March 29, 2009

Profiles: Grant Gibbs

Looking forward to next season, i will begin to post a players individual profile and detailed scouting report every week. This week begins with Grant Gibbs.

Grant Gibbs

Class: RS-FR.
HT: 6-4
WT: 205
Hometown: Marion, IA (Linn-Mar High School)

Grant Gibbs was a highly sought Guard out of Iowa, a top 100 Player in the 2008 Class. The Zags beat out the likes of Iowa, Iowa St. and Wisconsin for the rights to the court smart guard. He is a great outside shooter that can step out to NBA range and knock down some big threes. He is a very heady player capable of running a team as its point guard. Not the most athletic player in the world, but can take it inside on backdoor cuts and smooth outlet passes, at times can remind you of a Derek Raivio with his skill set.


March 27, 2009

Recap: North Carolina Vs. Gonzaga

Final Score:North Carolina 98 Gonzaga 77

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Jeremy Pargo 16 Points
Rebounder: Austin Daye 11 Boards
Passer: Steven Gray 3 Assists
Swatter: Austin Daye 4 Blocks
Thief: Micah Downs 3 Steals

Game MVP: Jeremy Pargo
16 Points, 3 Boards, 2 Assists, and a Steal

Team Comparison: Zags/Tar Heels
Points: 77/98
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 0.83/2.56
Rebounds: 28/40
Shooting Percentage: 47%/53%
3pt Percentage: 30%/58%

Notes from the sideline:
-Micah Downs played a well rounded game, 12 Points, 4 Boards, 3 Steals, 2 assists, an a Block. He also managed to go 2-4 from outside.
-Jeremy Pargo had a great final game to his career, too bad it ended in defeat.
-Josh Heytvelt failed to get a single Rebound...Very Weird Stat...
-Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs, Jeremy Pargo, Andrew Sorenson, Ira Brown and Possibly Austin Daye may have played their last games for the Zags. They will be missed.

What it means for the future (Analysis):
It means that there is no future. Well at least until next season. We did wind up gaining another season of eligibility for Robert Sacre, but honestly i think 90% of the Zag fans out there would have traded that year for another post player and a better chance at the Elite 8. I think the Zags gave a fine effort, but were just over matched by the more experienced and better defensive effort by the Tar Heels.

March 24, 2009

Bouldin's Transformation Keys Gonzaga

By Ted Miller

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It's hard not to notice the hair first. It suggests that a character lies beneath its thick brown tangle, and because Matt Bouldin plays for Gonzaga, it's difficult to keep Adam Morrison's "mustache" from oozing into the mind's eye. Oh, please, make that image go away.

Yet while Morrison's porn star mustache emerged from an ironic place inside the former All-American's swirling brain, Bouldin's hair just is. It seems more than likely that he favors it because a gaggle of comely coeds through the years have told him it looks cute.

"I haven't heard one announcer not talk about my hair," the junior guard and two-time Colorado state high school player of the year said. "It gets a little old, but whatever. It's nice to be recognized. We've been talking about if we go to a Final Four, I'll buzz it. But it's hard to get rid of it."

That's about as edgy as the mellow Bouldin gets, particularly on the occasion of leading the fourth-seeded Zags (28-5) back to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005-06. They'll square off with top-seeded North Carolina in Memphis on Friday. In the thrilling Round 2 win over Western Kentucky, Bouldin played the all-around game that became his hallmark over the second half of the season. He contributed 20 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out six assists -- each total a team-high.

That's a "committed" and "fully invested" performance. And if you're wondering why those two terms have quotation marks around them, it's because Mark Few used them in a lengthy conversation in early January in which the Gonzaga coach told Bouldin those qualities were missing from his game. The Zags, after a strong start, had just dropped three of four, including consecutive games to Portland State and Utah. Few, who can do grumpy with the best of them, was perturbed.

"I wanted him to just be more accountable," Few said. "He was playing. But I didn't feel like he was … playing. His performance made a difference whether we won or lost, so I wanted him to be accountable for whether we won or lost." If that charge sounds nuanced, it is. This wasn't as simple as "be more aggressive." After a Few minutes, it's clear the coach wanted Bouldin to take over a game with the Zen-like effortlessness of, say, a John Stockton. Gonzaga's strong finish coincided with Bouldin's transformed game.

