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Sizing up Gonzaga's greats

As the Zags get ready to top off another season with historic aspirations, we look back at the All-Time, All-Size Bulldogs. Read John Blanchette's column here »

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Courtney Vandersloot

Height: 5-8

At Gonzaga: 2007-2011

Games played: 136

Points per game: 15.2

Assists per game: 8.2

Courtney Vandersloot is the only women’s player in WCC history to be named the player of the year three times and the WCC tournament MVP three times.

She was also the first Gonzaga and WCC women’s basketball player to earn Associated Press second-team All-America honors. She is the first male or female in NCAA history to accumulate more than 2,000 points and 1,000 assists, finishing with 2,073 points and 1,118 assists.

In her senior season she set the NCAA single-season assist record with 367 and the Gonzaga single-season scoring record with 712. She won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith award as the top female player 5-8 and under. She also led the Bulldogs to the Elite Eight.

Also considered: Bill Suter, Quentin Hall

Jamie Dudley

Height: 5-9

At Gonzaga: 1990-1993

Games played: 80

Points per game: 5.0

Assists per game: 2.9

Jamie Dudley played with the likes of Jeff Brown and Jarrod Davis and was part of the 1992 team that won 20 games for the first time in 25 years.

When the talk turns to the early signs of something special happening at Gonzaga, Davis is usually in the conversation.

Also considered: Rollie Schauble, Marion Pericin

Willie Daigle

Height: 5-10

At Gonzaga: 1972-1974

Games played: 52

Points per game: 7.6

Assists per game: 3.1

Willie Daigle started for two years at Gonzaga after transferring from City College of San Francisco – and hung around Spokane for a good while longer, playing semipro football for the old Goldenhawks. He may not have been a household name, but at least one noteable fan remembered him.

Also considered: Chuck Redmon, Clark Irwin

Chuck Goligoski

Height: 5-11

At Gonzaga: 1951-1953

Points per game: 12.1

Rebounds per game: 4.1

Chuck Goligoski, from Havre, Montana, played two years at Northern Montana College (now MSU-Northern) before transferring to Gonzaga. He averaged 12.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in two seasons, including leading the team in points as a junior in 1952.

Later he coached GU's freshman team and at Republic briefly before going back to Montana to teach and coach.

Also considered: David Stockton, Paz Rocha

Dan Dickau

Height: 6-0

At Gonzaga: 2000-2002

Games played: 56

Points per game: 20.1

Assists per game: 5.3

Dan Dickau transferred to Gonzaga from the University of Washington after his sophomore season and had an immediate impact on an emerging Gonzaga program.

Dickau, the WCC player of the year in his senior season, was the last player picked in the first round of the NBA draft, going to the Sacramento Kings. After several years in the NBA, Dickau now lives in Spokane and is a color commentator for Gonzaga games on KHQ and Root.

Also considered: Rich Evans, Geoff Goss, Jack Curran

John Stockton

Height: 6-1

At Gonzaga: 1980-1984

Games played: 107

Points per game: 12.5

Assists per game: 5.2

John Stockton is easily the most recognizable person to don a Gonzaga basketball uniform, mostly because of what he did after he left his hometown. After a four-year college career, Stockton was drafted in the first round by the Utah Jazz and went on to a sensational pro career, culminating with an induction in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Joining Stockton in the Hall’s 50th class was Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan and C. Vivian Stringer.

“I played 30 years competitively,” Stockton said. “Three at St. Aloysius, four at Gonzaga Prep and four at Gonzaga University. And in all those years, not once – ever – was I the best player on the team. I had a shot at it one year (at GU) because two of our best players got hurt.”

Also considered: Matt Santangelo, Kyle Dixon

Frank Burgess

Height: 6-1

At Gonzaga: 1958-1961

Games played: 78

Points per game: 28.2

Rebounds per game: 7.6

Frank Burgess garnered national attention in three seasons at Gonzaga, averaging 23.2 points per game in his first season, 28.9 points in 1960 and 32.4 in 1961. Those represent three of the top five single-season scoring averages in GU history.

“I’m convinced that if they’d had a 3-point line in those days, Frank would have averaged 40 or 50 points a game,” Charlie Jordan, a teammate of Burgess, told The Spokesman-Review in 2005 when Burgess’ No. 44 was retired, joining Stockton’s No. 12 in the rafters at the McCarthey Athletic Center. “He could drive it, too, but so many of his shots were from the outside and he was just a tremendous shooter.”

