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Gonzaga Basketball

Manager Brian Pete assumes new role on Gonzaga’s roster

Gonzaga players Brian Pete (center), Corey Kispert (left) and Jack Beach (right) celebrate a 3-pointer by Zach Norvell Jr. against Creighton. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Brian Pete was one of Gonzaga’s most interviewed players after Friday’s win over No. 25 Creighton.

Those who’ve kept a close eye on Gonzaga’s sideline the last four years recognize Pete as a team manager. On Friday, he moved down the bench a few seats as the newest addition to the roster.

“Unbelievable,” the senior from Portland said. “This is a great group of guys. I love being a manager and I’m sure I’ll love being a player just as much.”

Johnathan Williams and few teammates took cell-phone video as Pete chatted with media in the locker room.

Pete and assistant coach Tommy Lloyd first discussed walking on in the summer. When Corey Kispert and walk-on Alex Martin suffered ankle injuries in Wednesday’s win over Incarnate Word, Lloyd broached the topic again.

“He said, ‘Do you want to roll with this thing?’ ” said Pete, who will wear No. 53 and is listed as a redshirt junior. “Next day, physical, NCAA eligibility, all that stuff, just kind of made it happen.

“I was definitely surprised just because I don’t know if they’ve ever done this mid-year,” added Pete, who didn’t play in Friday’s game. “At the same time I’m just excited and want to help in any way I can, even if it’s just a little bit. Just (the team) being so banged up, trying to get more bodies in practice is why it culminated.”

Pete isn’t a newcomer to the game. He played at Southridge High School and has been on Gonzaga’s club team, which plays area community colleges and in tournaments. Pete had 30 points and 15 rebounds against Walla Walla University a few weeks ago.

“It might be kind of a manager-player hybrid type deal,” said Pete, noting that he “just loves playing” and being around the game. “We haven’t really talked long term yet, but I’m on the roster so we’ll see where it goes from here.”

Pete didn’t have to go through the annual walk-on tryouts that Zag walk-on royalty Mike Hart and assistant coach Brian Michaelson did back in the day. Head coach Mark Few pointed out that Pete has proven himself when matched up against Few’s and Lloyd’s high-school-age sons.

Pete carried dual roles against Creighton.

“Rui (Hachimura) asked me for socks about five minutes before the game,” Pete smiled, “and I went and got them for him.”