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Fri., Sept. 27, 2013, 10:42 a.m.

Zags await practice opener

Gonzaga and area D-I schools can begin practicing as early as today (Saturday in GU's case) so we put together a short preview for Friday's S-R.

Under a new NCAA rule, teams have 42 days before their season opener to conduct 30 practices. Teams can spread out practices more or they can stick to essentially the same schedule they've used for years. GU will experiment to determine the best approach but it seems, considering their strong starts in recent seasons, they might not want to mess with success too much.

A bit more below.

In the preview, we touched on GU's experience in dealing with replacing standout players. It happens every season (Sacre in 2012, Gray in 2011, Bouldin in 2010, etc.). This time around it's  Kelly Olynyk, Elias Harris and Mike Hart.

Hart's contributions cannot be overlooked, but replacing the Olynyk/Harris duo is probably in the neighborhood of having to replace Adam Morrison/J.P. Batista after the '06 season. Olynyk/Harris combined to average roughly 32.4 points and 14.7 rebounds last year. Morrison/Batista combined for a whopping 47.6/14.9.

As a group, replacing Olynyk/Harris/Hart is probably the most difficult chore since the exits of Pargo/Downs/Daye/Heytvelt/Brown/Sorenson after the '09 season.

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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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