Burgess, a one-time U.S. District Judge in Tacoma, died of cancer in 2010 at at age 75.

Also considered: Matt Santangelo, Kyle Dixon

Kevin Pangos

Height: 6-2

At Gonzaga: 2011-2015

Games played: 142

Points per game: 12.8

Assists per game: 3.8

It would be tough to find a Gonzaga player with a more impressive start than Kevin Pangos. In his second game as a Zag in front of a national TV audience on ESPN and against rival Washington State, the unknown freshman tied a school record with nine 3-point makes and finished with 33 points in the 89-81 win.

When Pangos finished his GU career four years later his name was all over the record book, including most 3-point shots made. He was a part of 116 wins in his four years, and of course, four NCAA tournament appearances.

Also considered: Jeremy Pargo, Bill Wilson, Gary Bell Jr., Ken Tyler

Nigel Williams-Goss

Height: 6-3

At Gonzaga: 2016-2017

Games played: 38

Points per game: 16.9

Assists per game: 4.7

Nigel Williams-Goss had one real season with Gonzaga and made the most of it. The Washington transfer was the unmistakeable leader of a team that roared to a 29-1 regular season, a WCC title, their first Final Four appearance and national title game.

Along the way he racked up individual honors and stole the hearts of Gonzaga fans.

Also considered: Gary Lechman, Derek Raivio, Doug Spradley, Josh Perkins

Blake Stepp

Height: 6-4

At Gonzaga: 2000-2004

Games played: 128

Points per game: 13.0

Assists per game: 5.0

Blake Stepp was the WCC freshman of the year in 2001 and the Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004.

Near the close of the 2004 season, Spokesman-Review reporter Steve Bergum wrote that Blake “has overcome career-threatening knee problems that required two surgeries to become, perhaps, the greatest point guard ever to play for a school that has produced future NBA hall of famer John Stockton, Matt Santangelo and Dan Dickau.”

"He's simply the best that's ever been here," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said of Stepp. "We have a lot of different offensive sets we run, and Blake knows where every player on the team is supposed to be at any given moment."

Also considered: Jerry Vermillion, Lorenzo Rollins, Silas Melson

Matt Bouldin

Height: 6-5

At Gonzaga: 2006-2010

Games played: 133

Points per game: 12.7

Assists per game: 3.3

Matt Bouldin made an immediate impact on a talented 2006-2007 Gonzaga team and by the time he was done his name was all over the school record book, finishing in the top 10 in scoring and top five in steals and assists. In his first start of his career, he scored 21 points

“Matt’s going to go down in history as one of the all-time greats at Gonzaga,” Few said. “He’s as complete a player as you’re ever going to coach, just like all the other great ones we’ve had here.”

Also considered: Richie Frahm, Steven Gray, Jim McPhee, John Rillie

Jarrod Davis

Height: 6-6

At Gonzaga: 1990-1992

Games played: 58

Points per game: 18.2

Rebounds per game: 4.1

Jarrod Davis, along with fellow Mead alum Jeff Brown, were instrumental in the early stages of the Gonzaga resurgence. In 1992, the Zags won 20 games for the first time in 25 years.

When the talk turns to the early signs of something special happening at Gonzaga, Davis is usually in the conversation.

Also considered: David Pendergraft, Matt Stanford, Jon Kinloch

Elias Harris

Height: 6-7

At Gonzaga: 2009-2013

Games played: 135

Points per game: 13.8

Rebounds per game: 7.3

Elias Harris didn’t waste time putting his talents on display for the Gonzaga faithful. He set a freshman record with 508 points, averaging 14.9 a game and 7.1 rebounds. He ended up on NBA draft boards, but remained a Zag for four years.

“I think I made the right decision,” Elias told The Spokesman-Review’s Jim Meehan. “I’m a more rounded and complete player than my younger years.”

Harris was an anchor on the 2013 team that earned the No. 1 seed into the NCAA tournament.

Also considered: Paul Cathey, Greg Sten, Carl Pierce

Adam Morrison

Height: 6-8

At Gonzaga: 2003-2006

Games played: 95

Points per game: 19.7

Rebounds per game: 5.1

Mead graduate Adam Morrison was the hometown hero for Gonzaga and became a national phenom when he battled and ultimately defeated Duke’s J.J. Redick for national scoring honors, averaging 28.1 points a game. He and Redick were co-players of the year in 2006.

