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

From fades to perms, Zags’ barbers keep team looking stylish

By Justin Reed The Spokesman-Review

Sporting a fluffy mop-top, Dan Dickau’s hair caught people’s attention.

The Bulldogs have historically had players who exemplify their love for curls, afros, fades and even a perm.

While fancy locks don’t drive recruiting or make one player more desirable, hair does show character and individuality, and former Gonzaga star and barbershop owner Dickau helped pioneer that love of hair at GU. 

The Beatles drove people wild with their mop-tops and Dickau made it cool during his blistering 2002 season for GU – but he isn’t the only player with impressive hair since coach Mark Few took the baton from his mentor Dan Monson.

Few and assistant Tommy Lloyd have consistently found players from around the globe who are instantly recognizable based on their coiffure.

After Dickau, it was Ronny Turiaf, Matt Bouldin and even Kevin Pangos who were at the center of carefully constructed rosters that reflected their desire for hair.

Looking back through two decades worth of manes was a process that required input from the experts.

Calling on help from AllStars Hair Studio on Hamilton, Black London’s on Second Avenue in Browne’s Addition, Quick’s and Brickyard barbershops – both on North Monroe Street – here is some commentary on the storied history of Zag hair in the 21st century.

Alberto Alberty – AllStars Hair Studio

Alberty moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic when he was 22. After no luck finding an inexpensive, good haircut, he ended up cutting his and his friends’ hair.

With their support, Alberty opened up his own shop, AllStars in 2010.

Near the GU campus, AllStars caught the eye of former Bulldog Robert Sacre.

After nailing his haircut – one of the first done in Alberty’s shop – Sacre spread the word among his teammates and the relationship blossomed between Alberty and the team.

“It has been a blessing, because these kids, they bring a lot of positivity, you know, and one of the reason why I started watching college basketball is because of them, because I’ve cut their hair,” Alberty said. “But they’re very humble.

“It’s insane to think that these kids are only 17, 18 and 19 years old and they’re so humble, man, they’re really, really good people.”

Alberty enjoys seeing the guys on TV so he can see his handiwork.

“One day they’re here in my chair, the next day, they’re all the way in Miami,” Alberty said. “And the next day they’re playing for the final. It’s crazy.”

Of all the heads Alberty has shaped, he has no favorites. Each player has their style and he does his best to reflect that.

He enjoyed Przemek Karnowski’s beard, though, and even mentioned the Twitter account created in honor of it.

But if he had to pick his favorite player to cut? Definitely Josh Perkins.

“He literally will ask for craziest stuff,” Alberty said. “At one point, we did a Christmas tree upside down in the back of his neck with the No. 13. We did a lot of stuff with his haircut. It was pretty fun because he was bringing some new stuff to do.”

After seeing a photo of former Bulldog walk-ons Rem Bakamus and Dustin Triano with their buns, he said he’s not a fan of long hair. And not because he doesn’t like the style, but it means he won’t be seeing those guys walk through his door since they aren’t actively getting cuts.

“Because you can’t really appreciate your barber work with really long hair compared to when you get a fade or something like that,” he said.

One of his favorite GU players of all time is a Zag who only spent a season and a half in a Bulldog uniform.

“(Angel Nunez) was from Dominican Republic, so there is that chemistry,” Alberty said. “As soon as he walked in the door, you could feel his presence and he was always smiling. He always laughed super loud, but he is a really, really cool guy.”

As far as current players, he loves Oumar Ballo for the laughs and the big man’s personality.

But, he did want to make it clear that he played Ballo 1-on-1 and only lost by 4.

“He won, obviously, but I scored seven points on him,” Alberty said. “That’s a seven-footer. And I’m an old man – 30 years old. He didn’t know I was going to be kind of strong, I can hold my own.”

Ballo’s hair, he said, is the most difficult current player to cut. His flat top is tough to shape and Alberty said Ballo is particular about his hair.

He recently cut the team’s hair at the team hotel in Spokane after Few reached out to him, asking if he could do their hair.

He had to go through a COVID-19 screening, including questions from team officials before he was given access to their hair. Then, he met up with each player in their separate rooms to get them trimmed up before Indianapolis.

“He knows I’ve been doing their hair for a long time, so he told me just do it (at the hotel) because he didn’t want any of them to go out,” Alberty said. “They were very excited because they didn’t want to go (to the tournament) without a haircut and at the same time, they wanted me to do it.”

William Enochs, Dieon Pack – Black London’s

Enochs was first exposed to the Bulldogs when he worked for AllStars.

Now, he and fellow master barber, Pack, continue to shape the Zags’ hair.

One of the reasons Enochs started his shop in Browne’s Addition was to connect with the city. He mentioned the prevalence of barbershops in African American communities and how Spokane does not have many.

