July 26, 2013

Zag Summer Scrimmages- Gaz's Take & Pics

We made it down to the Kennel and took in a couple of the Gonzaga Summer scrimmages. There were no sitings of past Zag stars that usually show up. No Adam Morrison, Jeremy Pargo, Ronny Turiaf, or Casey Calverys. A lot of the regulars were also M.I.A. so it made it a bit disappointing.

The Zag players that were there took the court after the summer youth camps ended at approx 9 p.m. About 300 or so campers, fans, and parents, all strolled over to watch just as camp ended. No refs, free throws, timeouts, or coaches. Just ten Zag players going at it pretty hard for over an hour.

Once again, Gary Bell Junior did not play (he sat out Friday night as well). He watched intently enough and looked anxious as he fidgeted and flipped a basketball back and forth in his hands. His injury is taking a long time to heal and I am beginning to get nervous. It's been quite a while since the Wichita State game where he initially injured his foot. He said it's getting better, but you have to ask yourself what is taking so long.

Anyways, back to the scrimmage. Players that were absent included: Pangos, Karnowski, Wiltjer, Barham, Nunoz, and Rem Bakamus. Surprisingly enough, Kelly Olynyk who is now with the NBA's Boston Celtics showed up.

It was Skins vs Shirts: Skins included- Olynyk, Stockton, Edwards, Dranginis, and our newest walk-on named Justin Triano. Shirts included- Bhaskar, Meikle, Dower, Coleman, and I believe a practice squad player playing the 2/3. I'll be putting up a lot of pictures so if you recognize him please let us know. *Editor's note:The "mystery player" at the scrimmages was Kenny Chandler, a 6'7 wing who won the Slam Dunk contest at Hoopfest two years ago, he was also runner-up last year.

They scrimmaged for about an hour and provided a lot of entertainment. Kelly Olynyk looked to be the best player on the floor. Too bad he is now with the Celtics. Near the end of practice he set up for a three from the wing. Instead of shooting the wide open shot he side stepped inside, blew by his defender, and took it to the rim throwing down a monster tomohawk jam that had the crowd roaring with approval. This was followed up immediately by Dower at the other end who threw down a thunderous jam of his own. A nice way to end the festivities for sure!

I was really impressed with Gerard Coleman, who is coming off a redshirt year. He was quick, had tight  handles, was able to put it on the floor and create his own shot, dished the rock, and finished in the paint. He had a sweet jumper to 15 feet and knocked down some threes as well. He is going to have a very nice year.

David Stockton looked like he'd been hitting the weights and his play was solid. His court vision is outstanding, and as usual, he knows how to hit the open man. Kyle Dranginis looked improved and more court savvy. Last year he looked lost at times, not so this year. He also looked like he'd been hitting the weights. Look for him to have a breakout year.

Sam Dower went up against Kelly Olynyk and fared quite well. He scored going to his right on three occasions and was money from anywhere inside the paint. He looked faster, stronger, and seemed to have an improved motor. I feel he can play big minutes in his senior year and will provide the experience and stability in the paint we need.

Meikle looked lost. He could definately use a redshirt year and he needs to bulk up. After that, he could be a nice addition to the depth chart. Not harshing on the guy...he simply needs some work, imo.

I paid a lot of attention to our newest 7 footer, Ryan Edwards. Partly because he is new, but mostly because we are not deep in the low post, having lost Olynyk and Harris. He defends pretty well but he could use a redshirt year to knock off the baby fat and develop. He reminds me of Karnowski in preseason last year. I see a lot of potential in him and could see him being a star in a couple years.

For a walk-on, the Dustin Triano kid was very polished and impressive. He was hitting practically every thing he threw up, and there were a lot of threes falling through in the mix. He was fast laterally, passed very well, and looked like a larger David Stockton. It is unreal to me that our team is so talented that he would be a walk-on. Amazing.

Ok, I'll stop blathering on and let you guys see what you really came for....the pictures. I took a lot of them. Hopefully, you can get a feel for how the players look, who is in shape, and who is not. Enjoy!

Follow along...Lots of pictures after the break!!

July 21, 2013

Introducing Dustin Triano, Gonzaga's Newest Walk-On

I first met Dustin at the Gonzaga summer scrimmages. Usually, I know all the Zag players but was drawing a blank as to who he was. So, I did what any curious Zag fan would do...I walked up, introduced myself, and asked. He was a really nice, accommodating fellow.

