Now that’s a catchy headline. We’ve got a hodgepodge of stuff, from links to Robert Sacre to other Zag-related items. Read on.
First, the reading material. Saint Mary’s guard Patty Mills got the OK from his doctors (more here, too). Recaps on the WCC awards from the San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times and Oregonian. And here’s the lowdown on the rea$on$ for South Carolina Upstate’s visit to Spokane tonight.
Eric Musselman, former NBA coach, served as a color analyst for several televised WCC games. His WCC awards/all-conference picks can be found here.
—Couldn’t squeeze everything from my brief interview with Robert Sacre into the notebook that ran in Tuesday’s S-R, but he had more interesting things to say.
Sacre was clearly torn during the decision-making process over the weekend.
“It was probably a harder decision than picking a college, that’s what it felt like,” he said. “I knew I was coming to Gonzaga.”
Among others, he consulted with his mom in Canada, ex-Zag and current GU radio analyst Richard Fox and trainer Jennifer Nyland.
“My mom was all for me playing because you never know what can happen in the future,” Sacre said. “Then she called me later that night and said, ‘You should redshirt.’
“I don’t want to mess up the team environment,” he added. “I’ll help out in practice by being a pain in the butt and I’ll play hard in practice, but just (potentially) having two games … South Carolina Upstate would be my only game to play and get a game under my belt before it’s like the big boys and big time. I want to be fair to my team and myself.”
Head coach Mark Few said it would have been great to have Sacre back, but understands the player’s decision.
“It might be for two (games), but it could be 7 or 8,” Few said. “It’s hard to take a chance like that when you’re talking about an entire year of a career, especially with a young player. That being said, just watching him other day with our guys (in practice) he’s what we don’t have right now. He’s that physical presence that pursues the ball. He just stuck out like a sore thumb.
“That’s probably what makes it difficult. If we wanted to be selfish and think of ourselves we’d just play him. But that’s not the way to look at it. You have to try to look at his career and do what’s best for his career. He wants to help the team out so much, he has to put that aside and do what’s best for his career.”
—Santa Clara’s John Bryant, named the WCC player of the year, was funny and gracious in his comments during a conference call. Many of the questions he fielded were about transforming his body from 300-plus pounds into a more sculpted 275. The weight loss helped his stamina as well as his pursuit of rebounds.
Asked to identify his toughest matchups, Bryant said: “Josh (Heytvelt) was probably one of the difficult matchups because of his athleticism and shooting ability. Omar (Samhan) was a definite battle for me. We’re similar in size and talent level.”
Heytvelt scored a career-high 29 points against Santa Clara last week.
—Heytvelt said he wasn’t surprised that GU was shut out on the conference’s four individual awards. “Not really,” he said. “No one was really a standout guy. We were just a pretty solid group. That’s what makes a good team.”
Few was asked if Bryant did enough to win the POY award.
“He’s had a great year,” Few said. “Statistically he had a phenomenal year (with) his average number of rebounds and to score the ball as well as did, with his shooting percentage. He’s had a heck of a year and a heck of a career. He’s a great guy and a great representative of our league.
“I think he’s got a shot at the next level. (GU assistant) Ray Giacoletti coached Todd MacCulloch at Washington and he thinks Bryant is farther along than Todd was at that time.”
—Few was asked about Jeremy Pargo’s performance this season. In his reply, he acknowledged that Pargo was bothered by a calf injury in the UConn game.
“He’s had a good (last) month,” Few said. “He hit a little lull in January. He was beating himself up a little bit and he was hurt, experiencing some calf issues in that UConn game. He’s playing better.”
—Few on the players’ emotions of Senior Night: “It can affect guys in different ways. The games are hard enough and you add in heartstrings being pulled in a bunch different directions … it can make you even try too hard. Hopefully, we can get it out of our system in the first minute or so.”