freshman center scored 15 points with six rebounds and four blocks in his team’s win. He showed off a variety of skills during the game.
In a postgame interview with ESPN’s Sean Farnham, Holmgren was asked about his “unicorn” ability. Rather than tooting his own horn, Holmgren turned the focus to something more important than individual status: being a winner.
He told Farnham he wants to be known for something else with his game.
“Just a winner. Whatever it takes to win, whatever it might be … whether I have to block shots, dribble down and dunk the ball, it doesn’t matter if it’s screen coverages, switches on guards, making the right pass, it doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to win,” Holmgren said.
NBA teams will love hearing that.
Holmgren may be a top recruit and future NBA prospect, but he is a team-first player.
In addition to Holmgren, Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard delivered big games for Gonzaga. Timme had 18 points and 8 rebounds, while Nembhard added 24 points.
Gonzaga once again looks like the real deal.
Photo: Oct 31, 2021; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) points to the guy he was covering during a game against the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers in the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Bulldogs won 115-62. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few was arrested for driving while under the influence back in September, and he was not all that cooperative with police during the incident.
Few was suspended for two exhibition games and Gonzaga’s season opener against Dixie State after he was arrested in Idaho over Labor Day Weekend. The 58-year-old refused a field sobriety test after he was pulled over, telling police that the tests are “totally subjective” and that his previously sprained ankles would prevent him from completing one properly.
Few seemed to repeatedly forget that the arresting officer asked him to keep his hands out of his pockets. He looked annoyed that the officer kept reminding him. He also asked to call his attorney multiple times. A breathalyzer test revealed that his blood alcohol content was much higher than the legal limit.
Few entered a plea agreement earlier this month. He must pay a $1,000 fine and complete a community service program. He will also have to take a drug and alcohol course and have an ignition interlock device in his car for a year.
Few has been the head coach at Gonzaga since 1999. He was an assistant there for more than a decade prior to that. He has an overall record of 630-124 and took the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament final last year.
The Baylor Bears dominated Gonzaga from the start of Monday’s national championship to the end, winning 86-70 to take home their first ever national championship. They also denied Gonzaga and Mark Few their first national championship, as well as a perfect season.
Baylor got off to a 9-0 lead, led by 19 (33-14), and cruised to victory in the second half. Gonzaga briefly got the game to single-digits in the second half before Baylor regained control.
It was clear from the start that it was Baylor’s night and that Gonzaga was toast.
Baylor forced the Bulldogs into several turnovers early and turned them into points, resulting in the Bears building up their lead. Jalen Suggs picked up two fouls in just over the first three minutes of the game, which got his team off on shaky ground.
Meanwhile, Baylor played like the machine they were for most of the season and NCAA Tournament. The Bears got 22 points from star Jared Butler, 19 from MaCio Teague, and Adam Flagler scored 12 off the bench. They made 44.8 percent of their shots, highlighted by 10-for-23 shooting on threes (43.5 percent) and 16-for-18 on free throws (88.9 percent).
Though Gonzaga entered as the undefeated team and finishes 31-1, Baylor was right there with them as the best team in the country. The Bears finish the season 28-2, with losses only to Kansas and Oklahoma State.
Gonzaga may have been spent after their exhausting, emotional overtime win over UCLA in the Final Four on Saturday. They certainly didn’t look ready to play on Monday night, and they were no match for Baylor, which brought its A-game.
It’s hard to fathom what Scott Drew has now done at Baylor. Drew took the Baylor job in the summer of 2003 after the major scandal in the program. Patrick Dennehy was killed by a teammate, Carlton Dotson. Dotson later pleaded guilty to the charges. As if that weren’t bad enough, Dave Bliss later accused Dennehy of being a drug dealer.
The program was penalized by the NCAA, had to overcome transfers and a reputational hit. Drew somehow managed to turn Baylor into a power in the Big 12 despite all that, and now, a national champion.
Gonzaga benefited from a favorable call in the final seconds of regulation, which helped pave the way for their overtime win against UCLA in the Final Four on Saturday night.
UCLA tied the game at 81 on a pair of Jaime Jaquez free throws with 43 seconds left in regulation. UCLA got a stop after Corey Kispert missed a 3-pointer. The Bruins took the ball the other way for the final shot from Johnny Juzang. However, Juzang was called for a charge after colliding with Drew Timme and never got a chance to win the game for the Bruins.
Mark Few had a great comment about Jalen Suggs’ final shot that helped Gonzaga beat UCLA 93-90 in overtime on Saturday night.
Suggs made the shot of the tournament when he banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer from well beyond the arc (video here). The shot gave Gonzaga the win and sent them to the championship game of the NCAA Tournament.
Few said he had no doubt about the shot and knew immediately that it was going in.
Few said he had so much confidence in the shot because he sees Suggs do it all the time in practice.
#Gonzaga HC Mark Few on Jalen Suggs: "He makes shots — he's got that magical aura. He makes them in practice all the time. It's been crazy this year how many he's made in practice last-second shots. I felt pretty good. I was staring right at it. And I said it's in. And it was."