Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Gonzaga's Elias Harris and Washington State's Brock Motum are on the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50. More here.
More below on Harris.
It's a bit of a misnomer to say that college basketball teams held their opening practices Friday. NCAA rules now permit summer and pre-Oct.12th individual and team practices, but Friday still was generally recognized as the official lid-lifter to the season.
Gonzaga opened against a backdrop of hype nationally, some of which seems warranted. This is a deep, skilled team with four capable bigs and a strong returning backcourt. However, the players and coaches were cautious about what they've seen in print, heard on talk radio or read on the Internet. That topic opens my notebook that will run In Saturday's S-R that also addresses the hand injury that kept Przemek Karnowski out of most drills and concludes with Ray Giacoletti's ties to Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Come to think of it, I failed to post the S-R article that ran in Friday's S-R. Here's a link.
As mentioned, the Zags went to work minus one rather large individual. It's the first time I've spoken in person to the 7-1, 305-pound Karnowski — though he did recall a few of our email exchanges — and other than interviewing Will Foster and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I can't remember craning my neck quite so much. He comes across as a gentle giant,seems to have a nice grasp of English and, according to his teammates, can flat-out play.
Said senior forward Elias Harris: “He's got a soft touch, can pass extremely well. Sometimes he surprises everybody, even the guards, with his passes. He's going to be a load in the post. You try to front him, but he's so big, so wide and strong, you can't push him out.”
I'll have more on the Zags on Monday.
Gonzaga junior forward Elias Harris has been named the West Coast Conference player of the week after averaging a double-double in two games last week. Harris had 19 points and 16 rebounds in a victory over BYU and came back with seven points and 12 boards in a win over San Diego.
Harris has 10 double-doubles this season. He’s averaging 11 rebounds over GU’s last nine games.
—A 2-0 week inched Gonzaga closer to the Top 25. The Bulldogs sit at 26th in the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today rankings.
Second-seeded Gonzaga opens the WCC Tournament in the semifinals Saturday at approximately 8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Saint Mary’s, the top seed in the WCC Tournament, is No. 21 in ESPN/USA Today, 28th in A.P. Third-seeded BYU is receiving votes in A.P.
—UPDATE: Mike Hart and Shannon Reader earned WCC all-academic honors. More here.
The Zags have a key game with visiting BYU tomorrow and I've put together some information on that matchup and a feature on GU junior forward Elias Harris for Thursday's S-R.
Here's the link to the Harris article. Below is a glance at tomorrow's contest.
Checked in with Elias Harris a couple weeks ago and again before Monday's practice. As I've mentioned before, Harris has a new leaner look this season, thanks to an offseason of conditioning and diet.
There are other reasons, beyond the conditioning aspect, GU coaches anticipate Harris is primed for a big year. He worked on his game, individual moves, etc., when he was in Spokane this summer. Coaches and teammates say they've seen growth in terms of maturity and commitment. Harris also refers to hard lessons learned from his tough sophomore season. Said coach Mark Few of Harris: “He's all in.”
Here's more on Harris, who is on the Naismith Award preseason watch list for the second straight season, with a note on the bottom regarding potential redshirts. Kelly Olynyk, one of the players mentioned as a possible redshirt, was back on the practice floor, cleared for contact.
Gonzaga junior forward Elias Harris has been named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50.
Harris averaged 12.4 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, down from his freshman year totals of 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. Harris and Steven Gray were on the 2011 Wooden Preseason Top 50. Harris is the only WCC player on this year's list. It's a bit surprising that center Rob Sacre didn't make the top 50.
GU will play against at least three players on the top 50 (G Tu Holloway, Xavier; F Draymond Green, Michigan State; F Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame).
Media day today at GU and I put together a notebook that will run in Tuesday's S-R and gathered some info for Thursday's Four Corners page. Here's a link to the notebook.
The first note is on Elias Harris (pictured above), whose stats this season are down in comparison to his freshman season.
I also asked coach Mark Few about Matt Bouldin's suspension. Bouldin, who is playing for a professional team in Greece, apparently tested positive for a banned substance but I haven't seen it identified anywhere from a reputable source. I've heard that Bouldin could be facing a two-year ban, but nothing on an official basis.
