“Best team in the nation.” The Zags can finally say that about themselves now, and it only took 22 straight wins and an undefeated record.
Gonzaga rose to the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press and the USA Today polls when this week’s voting results were released to the public on Monday. It’s only the second time in school history that the Zags have been ranked first in the country.
And while the Zags relished their achievement on Monday morning as they were congratulated by friends and family over the phone and during class for their No. 1 ranking, several ex-Zags went to Twitter to show their support and admiration for the top dogs in the nation.
A few former players, including Kyle Dranginis, Gary Bell, Jr. and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Domantas Sabonis retweeted posts from various sports media outlets announcing Gonzaga’s top ranking. Other ex-players made sure to post an original tweet, taking pride in their Gonzaga roots and congratulating this season’s players on the top spots.
Dan Dickau, who left the Zags in 2002 and subsequently signed with the Atlanta Hawks, tweeted Gonzaga’s No. 1 ranking on Monday afternoon, saying he was “proud to be part of the family.”
Alex Hernandez also went to Twitter to congratulate his extended family at the Kennel, tweeting that he was “proud to be a Zag.”
Their posts didn’t go unnoticed by the players at Gonzaga.
“This is just one big family, so that’s just really cool to see that support from past players,” Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss said after practice on Monday.
Plenty more Zags showed up online for Williams-Goss and the rest of the Bulldogs.
Eric McClellan, who currently plays for Belgium’s professional team Hubo Limburg United, called the Zags the “best team in the nation” on his Twitter account.
Ex-Zag Kelly Olynyk, of the Boston Celtics, tweeted “Great day to be a Zag! #1.” Williams-Goss retweeted Olynyk’s post, and so did Sam Dower, who last played for Gonzaga in 2014.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said the support from his former players is an example of the bond between all of his Zags, former and current, that separates Gonzaga from so many other teams.
“That’s what’s great about this program. Our former players are always connected, always have since I’ve been here,” Few said. “Even ones that didn’t play with this group. They’re very connected. There’s a real brotherhood there that makes this program special.”
Subscribe to Zags newsletter
Get the latest Zags headlines delivered to your inbox as they happen.