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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bulldogs will tip off one last time May 15

The greatest senior class in the history of Gonzaga University men’s basketball has agreed to take one final bow.

On the court, no less. But not in The Kennel.

Blake Stepp, Cory Violette, Tony Skinner and Kyle Bankhead, four of the five senior members of this year’s Bulldogs team that went 28-3, won a school-record 21 consecutive games and finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, will reunite one last time on Saturday, May 15, at Spokane Falls Community College.

They will compete in an all-star game against a team of high school standouts that could include several local standouts and as many as three members of the Bulldogs’ latest recruiting class.

In addition, the college all-star team will include former University of Oregon star Luke Jackson, former Whitworth standout star Brian Depew and former Zag Mike Nilson, the West Coast Conference’s defender of the year in 2000 and a member of Bulldogs’ 1999 team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

The all-star game, billed as the “Barnstormin’ Tour,” is the brainchild of Stepp, the Zags’ two-time WCC player of the year, who played in two similar games in Oregon last week. It was hoped that Richard Fox, the other senior on this GU team, would also be able to compete, but he will be at home in Denver, Colo., attending his brother’s high school graduation.

Stepp and Violette were invited by Jackson to play in the two Oregon all-star games, which were held in the high school gyms at South Eugene and Creswell. And Stepp returned the favor by asking Jackson to play in the upcoming game at SFCC.

“It was really fun,” Stepp said of the games played in Oregon. “Both games were sold out and everybody was really into it. We’d never really talked about doing one here, but the last couple of days we started making some things work.

“People are always coming up to me and saying how they wished they could have watched us play, but they could never get a ticket. Well, here’s their chance.”

Part of the proceeds from the game, which will tip off at 7 p.m., will go to the local Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Classic and “Basket Ball” that is hosted each fall by GU coach Mark Few and his wife, Marcy.

Tickets, which cost $25 for lower level seats and $10 for a seat in the upper level, will go on sale Friday at Spokane Athletic Supply, 307 E. Sprague, and at Jack and Dan’s Tavern, 1226 N. Hamilton. The SFCC gymnasium holds about 3,800.

Stepp said he had no problem in convincing his fellow GU seniors to participate. And he said he could vouch for both himself and Violette still being in playing shape. Both, he explained, are working out regularly in preparation for a series of upcoming tryouts with NBA teams.

For further ticket details and sponsorship information, contact Jerid Keefer at 509-242-8300.