And finally, Matt Santangelo, Casey Calvary and David Pendergraft were back in uniform today for a couple of hours.
Gonzaga's Elias Harris and Steven Gray made the Wooden preseason Top 50 watch list, but they weren't on the mid-season Top 30 list, which was released today. Find the Top 30 here.
WSU's Klay Thompson made the Top 30, as did Washington's Isaiah Thomas.
Media day this afternoon at the MAC and I put together a notebook that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.
The first topic is GU’s 4-3 start, the worse season-opening seven-game record in Mark Few’s 12 seasons. That’s followed by a note on Steven Gray being the focal point of opposing defenses and lastly Elias Harris says his Achilles tendon is feeling better, thanks in part to a couple of acupuncture sessions.
Here’s the link.
(Watching UW-Portland and the Pilots were making a spirited comeback, but the Huskies are back up by 14.)
Sophomore forward Elias Harris had another MRI on his ailing Achilles tendon and, for the second time in two weeks, it came back negative, according to a Gonzaga press release.
Harris hurt his Achilles late in the Zags’ loss to San Diego State on Nov. 16. After an MRI showed there was no tear, Harris returned to play against Kansas State and Marquette at the CBE Classic before Thanksgiving in Kansas City.
Harris’ Achilles flared up again after the Bulldogs returned to Spokane. He sat out two practices and GU’s victory over Eastern Washington on Tuesday.
He had another MRI on Wednesday and it revealed no tear. Harris was at Thursday’s practice and he’s expected to see playing time against Illinois on Saturday in the Battle in Seattle.
Not a big fan of setting the alarm clock for 4-something a.m., but I’ve made it to Kansas City. Stopped in Denver where it was 50 degrees when we landed and 31 degrees with the fog rolling in when we took over about an hour later. K.C. weather? Roughly 65 degrees.
Enough about that. Putting together a short GU-Kansas State preview and I’ve learned Zags forward Elias Harris is expected to play on Monday. He left last Tuesday’s game with an Achilles’ injury. Not sure if Harris will start.
I’ll post a short preview in about an hour.
UPDATE: Preview posted below, along with a couple notes that I couldn’t fit into the article.
UPDATE II: K-State’s Curtis Kelly is expected to play against Gonzaga, Wildcats coach Frank Martin tells Foxsports.com’s Jeff Goodman.
Gonzaga received some upbeat news regarding sophomore forward Elias Harris, who left Tuesday’s game against San Diego State with an Achilles’ tendon injury.
An MRI on Wednesday revealed that Harris’ Achilles’ isn’t torn, a source close to the basketball program told The Spokesman-Review. Harris is expected to miss at least 4-5 days.
“It isn’t perfect, but it’s not torn,” the source said. “It’s swollen and it’s going to need some time to heal.”
Harris’ status for GU’s game against Kansas State on Monday in Kansas City probably won’t be determined until this weekend.
Back with my final game story. Below, you can also find an update on Elias Harris, who went down with an apparent Achilles’ tendon injury in the closing minutes.
Mark Few just concluded his comments on the WCC conference call.
A few highlights below.
(More at Twitter.com/SRjimm).
Gonzaga will entertain Southern Oregon at 6 p.m. Friday in a men’s basketball exhibition game at the
The NAIA Raiders lost their exhibition opener to NCAA Division II Humboldt State 74-51 on Tuesday.
Sophomore forward Elias Harris (shoulder), Gonzaga’s top returning scorer, is not expected to play. Freshman wing Mathis Monninghoff (ankle) could see action.
“This is a hard time for these players, the first 2-3 weeks of practice, long practices, physical days,” head coach Mark Few said. “I’m sure they’re chomping at the bit to play somebody else.”
Back with some notes from Gonzaga’s media day on Monday. We touch on Steven Gray and Kelly Olynyk finishing up their parts in “Romeo and Juliet,” as well as several other items.
Gonzaga’s Steven Gray and Elias Harris (pictured above) are on the John R. Wooden Award preseason top 50 watch list, which was released Monday.