“So, when the guys do come and they do find the barber shop, it felt like home,” Enochs said. “They stayed with us the whole time that they’re here. Especially when they’re coming from Denver, or they’re coming from California or the East Coast, and they’re used to a barbershop on every single corner, seeing the same barber for years, and then they come to Spokane and it is kind of like a culture shock.”

Enochs echoed Alberty’s thoughts on how humble the Zags are. .

“We have kids in here and they’re taking pictures, signing autographs,” he said. “I’ve never met a bad player. And you know, they’re always super kind. And they definitely make Spokane look really good.”

In October 2016, police arrested Josh Perkins for DUI, hours after Kraziness in the Kennel.

“I remember when Josh Perkins got in trouble and then everyone came down on him and he came to the barbershop and he’s talking about what he did wrong, you know, he didn’t make excuses or anything else,” Enochs said. “He just said that’s something I had to learn. And that’s what he learned from.”

Perkins was also at the top of his list for haircuts.

“There was one time he came in with a bunch of beads in his hair,” Enochs said. “And you know, you’re that young and you’re trying to kind of find your niche.”

The connections these barbers make with the players runs deep. Enochs said one of the players he became close with was Nigel Williams-Goss. When he transferred from the University of Washington, Enochs said Williams-Goss was terrified there may be no barbershops in Spokane that he would like.

But once he found Enochs, a friendship grew.

“That’s what the barbershop is all about,” he said. “It’s all about connections, finding friendships and developing friendships.”

The next-level connections stretch beyond and into the community.

“We have kids that come in here, and they’re like ‘Can you get me the Josh Perkins?’ Or ‘Can you give me the J-Suggs?’ And so, we do those haircuts over and over again, they’re inspired by the players,” he said.

Enochs said Williams-Goss had a demanding haircut, because of a receding hair line that Enochs helped hide.

Another player who needed extra flavor when he first arrived in town was Rui Hachimura. Coming from Japan where hairstyles are few and far between, Hachimura was just used to a buzz.

It didn’t help that Hachimura didn’t speak English when he arrived and tried to spice up his hair style.

“And then after a while, he was buying Jordan’s, he’s getting a cool haircut,” Enochs said. “His hair started short and then he started growing it out. And now he is signed to Jordan. Crazy.”

Gabriel Jensen – Quick’s

The guy who gave Hachimura his first perm was Jensen, who still cuts and styles his hair when he comes back to Spokane.

Jensen has worked with Bryan Alberts, Johnathan Williams and Jordan Mathews to name a few, but if he had to choose the player who stands out the most, based nothing off of hair, he said it had to be Karnowski.

“I think Przemek had me laughing the most,” he said. “It probably had something to do with his accent. It’s always a little different with someone who’s a 7-footer.”

Jensen also would shave crazy designs for Perkins when he wanted something a little different.

Jensen, too, mentioned how he doesn’t vibe with long hair. So, he is out on the man buns as well as what Kelly Olynyk rocked during his time with the Bulldogs.

Anything that requires scissors is a no-go for Jensen.

Even when prodded to pick out bad haircuts, Jensen made it clear that he isn’t a hater on anyone’s unique style.

And GU has a wide variety of styles from David Pendergraft to Matt Bouldin to Elias Harris.

“They got it all, they always have a little bit of everything, they keep it pretty diverse.”

On long-locked Adam Morrison: “He’s the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time). He got it done.”

Matt Pelletier – Brickyard Barbershop

The only barber who hasn’t touched any Zag hair, Pelletier has been in the Brickyard barber business for four years this May.

After looking at a collection of photos that sampled some of the most interesting and best GU hair, Pelletier said the Bulldogs have really followed societal trends.

The ever-changing style that Perkins rocked during his Zag tenure was fascinating to Pelletier. His ability to change his hair almost every game turned into “What will Perkins roll with for this game?”

Dickau’s hair was very much in when he sported his mop. Olynyk, Bakamus and Triano all rode the bun wave, and Kispert has the flow currently.

Turiaf and Harris had two of the cleanest afros over the years, according to Pelletier.

Pelletier said he would worry about the drag Turiaf would experience when he grew out his bobbing afro, but it didn’t seem to slow the Frenchman down during his high-flying dunks.

Pangos, in his later years at GU, donned a mullet-type haircut. And in 2015, the mullet revolution had not taken off.

“I would say, if anything, he helped pave the way for mullets,” he said.

Pelletier has seen a strong uptick in business in the front, party in the back styles – some of which are a product of the current pandemic.

Pelletier, too, had a take on Morrison’s mane.

“It’s iconic, with the mustache and all,” he said.