Ben Gregg played a pivotal role in luring Creighton transfer guard Ryan Nembhard to Gonzaga this offseason.
So it makes sense that he able to convince Nembhard to be the first guest this season on Gregg’s weekly podcast.
On Thursday’s “Benny G Show,” co-hosted by Spokesman-Review reporter Theo Lawson, Nembhard joined Gregg to talk about his childhood years, playing basketball with older brother and former Zag standout Andrew, and his experience playing for prestigious Montverde Academy.
“My first recollection (of basketball) is probably just a Fisher-Price rim,” Nembhard said. “I remember getting that at Christmas time and me and my brother would break it before New Year’s. The backboard was broken and all ripped up. Those are some of the first memories.”
Gregg talks about the recruiting pitch that helped convinced the point guard to become a Zag.
“Don’t let the coaches fool you. I got him here,” Gregg joked. “I knew how special of a player he was and what he could bring to the table. And obviously, hanging out with his brother, we had a such a great relationship. I knew Ryan was pretty much the same person as him.”
On episode 2 now streaming at www.spokesman.com, Gregg also previews the Maui Invitational – and another matchup with Purdue big man Zach Edey – and discusses why he’s looking forward to the team’s trip to Honolulu. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us, playing those top teams early on in the season because in March, we’re going to be playing those same teams again.”
Gregg also talks about the team’s 2-0 start, the impact of losing Steele Venters to injury and Braden Huff’s breakout performances in both games.
Among the other observations:
On Dusty Stromer’s emergence: “He’s a hooper at heart. (Coach Mark Few) does make a lot of ‘California Cool’ jokes about him with the long surfer hair, but don’t let the looks fool you. He’s a hard-nosed guy. Blue collar, works really hard.”
On Braden Huff’s scoring explosion in the first two games: “We all knew what he was capable of. Last year he was a redshirt and killing us in practice every day. So we all knew he could put the ball in the hole.”
On Gonzaga’s versatility: “We’ve been working on a bigger lineup, having Anton (Watson) play the 3 a little bit. I think that’s going to be tough for our opponents to guard, especially on the glass and rebounding.”
The “Benny G Show” is available wherever you get your podcasts.