Rebounding is the topic for this week’s notebook. It’s been a sore spot for the Zags the last five games. Below, you’ll find an unedited article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.
Also, a couple of upcoming GU games, including Thursday’s home date with Santa Clara, will be televised by KIRO in the Seattle area because of conflicts on FSN. More here.
Back tomorrow with a feature on Matt Bouldin.
Gonzaga men’s basketball coach Mark Few said it months ago and he repeated it Tuesday.
“Not to be redundant, but I said we were going to miss the toughness and rebounding of (David) Pendergraft and (Abdullahi) Kuso,” Few said.
His response was to a question about team rebounding, which was one of Gonzaga’s strengths early on this season. The Bulldogs won the boards in eight of their first nine games, the only blemish coming in the first meeting with
Gonzaga has been outrebounded in five straight games. That hasn’t happened to the Zags in the 21st century. The Bulldogs lost the boards in four consecutive games in the 2006-07 season (vs.
The Bulldogs’ rebounding margin is still plus-1.7 per game, but that has slipped after losing the glass to
“It’s desire, toughness and some concentration,” Few said. “It’s time for some guys to go get the ball. It’s not a strength of these particular players’ games.”
Gonzaga has played some zone defense, which can leave a team susceptible on the boards. However, against
The Bulldogs are more of a finesse team than a power team and there are times when they employ a slender or undersized front line. Again, Few wasn’t buying that as a valid excuse.
“Meech (Demetri Goodson) is probably our best guy at going and getting the ball. Our guards should be terrific rebounders and they’re not slender by any stretch,” said Few, whose 2007-08 team led the WCC in rebounding at plus-5.2. “They’re not pulling their weight; nobody’s really pulling their weight.
“It’s probably the most glaring area, if you analyze us statistically. It’s one we spend a lot of time on and we’ve taken a lot of pride in here in the past. We’ll keep drilling it, stressing it and making substitutions around it, but eventually somebody has to go in and get it done.”
Thursday would be a good time to start.
“I know I didn’t rebound well the last game,” Bulldogs forward Josh Heytvelt said. “We’ve been working on it a lot in practice. Maybe there’s been a little slippage in the games, but I think we’re improving in that area.
Few said the recent change in the starting lineup – Steven Gray for Micah Downs – was “more sending a message that we have to rebound. We had several bad rebounding games and we’re trying to emphasize it.”
Gonzaga started the same five for the first 12 games before making the aforementioned change.
Gray has responded with two strong games. He had 13 points, five steals, three rebounds, two assists and no turnovers in 37 minutes against
Gray’s scoring average (10.9) has been on the rise since he poured in 23 against
“I was comfortable coming off the bench, but it’s what the coaches feel will help the team,” Gray said. “If I play hard, things will take care of themselves.”
“I feel more comfortable (starting), but it’s whatever is going to get the job done and get us wins and for us to go far into the tournament,” said Downs, who contributed seven rebounds and five points against
Few cautioned not to make too much of the switch.
“Steven was playing a lot of minutes before and he’s going to play a lot of minutes (now),” Few said. “And Micah is going to play minutes.”
Matt Bouldin was named WCC player of the week after averaging 20 points and 5.5 assists in wins over