Mark Few’s citation for driving under the influence has been unquestionably the biggest storyline around Gonzaga’s basketball program since early September, but there’s no evidence that it’s been a disruption or distraction inside the Bulldogs’ locker room.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs announced Few would serve a three-game suspension as a result of his actions on Sept. 6 in Coeur d’Alene, meaning the longtime coach will miss exhibition contests against Eastern Oregon and Lewis-Clark State as well as the Nov. 9 season opener against Dixie State in Spokane.
Few was also absent on Saturday when GU hosted its annual preseason Kraziness in the Kennel event at McCarthey Athletic Center, though players who spoke to the media afterward indicated the coach has full, unwavering support from his team as the Bulldogs enter another season in which they’re expected to compete for a national championship.
Junior forward Drew Timme, one of the top candidates for national preseason player of the year and the reigning Karl Malone Award winner, suggested it didn’t take long for Gonzaga players to forgive their coach when he spoke with reporters Saturday afternoon.
“Coach is a great leader. He leads us every day, in and out,” Timme said. “No one’s perfect and everyone messes up. He’s taken his punishment like a man and he’s owned up to it.
“We have nothing but respect for him and we’ll stand by him no matter what.”
When asked about Few’s situation, senior point guard Andrew Nembhard wasn’t as long-winded but said, “I think we handled it well,” and, “We’re more here to talk about basketball.”
After releasing a statement Saturday morning, new Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford declined to comment further on the situation. Assistant coach Brian Michaelson, who’s serving as the Bulldogs’ head coach until Few returns, wasn’t made available to reporters after the scrimmage.
In a statement, Few said, “I again offer my sincere apology and I remain committed to learning from this mistake. … I know this impacts our student-athletes and the coaching staff as we begin the season. I understand the severity of my actions and am sorry for the impact this consequence has on our team.”