Hey, and the neat thing about Gonzaga is that Stockton's considerable basketball IQ is just a phone call away. In what Few calls "brain sessions" with Stockton, the most famous former Zag, Bouldin learned the lesson that could be roughly described as "slow down and take control." "Matt was always in a hurry his first two years," Few said. "Now he's making those reads. He's getting back in the pocket, seeing the Cover 2 or the blitz, instead of just going back and throwing the bomb."

Apologies for the football analogy. Don't blame Few, though. A reporter introduced the oblong spheroid by suggesting that Bouldin was built like a linebacker, the 6-foot-5, 224-pounder looking like he would be warmly greeted if he ventured south from Spokane to Pullman and told Washington State coach Paul Wulff he would like to suit up. The marching orders from Few and the skull sessions with Stockton, however, did the basketball trick nicely. Bouldin scored 26 points in an overtime win at Tennessee, and has averaged more than 15 points per game since then, a span in which Gonzaga has won 20 of 21, the lone loss coming to No. 3 Memphis.

Bouldin, the Zags' second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game, ended up losing out on West Coast Conference player of the year honors to Santa Clara center John Bryant -- controversially, some would say -- but advancing in the tournament figures to be a satisfying consolation prize. Gonzaga, long the little program that could in March, hasn't, since Morrison left for the NBA (see consecutive first-round exits the previous two tournaments). Don't think for a moment that wasn't a scab that had been frequently picked by all who had fingers in the program.

Gonzaga 2.0 is all about being more than just a mid-major, and that requires regularly advancing. Beating Western Kentucky was a big relief for the Bulldogs. "It was a huge relief," Bouldin admitted after Demetri Goodson's stunning, coast-to-coast, buzzer-beating drive had sent the Hilltoppers home.

"It means a lot because the last two years here we haven't gotten out of the first round. The expectations are really high here, the way -- like you said -- we've developed it out of being a mid-major into almost a major program. Expectations are really high. We feel it." It doesn't get much more major-major than UNC. It's been 10 years since Gonzaga became America's Cinderella when it advanced to the Elite Eight and then was eliminated by eventual champion Connecticut. If Bouldin is threatening to shave his briar patch of a hairdo if the Bulldogs pull off a Final Four run, what might he do to celebrate a berth in the Elite Eight?

It's suggested he could pay tribute to Morrison with a mustache. "If I could grow it maybe I would," he said. So a baby face elicits a sigh of relief from college basketball fans across the country. The Tar Heels, however, probably don't want to let their guard down.

March 23, 2009

Scouting Report: North Carolina

W-L: 30-4
RPI: 3
SOS: 21
Best Wins:
(8) Duke W, 101-87
(8) Duke W, 79-71
(15) Michigan St. W, 98-63
(22) Clemson W, 94-70
(37) Notre Dame W, 102-87

Best Losses:
(24) Wake Forest L, 92-89
(39) Florida St. L, 73-70

Current Rankings:
#3 AP
#3 Coaches
#1 NCAA Tourney Seed
#3 RPI

Team Leaders:
Points: Tyler Hansbrough 21.2
Assists: Ty Lawson 6.5
Rebounds: Tyler Hansbrough 8.1

Best Player:

Ty Lawson PG 5-11 195 JR
Lawson is playing on a bad toe, but has still be very successful. He averages 16.1 PPG, 6.5 APG, 2.7 RPG...Probably the best Pure PG in College Basketball. Hes shooting 54% from the Field, 47% from three and 82% from the line.

My Take:
I fully expect this to be a battle. The Zags are playing good basketball right now and so are the Tar Heels. Ty Lawson is hobbled a bit, but he still was able to drop 23 points on LSU. If the Zags can get out early and keep it close, we should be able to pull away in the second half. We have to be able to play good perimeter defense on the UNC guards, thats gotta be the key to the game.

Final Score: Gonzaga 80 North Carolina 78

March 22, 2009

Recap: Western Kentucky Vs. Gonzaga

Final Score:Gonzaga 83 Western Kentucky 81

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Matt Bouldin 20 Points
Rebounder: Matt Bouldin 8 Boards
Passer: Matt Bouldin 6 Assists
Swatter: Josh Heytvelt 2 Blocks
Theif: Matt Bouldin 1 Steal

Game MVP: Matt Bouldin
20 Points, 8 Boards, 6 Assists...One of his best games of the season...

Team Comparison: Zags/Hilltoppers
Points: 83/81
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.64/1.27
Rebounds: 30/29
Shooting Percentage: 50%/52%
3pt Percentage: 43%/48%

Notes from the sideline:
-Micah Downs had about 3 big time dunks...including an Alley-Oop where he must have jumped at least 45 inches...
-Jeremy Pargo played very well, 18 Points, 3 Assists, 2 Boards, a Steal and a Block, he seems like hes comfortable in his new role as the off guard.
-Meech won the game with one of his patented 4 Second entire court runs that caught the WKU defense off guard.

