Gonzaga, minus two players and three staff members still in quarantine in Florida, flew Monday by charter to Indianapolis for Wednesday’s game against No. 11 West Virginia.
The men’s basketball team and staff members were tested for COVID-19 on Saturday, and all came back negative other than the one player who had tested positive Thursday, athletic director Mike Roth said. The staff member who tested positive Wednesday wasn’t retested Saturday.
“That’s a really good sign,” athletic director Mike Roth said of the latest test results.
As of Monday afternoon, Roth said Wednesday’s game was still on, but added that the top-ranked Zags will be tested twice more leading up to the game.
Gonzaga, scheduled to face No. 2 Baylor on Saturday in Indianapolis, would be tested again Thursday or Friday before that showdown, Roth said.
Baylor faces No. 5 Illinois in Wednesday’s second game of the Jimmy V Classic doubleheader.
“We get to decide if we’re going to play or not after the doctors decide,” Roth said. “If the doctors say no, there is no choice. There is no lobbying or deliberation.”
One Gonzaga staff member tested positive Wednesday and two other staff members identified through contact tracing have been in isolation in their Fort Myers, Florida, hotel rooms.
The Zags thumped Kansas 102-90 on Thursday. After the game, one player tested positive and a teammate that had been in close contact were in isolation in their rooms and not on the bench for Friday’s win over Auburn.
Freshmen Dominick Harris and Julian Strawther were the only two Zags who saw playing time Thursday that didn’t play Friday.
Roth said he checked in with the five in Florida and they are “doing extremely well, all have positive attitudes.”
Roth wasn’t sure when the five would be allowed to return by Florida officials, but he thought the earliest dates are Dec. 7 or Dec. 8.
“Yes, we’ve taken some considerable criticism since both of those games, mostly from people that don’t have all the information in my opinion,” Roth said. “We were following the doctors’ directions. We talked with the medical people in Lee County. Once they gave the green light, that led to discussions with Kansas and Auburn: ‘Here’s what the doctors are telling us, what do you want to do?’ So everybody had a say in moving forward.”
Gonzaga is following safety protocols established by Indianapolis health experts, Roth said.
“What continues for us is we’re going to defer and follow the directions of the doctors,” Roth said. “There will be slip-ups I’m sure because we’re human beings, but we’re going to continue to do our best to be in the best position to avoid contracting the virus and also limit exposure.”
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