Morrison left after his junior season and was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 season by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Also considered: Casey Calvary, Cory Violette, Bakari Hendrix, Rui Hachimura

Jeff Brown

Height: 6-9

At Gonzaga: 1991-1994

Games played: 88

Points per game: 18.6

Rebounds per game: 6.1

Mead High grad Jeff Brown went to the University of Washington out of high school but transferred back home and led Gonzaga to a 20-win season, the first in 25 years.

Brown was an all-conference player for Gonzaga and led the Bulldogs to the NIT.

Also considered: J.P. Batista, Johnathan Williams, Sam Dower, Jr.

Ronny Turiaf

Height: 6-10

At Gonzaga: 2001-2005

Games played: 127

Points per game: 13.6

Rebounds per game: 6.8

Ronny Turiaf’s “game and magnetic personality left an indelible impression on Gonzaga basketball and the university,” wrote Jim Meehan.

Turiaf owns school records for free throws made (643), breaking a 44-year-old record held by Frank Burgess, and 889 attempts. He ranks seventh in career points with 1,723, fifth in rebounding with 859 and third in blocks with 179. His career at Gonzaga ended in a disappointing loss to Texas Tech in the NCAA tournament. He remains a frequent visitor to Spokane.

The Los Angeles Lakers drafted Turiaf in the second round in 2005.

Also considered: Kyle Wiltjer, Killian Tillie, Willie Moss

Domantas Sabonis

Height: 6-11

At Gonzaga: 2014-2016

Games played: 74

Points per game: 13.5

Rebounds per game: 9.4

Domantas Sabonis was nothing if not emotional. His fire would light up the crowd.

“I love basketball and it just comes out,” he told Jim Meehan in 2016. “I get it from my dad I guess. He also had a lot of emotion. People say I remind them of him.”

He opted for the NBA draft after the 2016 season and was picked in the first round by Oklahoma City.

Also considered: Josh Heytvelt, Austin Daye, Jeremy Eaton

Kelly Olynyk

Height: 7-0

At Gonzaga: 2009-2013

Games played: 101

Points per game: 8.9

Rebounds per game: 4.6

Kelly Olynyk made one of the biggest improvement leaps in Gonzaga history.

“The transformation of Olynyk, as much mentally as physically, has been a national storyline,” wrote Jim Meehan in The Spokesman-Review. “The 7-foot junior forward from Kamloops, B.C., emerged from a redshirt year with a stronger, more agile 240-pound body and scoring options stretching from above the rim to beyond the 3-point line.”

As a junior, Olynyk led the Zags to a No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament and then opted for the NBA draft. He was picked in the first round by the Boston Celtics.

Also considered: Robert Sacre, Zach Collins, Paul Rogers

Przemek Karnowski

Height: 7-1

At Gonzaga: 2012-2017

Games played: 152

Points per game: 9.8

Rebounds per game: 5.4

Przemek Karnowski was one of the most popular players to ever don a Gonzaga basketball uniform. The 7-foot-1 center from Poland was unmistakable on campus. His beard even had its own twitter account.

“He’s just such an entity,” said GU coach Mark Few after another outstanding performance.

Karnowski topped a stellar career with a run through the 2017 NCAA tournament that ended in the championship game.

Also considered: George Trontzos, Ryan Edwards

Jean Claude Lefebvre

Height: 7-3

At Gonzaga: 1956-1959

Games played: 51

Points per game: 12.1

Rebounds per game: 8.2

In 1956, Gonzaga coach Hank Anderson brought in Jean Claude Lefebvre from France who immediately made sports headlines across the country as the biggest man on campus anywhere. His name was Jean Claude Lefebvre (pronounced “Luh-fay”) and he stood 7-foot-3, weighed 285 pounds and wore size 21 shoes when he could find a pair.

The student newspaper hung Lefebvre with a larger-than-life nickname, “The Eiffel Rifle” – perhaps in hope that he would soon rival Kansas All-American Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain as a hardwood phenomenon.

Will Foster

Height: 7-5

At Gonzaga: 2006-2010

Games played: 78

Points per game: 1.3

Rebounds per game: 1.5

Will Foster was 6-feet tall in the sixth grade and 7-0 by his sophomore year at White River High School in Buckley, Wash. As a youngster, he recalls having growing pains so severe that he couldn’t take part in the egg hunt one Easter.

He came to Gonzaga at 7-3 recruit and added two more inches before he was done. Although he was not a regular in the Gonzaga lineup, he treasured his time with the Zags.

“I’m not going to look back and regret it. I had fun, made some friends and definitely made a lot of memories.”