Drew Timme is never short for words.
The well-spoken, passionate and mustached Texan, gathered up his Gonzaga teammates at halfcourt in the Chase Center, moments after the final buzzer confirmed the 74-68 Sweet 16 loss to Arkansas and the finality of the 2021-22 season.
For a solid 30 seconds, Timme’s fervent emotions poured out of his lips, his expressive eyes darting to every teammate as the rest of the Zags were locked on him in the center.
“I just said that I was proud of us, and it was a hell of a ride,” Timme said in the postgame news conference, tears welling in his eyes.
And what a ride it was, for both the guys who scored the points and the fans in the stands whose booming applause followed the Bulldogs as they walked off the court.
Some of the louder cheering came from the parents of the student-athletes, some who essentially tailed the team all season, altering schedules and taking flights at all hours of the day to catch as many tipoffs as they could.
“Take a moment to just thank your families and Zag Nation for all the love and support they’ve had through all the goods, ups and downs of this season,” Timme told the team.
Postgame, a majority of Zag social media quickly blew up with Bulldog fans thanking the team for its season, which fell short of another 30-win conquest (28-4), which would have been its sixth in a row, extending its NCAA record.
But its eyes were on New Orleans and a title victory. The Bulldogs failed to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in program history.
“You know it didn’t end up the way we wanted, but we came to play hard,” Timme said.
Timme played hard all season and is a finalist for the Wooden Award given to the best player in college basketball. He averaged 18.2 points a game – on almost 60% shooting – and 6.7 rebounds. He also was the player the No. 1 team in the country looked at to expertly tap dance his way to the hoop for a bucket when they needed one.
The junior big man finished his year with another solid performance on the hardwood against the Razorbacks, finishing with 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting, while also improving at the line, going 7 for 8.
Timme boasted how honored he is to be a part of this squad.
“It’s been a grind this season, and I’m not – I couldn’t be any more proud of these guys,” Timme said.
“I know I’m not alone when I say this – I have no regrets about this season. We put it all out there. We came to work every day. We played our tails off, and I’m proud of each and every one of us for that.”
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