GU honors three seniors
Edi, Harris, Hart ready for final Kennel apperance
They entered Gonzaga’s basketball program at different times but will exit together.
Elias Harris, Mike Hart and Guy Landry Edi have shaped unique careers at Gonzaga, which closes the regular season Saturday against Portland on Senior Day at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Harris will go down as one of the best players in program history, ranking second in career rebounds and fifth in career points at Gonzaga.
Hart’s story has been well chronicled, making the team in walk-on tryouts and making his way onto the court with relentless rebounding and defending. Edi, a junior college transfer, has had an up-and-down senior season and he’s trying to work his way back into the rotation.
“It flew by,” Harris said. “I really can’t believe I’ve been here four years.”
Here’s a look back at their careers:
Harris burst on the scene, setting a GU freshman record with 508 points. He torched Saint Mary’s with 31 points. He had 19 points, including the game-winning basket in overtime, and 16 boards against Illinois.
He averaged 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds and found himself on NBA mock draft boards.
“That’s a problem we have with college basketball, you get some idiots on TV that think they can predict who gets drafted and who can’t, and families listen to that,” coach Mark Few said. “Fortunately ‘E’ had some rational people around him.”
Harris has averaged 13.7 points and 7.3 rebounds in his career. Gonzaga is 106-26 in his four seasons, 51-8 in conference and 55-18 in non-conference.
Few calls Harris “one of GU’s all-time greats,” praise that extends beyond the court.
“I was telling the staff the other day I’ve never seen a guy in four years be such low maintenance,” Few said. “There hasn’t been a situation academically, socially, anywhere with him.”
Harris, whose father will attend today’s game, never seriously considered leaving early for the NBA.
“I thought I had a good (freshman) year, but I didn’t think it was as tremendous as everyone thought it was,” he said. “Last year I thought I had a good year and I thought about (the NBA) a little bit, but I wanted to give myself another chance to play a better year and give myself a better chance to get drafted.
“I think I made the right decision. I’m a more rounded and complete player than my younger years.”
Guy Landry Edi
Edi, who grew up in Paris, played two seasons at Midland (Texas) College and helped the Chaparrals win the NJCAA title as a sophomore. The start of his Gonzaga career was delayed by an NCAA-mandated eight-game suspension for playing on a French pro team when he was 15 and 16. Edi eventually started 15 games last season, contributing 5.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Edi scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, in the Zags’ first two games and appeared primed for a big senior season. He remained in the starting lineup until Hart took over in mid-December.
“I started off really well, went downhill a little bit, but at the same time my team is doing so well I cannot put myself first,” Edi said. “I know I’m struggling but we’re winning and that’s all that matters.”
“The guys are telling me to stay positive, that my time will come and to take advantage when it does. So I’m playing hard at every practice.”
Several of Edi’s family members from Los Angeles will witness his last home game.
“He’s been a wonderful teammate and a great guy,” Few said.
Added sophomore guard Kevin Pangos: “Give credit to him. It’s not easy for him to do what he’s doing so far and be a team guy. He’ll get his chance again. I see him fighting it, but he’s been great. He’s mature. He’s a senior.”
Hart averages just two points, but finds a way to affect games. He rarely makes mistakes (seven turnovers in 481 minutes). Defenders often sag off Hart, but he’s made 10 of 19 3-pointers and handed out 34 assists.
He’s grabbed 107 rebounds, 57 at the offensive end. Two consecutive offensive boards against Santa Clara last week triggered a standing ovation.
“Seeing everyone appreciate what you bring was a memorable experience,” he said.
Hart redshirted as a freshman, played 37 minutes the following season and 156 as a sophomore. He’s started 33 games, including 15 this season.
“It’s what I wanted to do and what I always have envisioned myself being able to do,” Hart said of his career. “But seeing it become a reality and work out the way it did, you can’t say you expected anything like that.”
Hart will have a number of relatives in attendance, including his mom, dad and brother.
And, he pointed out, his teammates.
“I couldn’t imagine a better group than we’ve had this year,” Hart said. “I don’t think we’d be where we are if it wasn’t for the chemistry and the togetherness on this team.”