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Funny thing about how they retire jerseys at Gonzaga University: Whenever the school actually gets around to it, it turns out the number has been mothballed already.
Mark Few didn't even try to defend his Gonzaga Bulldogs' effort on defense Friday night. "It was absolutely the worst I've seen in my 16 years here," the Zags sixth-year head basketball coach said.
Now it can go back to being just a gym. Really, that's all this curio known as The Kennel was on the day it opened, and most days thereafter.
The Gonzaga University men's basketball program stepped up to a whole new level Monday when the Bulldogs moved up to No. 4 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 rankings.
Now the walls bow from the babel and the floor trembles from the stomping feet of students getting their tuition's worth on a Saturday night. But in the earliest days of The Kennel - long before it was ever called that - you could have heard a bone snap. Really, it's the first sound anyone did hear.
John Stockton has a ready explanation as to why no player at Gonzaga University has been issued jersey number 12 since he graduated in 1984. And it isn't that the keeper of the uniforms kept it in a drawer - a pocket veto, if you will. "I don't think anybody asked for it," he joked, the self-deprecation needle going into the red. Hmm. Could be something to that. It's never easy to be the guy who follows The Guy, even if such an unlucky soul was never expected to come along at Gonzaga.
Nope, they weren't another Cleveland State. Didn't do a Santa Clara. Couldn't pull a Siena. They were just the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and with the dancing done for now, that's enough.
Joe Smith, who finished with an uncustomary nine points, asserts himself with a slam over Gonzaga's Scott Snider. Photo by Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review