What it means for the future (Analysis):
Just as i thought, a close game for sure. This is what March is made of. Great Heroics by Meech Goodson and what a great effort by the Zags who took every punch that the 'Toppers could throw at em but still stood strong and won the game. Here we come Memphis, watch out Tar Heels we are playing some great basketball right now.

March 20, 2009

Scouting Report: Western Kentucky (WKU)

W-L: 25-8
RPI: 96
SOS: 179
Best Wins:
(4) Louisville W, 68-54
(26) Illinois W, 76-72

Best Losses:
(37) Florida St. L, 82-69
(60) Mississippi St. L, 95-67
(69) Houston L, 73-64

Current Rankings:
#12 Seed in NCAA Tourney

Team Leaders:
Points: A.J. Slaughter 15.8
Assists: Orlando Mendez-Valdez 4.0
Rebounds: Sergio Kerusch 7.5

Best Player:

Orlando Mendez-Valdez PG 6-1 185 SR
Orlando is the player that makes WKU tick. Without him at full speed after a calf spasm, the Hilltoppers blew a 17 point lead a nearly allowed the Illini to come screaming back. 13.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 4.0APG...40% shooter from outside...

My Take:
This will be a test, the Hilltoppers are a well seasoned bunch who know a thing or two about advancing in the tourney. Just last season they were able to reach the Sweet 16 on a nice run of big game heroics. The Zags have played them before with a 74-71 win over them last season in the Great Alaskan Shootout. I expect this to be a nitty-gritty down to the wire game that will put a scare into the Gonzaga faithful. All in all, this will help season the Zags to eventually reach the Sweet 16 for the 5th time in school history and get a chance to recapture some of the glory of old with a Giant Killing performance against the great Tar Heels of Chapel Hill.

Final Score: Gonzaga 76 Western Kentucky 67

Recap: Akron Vs. Gonzaga

Final Score:Gonzaga 77 Akron 64

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Josh Heytvelt 22 Points
Rebounder: Josh Heytvelt 8 Boards
Passer: Matt Bouldin 5 Assists
Swatter: Austin Daye 4 Blocks
Theif: 5 Tied with 1 Steal

Game MVP: Josh Heytvelt
22 Points, 8 Boards, 7-8 from the field...big time game!

Team Comparison: Zags/Zips
Points: 77/64
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.88/1.88
Rebounds: 31/22
Shooting Percentage: 52%/37%
3pt Percentage: 33%/44%

Notes from the sideline:
-Heytvelt continued his dominant play, almost single handidly delivering victory for the Zags.
-Jeremy Pargo continues to play as if he is a freshman again, minus that big dunk he was a no show. Definitely not the Senior leader we need.
-Bouldin Started slow, but finished with a bang and a good all around game, 12 points, 6 boards, 5 assists and a steal.

What it means for the future (Analysis):
The Zips gave the Zags all they could handle for the first 25 minutes of the game, but in the end the Giant awoke and slew the Cinderellas upset bid. I expect this to add another notch to our belt and help boost the confidence of a highly sensitive team. If Heytvelt can continue his fiery play, this Zag team could join the annuals of past Zag-dom lore with another Elite Eight or maybe, just maybe a long coveted Final Four bid.

March 18, 2009

Scouting Report: Akron

W-L: 23-12
RPI: 90
SOS: 144
Best Wins:
(76) Niagara W, 63-59
(105) Miami (OH) W, 53-44

Best Losses:
(5) Pittsburgh L, 86-67
(54) VCU L, 73-69
(72) Rhode Island L, 79-50

Current Rankings:
#13 Seed in NCAA Tourney

Team Leaders:
Points: Brett McKnight 11.2
Assists: Ronnie Steward 2.7
Rebounds: Nate Linhart 6.2

Best Player:

Nate Linhart SF 6-8 205 SR
Linhart is a nice wing, can show athleticism at times, 81% FT shooter, keep him off the line...

My Take:
The Zags should roll pretty handily. I expect an early run from Akron, but nothing to much that the zags can't handle. This should be a nice first round matchup for the Zags.

