Kelly Graves had a special player at Gonzaga and now he has another at Oregon.
“And I made sure they got together,” Graves said.
The occasion was the Ducks’ regular-season game at Washington on Feb. 9. Also in Seattle that weekend was former GU star Courtney Vandersloot, who was more than willing to offer some advice to Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu.
“Sabrina is a sponge, a basketball junkie. … I told Sabrina to ask as many questions as you can,” said Graves, who reached the Elite Eight with Vandersloot in 2011 and did the same last year when Ionescu was only a freshman.
Vandersloot’s advice, which was given to the entire Oregon team: “Just to keep working hard, take the criticism Kelly gives me, because he gave it to her, as well,” Ionescu said Friday at the Arena.
Graves found another teachable moment for Ionescu two days later in Pullman, from John Stockton.
“John actually is one of my favorite players of all time,” Ionescu said. “I was looking for him in the stands, trying to find him.”
Stockton’s advice was more about life than basketball.
“He said he watched our team, liked how we played,” Ionescu said. “I hope he continues to like how we play, because I’d love to see him there tomorrow.”
“Let him know,” Ionescu asked the assembled media.
Consider it done.
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