It was easy to spot Nigel Williams-Goss, Johnathan Williams and Jeremy Jones last season at Gonzaga home games. Stylishly dressed, they rebounded for teammates in warm-ups and then took a seat on the bench. A natural bond was formed as the trio faced similar circumstances, unable to play for one year under NCAA transfer rules.
2016-17 COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Zach Collins is one of the most decorated recruits ever in Gonzaga’s program. He was pivotal to Bishop Gorman High’s run of Nevada state championships. He was a McDonald’s All-American, the first to come to GU straight from the prep ranks.
TRANSFER EPIDEMIC! Surely it deserves all caps and an exclamation point, just like the routine alarmism which attends the reporting of each new front by the TV weather clarions, who sometime this winter will marshal the resources of their station’s STORMTEAM and bring us “SNOWMAGEDDON 2017!”
Is the West Coast Conference actually getting serious about basketball? Four head coaches were axed at the end of the 2016 season – the biggest churn in the league in 45 years – and now 60 percent of the programs have turned over head coaches in three years. It seems the league’s underclass is getting a little tired of the Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s-Brigham Young dominance at the top.
Karnowski is still returning to form from back surgery but he’s made considerable progress.
A month ago, head coach Corey Symons and the North Idaho College men’s basketball team were unsure George Swanson was going to live.
Elle Tinkle is taking it easy this year. Really. Long hours on the Gonzaga basketball court are often followed by longer ones at Sacred Heart Medical Center. She’s also taking 13 credits of upper-division classes. That’s the easy part, insists Tinkle, who’s enjoying the chance to “stretch” her senior year with a lighter load. “I’ll take that for sure,” she said with a laugh. If that doesn’t make sense, then you don’t know Elle Tinkle, a 6-foot-2 guard whose grace on the basketball court belies a get-’er-done grittiness in every phase of her life.
In more ways than one, the Washington State women’s basketball team is looking to rebound this season. A ninth-place finish in the Pac-12 was the product of many things, but getting outrebounded by an average of six a game was the biggest.
The transformation of Jacob Wiley can’t be measured in years or miles, though it’s been quite a journey. From the back streets of Long Beach, California, to the campus of Eastern Washington and every stop in between, Wiley learned something new about himself.
A year ago, Eastern transfer swingman Julian Harrell couldn’t even practice because of a wrist injury suffered in the offseason.
Perrion Callandret sometimes looks down at his jersey on the court and remembers. He remembers how blessed he was to play with his half-brother as a freshman, despite the fact that he was 18 and Glen Dean was 24. During that one season they were together at the University of Idaho, in 2013-14, Dean’s jersey number was No. 1. Callandret, now a senior point guard for the Vandals, wears the same number.
For the Vandals to overtake Weber State and Montana – the only teams that finished ahead of them in the Big Sky last season – Victor Sanders needs to make another leap in his development.
In the era of one-and-done basketball, it is rare for college players to be the best guys on their team year after year. But in Ike Iroegbu and Josh Hawkinson, Washington State has an alpha guard and post who return to a team on which they were already the best players.
Malachi Flynn may only be a freshmen, but the youngster from Tacoma’s Bellarmine Prep is expected to be a difference-maker for the Cougars in his first year.
For Lorenzo Romar, it was the around-the-back dribble move that split two defenders in the open court. For David Crisp, it was the spin move that shakes people, regardless of whether they know it’s coming. For Matisse Thybulle, it was the LeBron-style chase-down block that comes at least once a practice.
Pac-12 fan bases tired of Oregon’s reign atop the football hierarchy may be getting a little relief this fall –and a dose of the same old medicine in basketball. The Ducks separated themselves from the other contenders in the last two weeks of the 2016 season, winning their last five games and sweeping through the Pac-12 tournament.
The Whitworth men’s basketball team has a history of pillaging its opponents all season long and earning a place in the big dance only to stumble off the floor after the second song.