One of the Kraziest parts of Gonzaga’s annual Kraziness in the Kennel is that 6,000, and occasionally a few hundred more standing in concourses, typically pack the McCarthey Athletic Center to get their first look at the team.
After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19 protocols, a full house is expected Saturday at 1 p.m. for the 2021 version of Kraziness in the Kennel. It’ll mark the first time the Kennel has been full of fans since the Zags downed Saint Mary’s 86-76 on Senior Night on Feb. 29, 2020.
Gonzaga went on to win the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas and was poised to be a No. 1 seed playing at the Spokane Arena before the 2020 NCAA Tournament was scrapped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Zags played inside a largely empty Kennel last season until the final four regular-season games when players’ families were permitted to attend. Even at Lucas Oil Stadium, the 70,000-seat home of the Indianapolis Colts and the Final Four last April, attendance was limited to approximately 8,000 for GU’s overtime win against UCLA and national championship loss to Baylor.
Fans demonstrated how eager they are to return to the McCarthey Athletic Center by snapping up all of the free tickets within 2-3 hours of them becoming available Monday on the school’s athletic department website.
For numerous Zags, including sophomore Julian Strawther, senior Andrew Nembhard and a four-player freshman class led by top-rated recruit Chet Holmgren, Saturday will be their first time playing inside a packed Kennel.
Strawther, Holmgren, guard Dominick Harris, who is battling a lower-right leg injury, and forward Ben Gregg have been spectators on recruiting visits inside a full Kennel. Nembhard, a key contributor to Gonzaga’s 31-1 record last season, played his first two years at Florida before transferring to GU.
The Kraziness schedule of events is expected to include elaborate player introductions, a 3-point shooting contest and a dunk competition, followed by a scrimmage typically in the 15- to 20-minute range.
Fans 12 and older must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Masks will be required inside the Kennel for fans over the age of 5.
Kraziness in the Kennel will be streamed live at GoZags.com. KHQ and SWX will air a replay at 4 p.m. Saturday.
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