Gonzaga sophomore forward Elias Harris, who has been slowed by a shoulder injury, was expected to participate in practice Tuesday, coach Mark Few said.
“He’s going to practice a little, it’ll be his first contact since it happened,” said Few, during a West Coast Conference coaches conference call. “Hopefully, we’ll bump it up a little more until we can get him ready to go for Friday.”
Gonzaga opens the regular season against Southern at 6 p.m. Friday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Harris is GU’s top returning scorer (14.9 points) and rebounder (7.1). He was the WCC Newcomer of the Year and a first-team All-WCC selection last season.
Pepperdine coach Tom Asbury said Gonzaga is the WCC favorite “until they’re knocked off and they probably have the best returning player” in Harris.
Gonzaga has a rugged set of nonconference games, including Kansas State, Illinois, Washington State, Notre Dame, Baylor, Xavier, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, Memphis, and a potential rematch with Duke. Add to that list San Diego State on Nov. 16 at the McCarthey Athletic Center, one of the regional games for the CBE Classic.
“It (GU’s schedule) is really crazy, and we got thrown a real curveball when they added San Diego State to the CBE,” Few said. “I don’t think we were expecting that and it pretty much put it over the top.”
No. 25 San Diego State, which went 25-9 and qualified for the NCAA tournament last season, is favored by many to win the Mountain West Conference.
“I think when you sign up for one of those (tournaments) you sign up for two guarantee games at home usually,” Few said. “Usually you’re not looking to get a Top 20 team in here in the first three or four days of the season.”
At the point
Few said it’s likely the point guard position will be “shared by multiple people, depending on the situation, the moment and the style of play. We could have any combination in there.”
Junior Demetri Goodson started last season, but the offense often ran through Matt Bouldin, who graduated. Senior Steven Gray could assume Bouldin’s role. Other options include JC transfer Marquise Carter and redshirt freshman David Stockton.