Final Score: Gonzaga 92 Akron 70

March 10, 2009

Recap: Gonzaga Vs. Saint Mary's

Final Score:Gonzaga 83 Saint Mary's 58

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Josh Heytvelt 17 Points
Rebounder: Micah Downs 12 Boards
Passer: Micah Downs 7 Assists
Swatter: Josh Heytvelt 2 Blocks
Theif: Jeremy Pargo 1 Steals

Game MVP: Micah Downs
Double Double...12 Points, 12 Boards, 1 Assist

Team Comparison: Zags/Gaels
Points: 83/58
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.78/0.60
Rebounds: 33/37
Shooting Percentage: 55%/29%
3pt Percentage: 50%/18%

Notes from the sideline:
-Micah Downs had another great game a double double, 12 points 12 boards.
-Matt Bouldin looks like he might be the point guard now, seems like few wants him distributing the ball.
- Heytvelt continued his excellent play and looks like hes finally found his stride again.

What it means for the future (Analysis):
Domination. We go into the NCAA tournament at full speed, looks like we might be able to pull a final four out of our hats if we keep this kind of play up.

March 9, 2009

Championship Preview

Courtesy ESPN.COM

Saint Mary's never really had a chance at challenging Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference regular-season title after leading scorer Patrick Mills broke his hand in a loss to the Bulldogs in January. With Mills back on the court, the league's tournament title still could be theirs. In a game that could be critical to their NCAA tournament hopes, Mills and the Gaels face No. 14 Gonzaga in the WCC tournament championship game Monday night in Las Vegas.

Saint Mary's (25-5) and Gonzaga (25-5) were tied for the WCC lead when they met in Spokane, Wash. on Jan. 29. Mills -- at the time leading the Gaels with 18.7 points per game -- broke two bones in his right hand in that contest, which St. Mary's lost 69-62. The sophomore guard would miss the remainder of the regular season.

Mills returned to the court Sunday and scored 12 points to help Saint Mary's beat Portland 71-61 in the conference tournament semifinals. The Gaels, who finished the regular season four games behind Gonzaga in league play, haven't been to the tournament finals since 2005, when they lost to the Bulldogs.

"It took longer than I hoped to warm up, but that's OK, because it was a good warmup for (Monday)," said Mills, who is averaging 20.3 points in his career against the Bulldogs. "There were times when I tried to baby it a bit, but once I got in the flow, it was all right. It was stiff to start out, but it felt good to be out there, especially with the boys again."

Saint Mary's now hopes Mills will help it win its first WCC tournament title since 1997. "His leadership coming back, it helps us," teammate Diamon Simpson said. "You could feel it in the locker room. Everybody was smiling and feeling good." Beating the Bulldogs won't be easy.

Gonzaga has won eight of the last 10 WCC tournament titles, with losses to San Diego in the 2003 and 2008 title games. The Bulldogs reached the finals for a 12th straight time by beating Santa Clara 94-59 on Sunday.

Though leading scorer Josh Heytvelt managed a season-low three points, the Bulldogs got plenty of production from other sources. Austin Daye scored a career-high 28 points and Micah Downs added 18 while shooting 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Gonzaga connected on a season-high 13 3-pointers, and led by as many as 40 points.

"It's hard to stop us when we have our break going and we're having fun," said senior guard Jeremy Pargo, who had 16 points. The win was Gonzaga's eighth straight and 17th in the last 18 games. Four of the last six wins have been by 30 points or more. Heytvelt, though, is averaging only 8.7 points in the last three games -- well below his 14.8 season average.

The senior forward looks to bounce back Monday against Saint Mary's. He scored 20 points in a 72-70 road win over the Gaels on Feb. 12, though he managed only nine against them at home in the Jan. 29 matchup. The Bulldogs have won three straight meetings against St. Mary's and 25 of the last 28 in this series, including six WCC tournament contests.

Recap: Gonzaga Vs. Santa Clara

Final Score:Gonzaga 94 Santa Clara 59

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Austin Daye 28 Points
Rebounder: Matt Bouldin 8 Boards
Passer: Matt Bouldin 7 Assists
Swatter: Austin Daye 2 Blocks
Theif: Matt Bouldin 3 Steals

Game MVP: Austin Daye
Daye was Nuts! Career high 28 Points, 6 Boards, 1 Block, 1 Steal, 3-4 from three.

Team Comparison: Zags/Broncos
Points: 94/59
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.91/0.50
Rebounds: 31/26
Shooting Percentage: 56%/44%
3pt Percentage: 59%/47%

Notes from the sideline:
-Micah Downs played a great game, 18 points on 4 big threes and posterized a couple of the Broncos.
-Jeremy Pargo finally played up to his potential, 16 Points, 5 Assists, 4 Boards, 3 Steals (Minus the dunk that was blocked by the rim, is it just me or has he lost some hops?)
- Heytvelt was quiet on the offensive end, but his defensive preformance on WCC POY John Bryant was flawless.