Gray, a senior guard, averaged 13.6 points per game game last season. Harris, a sophomore forward, averaged 14.9 points. The two Zags are the only WCC players on the list. Washington State’s Klay Thompson is one of six Pac-10 players on the top 50 list.
More here, and more below.
(FYI: Like several S-R sports staffers, I’m now on Twitter. You can find GU updates, including this one, Spokane Shock news, etc., at Twitter.com/SRJimm.)
Gonzaga is well represented at the FIBA world championships, which are being held in Turkey.
Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynyk are playing for their native Canada while Elias Harris is on Germany’s team.. Ex-Zag J.P. Batista is playing for Brazil.
Saturday’s schedule includes Canada facing Lebanon, Germany taking on Argentina and Brazil versus Iran.
The tourney runs from Aug. 28-Sept. 12.
Forward Elias Harris, who has been listed on several NBA mock drafts as a possible first-round selection, announced Thursday that he will return to Gonzaga for his sophomore season.
When I talked to Harris during the NCAA Tournament, he said he wasn’t sure of his plans and he might seek additional evaluations regarding his draft status. However, after the tournament, several sources close to Harris indicated the freshman forward was intent on returning to GU.
With Harris coming back, Gonzaga figures to have a quality cast of players returning next season. The Bulldogs lose WCC player of the year Matt Bouldin, back-up center Will Foster and reserve guard Chris Pontarolo-Maag.
More below in a GU press release.
I’ve put together a few notes that will run on the S-R’s Four Corners college basketball page Thursday. You can read the unedited copy below.
As mentioned before, I put together a feature earlier this week on Elias Harris that was supposed to run Thursday, but has been pushed back to Saturday’s S-R. There’s also a sidebar with German national team coach Dirk Bauermann weighing in on Harris’ future plans.
Both unedited versions are below in cut-and-paste form.
I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve put together an article on Elias Harris that will likely run sometime later this week. As luck would have it, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury-News had a blog post today concerning Harris’ eligibility. The conclusion, with Wilner expressing skepticism along the way, was that Harris wasn’t paid and neither were his Speyer teammates, making him eligible immediately, according to Gonzaga and the NCAA eligibilty center.
During our interview Tuesday, Harris said he played for an amateur team in the third division so he could maintain his options of playing collegiately in the U.S. I asked GU assistant Tommy Lloyd, who was the primary recruiter on Harris, how Harris became a Zag (some of these comments will appear in the Harris article later this week):
“From when I played in
Lloyd went on to discuss watching Harris play in Germany within a week of that phone call.
I also spoke to Dirk Bauermann, Harris’ coach on the German national team, who is in town to watch Harris play tonight against Pepperdine. Said Bauermann: “It (Speyer) was strictly an amateur team. Third division is probably like an average to bad D-II team here.”
Bauermann said Harris had played for Germany’s junior national team, which exposed him to better players and coaching before moving up to the senior national team last summer. ”But the club (Speyer) team wasn’t all that good,” the coach said. “He did it to be able to play here (in U.S.) and not lose a year of eligibility.”
Media day this afternoon and I checked on Elias Harris and Matt Bouldin, both of whom took falls on separate plays in the second half of the San Diego game. Harris said he’s sore, but anticipates playing Thursday. Bouldin said his right hand was puffy on Monday, but was feeling better on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, I spoke to ex-Bulldog Andy Poling, who confirmed that he’ll be attending Seattle Pacific University (see previous post).
I put the injury update and Poling’s decision together for a short notebook that will run in Wednesday’s S-R. Read on for the unedited version below.
OK, a minor change of plans. The boss wanted a notebook in the aftermath of Gonzaga’s entertaining 89-82 win over Saint Mary’s on Thursday and we chose to tip it off with Elias Harris. So that’s what you’ll find below, in unedited form.
I was at GU’s media day today, but the full-fledged notebook won’t run until Wednesday, when the Bulldogs entertain Augustana.
In the meantime, read on for a couple of items.
Back with the game story from Wake Forest’s 77-75 win over Gonzaga on Saturday. The game took a U-turn when GU freshman forward Elias Harris was tossed for a flagrant technical foul late in the first half.
Read my unedited game story below, and check back tomorrow morning for a day-after post.