I just filed this wrap-up on Gonzaga’s 2008-09 season. The unedited version is below.
Also, GU seniors Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and Jeremy Pargo are heading to Detroit. Pargo and Downs will participate in the slam dunk competition and Heytvelt will play in the college all-star game. More here.
Josh Heytvelt, 14.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg
Jeremy Pargo, 10.2 ppg, 4.9 apg
Micah Downs, 9.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Ira Brown, 2.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Andrew Sorenson, 2.1 ppg
Key returners (year in 2009-2010)
Matt Bouldin (Sr.), 13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Austin Daye (Jr.), 12.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Steven Gray (Jr.), 9.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Demetri Goodson (Soph.) 3.8 ppg, 1.6 apg
*Robert Sacre (Soph.) 3 ppg, 2.8 rpg
(*Applying for medical redshirt)
Gonzaga players were still processing a 21-point loss to
“I think everybody feels good about the season,”
Senior guard Jeremy Pargo spoke softly but offered some advice for next year’s team.
“These guys in here have to prepare and they got a glimpse at what they don’t want to see happen next year,” Pargo said.
By nearly every measure, the 2008-09 Bulldogs put together one of the most successful seasons in school history. They won 28 games, one shy of the school record set in 2002 and equaled in 2006. They won their ninth straight West Coast Conference title, going unbeaten for just the third time in school history. They won the WCC tournament for the ninth time in the last 11 years. They won the Old Spice Classic, their first three-game tournament title since taking the Top of the World Classic in 1997.
Gonzaga advanced to its 11 consecutive NCAA tournament and made the Sweet Sixteen for the fifth time during that span. Top-seeded
“In lieu of the schedule we played and the enormous expectations put on this group, I would say it has to rank right up there with the best year or very close to the best year,” head coach Mark Few said. “We won a lot with our defense. If you look at the numbers it’s kind of hard to refute that, but yet we were very skilled and balanced and that won us a lot of games, too.”
Five seniors exit, leaving big shoes to fill. Josh Heytvelt led the team in scoring. Pargo was tops in assists and second in steals.
“We lost some great Zags and obviously some great players, but that’s happened around here before,” Few said. “Now we have to develop the ones we have and they need to take on new roles.”
Gonzaga figures to return a talented and fairly seasoned core group. Matt Bouldin had a huge junior season (13.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.4 apg, 52 steals). Austin Daye, often battling foul trouble, still led GU in rebounding and his scoring average climbed 2.2 points from his freshman season. Steven Gray, despite a streaky perimeter shot, had big games against
Sacre, a rugged 7-footer, has considerable upside, particularly if he adds more polish to his low-post moves. Demetri Goodson is poised to step in as the starter at point guard.
Daye has said he wants to huddle with his family to discuss a possible jump to the NBA, but the sophomore forward slipped off many mock draft boards this season.
After those five, the only other returning scholarship player with game experience is reserve center Will Foster, who averaged 6.8 minutes in 24 appearances. Guard Grant Gibbs and forward Andy Poling will be coming off redshirt seasons. Poling has bulked up to 240 pounds.
“Rob is going to be able to contribute in a lot of ways, defensively, rebounding and as a back-to-the-basket player,” said Few, adding that Gibbs and Poling “are expected to contribute and then we have the group coming in.”
That group includes 6-8 forward Sam Dower, whose Osseo (Minn.) High team placed second in the state tournament; 6-10 forward Kelly Olynyk, a versatile Canadian capable of playing several positions; athletic 6-5 wing Manny Arop, a Canadian by way of Sudan; and Elias Harris, a physical 6-6 forward from Speyer, Germany. There’s also an intriguing prospect in 6-7 forward Bol Kong, a
Arop and Olynyk will be teammates on the Canadian junior national team that will play in the world championships this summer. The left-handed Dower, by all accounts, had an outstanding senior season.
“Hopefully some of them will help out,” Few said, “but it’ll be easier to make that call in October.”