What it means for the future (Analysis):
This is the Zags team that has final four potential, if they can play even at 90% of what they did last night they will own Saint Mary's and make a deep run into the tournament.

March 5, 2009


HERE WE GO! First time in WCC history that the Tourney is being played at a neutral venue. Patty Mills is all go with Saint Mary's so i fully expect a third Saint Mary's-Gonzaga Battle. This time i hope we can say we beat them even with the All-World Patty Mills giving his best Tony Parker impression.

This Tourney will be played in Sin City, at the Orleans Arena. I fully expect the Zags to come away with two more WCC wins and a 26-5 Record going into the NCAA tourney. Maybe just maybe we can parlay that into a #4 or #5 seed and make a nice sweet 16 or Elite 8 run. I know the Zags are fully capable of the doing it, i think had they brought back Robert Sacre, we may have been looking at a Final Four Berth...Oh well, theres always next season. All i got to say is LETS GO ZAGS! LETS GO!

March 4, 2009

Recap: USC Upstate @ Gonzaga

Final Score:Gonzaga 81 Santa Clara 73

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Matt Bouldin 16 Points
Rebounder: Josh Heytvelt 8 Boards
Passer: Jeremy Pargo 7 Assists
Swatter: Austin Daye 2 Blocks
Theif: Matt Bouldin 5 Steals

Game MVP: Andrew Sorenson
The consumate Zag, the Walkon, the 15 point scoring team ball player. We will miss you Andrew!

Team Comparison: Zags/Spartans
Points: 81/73
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 4.75/0.23
Rebounds: 37/33
Shooting Percentage: 47%/30%
3pt Percentage: 33%/31%

Notes from the sideline:
-Andrew Sorenson played 19 minutes, hit 3 three pointers and had 15 points and 2 Steals...
-Turnovers were the key to this game, USC Upstate had 26, the Zags had wonder we won by 50...

What it means for the future (Analysis):
Great Senior Day. Great Game by Sorenson, nice warm feeling going into the WCC tourney, i hope that means the Starters will be well rested and ready to Win the WCC tourney crown.

March 2, 2009

Scouting Report: South Carolina Upstate

W-L: 9-20
RPI: 294
SOS: 226
Best Wins:
(130) Jacksonville W, 70-59
(148) Lipscomb W, 57-56

Best Losses:
(39) Notre Dame L, 94-58
(63) South Carolina L, 75-53
(65) Boston College L, 67-55

Current Rankings:

Team Leaders:
Points: Bobby Davis 14.8
Assists: Bobby Davis 9.2
Rebounds: Bobby Davis 2.5

Best Player:

Bobby Davis PF 6-6 230 SR
Davis is quite an all around player, definitely D-1 material. Could probably have started for South Carolina this season if he wanted to.

My Take:
This game is a treat for the Seniors. Mark Few knows its going to hurt the RPI but he doesnt care, its time for the Seniors to get a chance to play and have some fun. I expect a blowout even still...

Final Score: Gonzaga 110 USC Upstate 65

March 1, 2009

Recap: Gonzaga @ San Diego

Final Score:Gonzaga 58 San Diego 47

Box Score Snapshot
Scorer: Matt Bouldin 15 Points
Rebounder: Matt Bouldin 7 Boards
Passer: Matt Bouldin 3 Assists
Swatter: Austin Daye 3 Blocks
Theif: Jeremy Pargo 2 Steals

Game MVP:Matt Bouldin
Bouldin continues to quietly lead this team. He has been very consistent all year.

Team Comparison: Zags/Toreros
Points: 58/47
Assist to /Turnover Ratio: 1.14/1.2
Rebounds: 28/26
Shooting Percentage: 44%/37%
3pt Percentage: 55%/31%

Notes from the sideline:
-The Toreros Stingy Defense held the Zags to 26 points in the first half, conversely the Zags held San Diego to 47 points for the second time on the year...
-Matt Bouldin continues to be as consistent as any Zag, i expect big things from him next year.

What it means for the future (Analysis):
The Zags looked ok, but not great. The Toreros are a great defensive team and it showed in the Zags final performance. This is a nice precursor game to the NCAA tournament as the Zags will have to face far superior Defensive Units than can be found in the WCC usually.