Back with a day-after Northwest Nazarene post.
With my game story, John Blanchette's column on the new big man on GU's campus, Tyler Tjomsland's photos (great stuff!), another recap here, the fact that it was an exhibition game and the fact that the Seahawks are on, it'll be a shorter post than usual.
In graduate news, Ronny Turiaf boosts the Clippers' chances, Robert Sacre appears to have earned a spot on the Lakers' roster, Austin Daye (still listed at 200 pounds?) is in a contract year with Detroit and Jeremy Pargo stuck with Cleveland. Micah Downs made a good run with the Celtics, but was released. Steven Gray was cut by Washington
--I was a bit surprised to see Elias Harris, slowed by a groin injury the last few weeks, play most of the first half. He’s been able to practice more and more, starting with an hour-long session Wednesday.
I’ve heard his injury referred to as a groin issue and/or a hip flexor. He cleared that up, and how he’s feeling at present.
“It’s my groin,” he said. “It WAS my groin, let’s put it that way.”
Coach Mark Few likes what he sees from Harris, whose game continues to evolve.
“He only had two, three practices under his belt,” Few said. “He’s better this year. He’s worked hard on some things. I just wish and hope he’s healthy enough to show it. I don’t know how many years he’s actually been healthy through a preseason. A couple of those drives were to a side (left) he’s never driven before. That’s a big improvement.”
--I’ve mentioned that Kevin Pangos and David Stockton have added several pounds of muscle. Standing next to Guy Landry Edi in the locker room, it was apparent he put in his share of offseason time with strength and conditioning coach Travis Knight. Edi is listed at 220 pounds.
“It helped me a lot, no more injuries,” he said. “Last year, with my knee … no more problems. I stopped lifting lately.”
“He gets too big,” interjected Harris.
“I’m at 220 now and I want to drop a little. I feel much better when I’m 215 or so.”
--GU looked too amped early, rushing numerous close-range shots and clanking free throws. When they settled down, the Zags got pretty much whatever they wanted inside and outside. They made just 6 of 20 3s, but they were generally open looks. They scored 48 points in the paint and went to the FT line 32 times, making 23 after their slow start.
“We had to slow down a little and find our rhythm,” Bell said. “We were going really fast. I think our first points came on an inside shot, then we were missing little layups and stuff before we settled down.”
--Impressive stat line from David Stockton, even though he made just 1 of 8 shots. He finished with 6 pts, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals.
--Here’s how the newcomers did in their exhibition game debuts with Gonzaga: Kyle Dranginis contributed 9 points and 5 rebounds. Przemek Karnowski had 17 points and eight boards. Drew Barham had three points and three rebounds, but made just 1 of 7 FGs (1 of 6 3s). Walk-on/crowd favorite Rem Bakamus made a free throw and missed his only field-goal attempt.
“It was an interesting game for (PK),” Few said. “There were undersized guys he had to chase around so that was probably a little different than he’s used to. I thought down the stretch he settled into the post and guys did a good job finding him and he played to his strengths. He’s got great hands and usually finishes well. He’s a great passer, too, but I don’t think it showed as much tonight.
“Kyle was solid, that’s what Kyle is. He can play a lot of parts of the game very well. Drew, those shots will drop. He’s a very good shooter.”
Dranginis, like Olynyk, appears to have made the most of his redshirt year.
“At first everybody thinks that redshirting is really bad,” Dranginis said. “I thought of it in a different mindset. I just looked at it as a chance to get better. I wasn’t losing anything. I didn’t lose a year of eligibility. I was in weight room a lot and I tried to learn from all these great players around me. It was a really good year for me.”