Turns out he is Gonzaga's newest walk-on and his name is Dustin Triano. He hails out of Tsawwassen, Canada and recently played at a prep school back east called, New Hampton Prep with big time recruits Travis Jorgenson (Georgia Tech) and Noah Vonleh (Indiana). He told me he was recruited by none other than assistant coach, Tommy Lloyd. He is about 6'3, 185 pounds, and plays the point and SG positions. He also happens to be the son of NBA head coach, Jay Triano, who was the one time coach of the Toronto Raptors.

He was playing the off guard position with the skins team and was very impressive during the scrimmages. He was shooting lights out from deep, had very tight handles, and spreading the rock like a veteran with confidence. After one of the scrimmages he stayed and was shooting by himself. This guy was knocking down shots from everywhere, including being deadly accurate from the NBA three line.

When we left the Kennel at 10 p.m. tonight he was there practicing all by himself, again. He reminds me of Kevin Pangos, how he was on the court shooting at all hours of the night when he first arrived on campus, driven to get better.

He knows about Gonzaga's track record of walk-ons getting a chance, and succeeding, like Mike Hart and David Stockton. All he wants is a chance. A chance to help the team and a chance at earning starters minutes somewhere down the line.

He played very well at the scrimmages, so he has talent. If he is a gym rat like Pangos, who knows? Maybe he'll forge a nice career for himself and be the next walk-on star at GU. We'll certainly be pulling for him.

Welcome to Gonzaga Dustin, and thanks for the time. Keep knocking down those shots!

Follow Dustin on Twittter : https://twitter.com/dustintriano

July 19, 2013

WILTJER A ZAG (really)

We were waiting for confirmation because this potential outcome has seen differing wrinkles and Kyle was going back and forth for some time. But, Kyle Wiltjer just posted this on his Twitter (Twitlonger) and it's good enough for us:  http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rlf2pu

More later....

Kyle Wiltjer's Dad says son to Gonzaga a Done Deal

CBS's Jeff Borzello is reporting that UK's Kyle Wiltjer will become a Zag:

Waiting for an official press release from Gonzaga but it looks good. We will post more about this potential development later.

July 13, 2013

2013 Hoopfest- Bell & Dranginis Man the Zag Booth

*Editor's note: Sorry I am so late getting this up. I figured better late than never though. Life has been extremely hectic, but things are looking up and it looks like I'll be having more time to add content to the blog as the upcoming season approaches.

We made it down to Hoopfest in Spokane on our way out of town early Saturday afternoon and stopped in for a second to visit the Gonzaga booth. It was beyond crowded and noisy. I had hoped with all the rain it would be less crowded and afford us a chance to spend more time with Kyle Dranginis and Gary Bell, unfortunately, this ended up not being the case.

It was periodically pouring down rain but the crowds still were out in full force. I did snap a few pictures and also came away with an armful of trinkets such as autographs, tattoos, and "Zags Live in Seattle" record albums. There is no album, just the album covers. The free souvenirs are geared towards representing the annual Battle in Seattle game.

We said a quick hello to Gary Bell and Kyle Dranginis. I asked Gary how his foot was healing up and he said he was still getting physical therapy on it but that it would be fine for the season (remember he injured it during the heart breaking loss to Wichita State in the NCAA tourney). Kyle said he was working on getting stronger and hoped to be able to contribute more next season. They both felt like next season could be just as special as last season was.

The crowds were burning holes in our backs and we quickly moved along and headed towards the Bruchis Booth where we ordered the extremely popular Philly Cheese-steak. That, was some good eating! The basketball courts set up especially for this annual event seemed to be filled with players all trying to will their team to victory in the rain. What a mess. But, all the rain did help to keep the heat down.

Last year's Men's Elite winner, Douglass Properties, repeated as Hoopfest Champions. They were once again led by several past Zags including; Josh Heytvelt, David Pendergraph, and Alex Hernandez. Hoopfest is the largest three on three basketball tournament in the world.

Here are a few pictures of the action on Saturday:

July 3, 2013

Mark Few Helps Zag Transfer Grant Gibbs Receive 6th Year from NCAA

Gonzaga transfer Grant Gibbs, sometimes referred to as a "point forward", has been given another year of eligibility to play with the Creigton BlueJays. Grant played sparingly in his first season at Gonzaga and then injured his knee as a sophomore. Unhappy with a lack of playing time and injuries that kept him from playing at a level he was accustomed to, he transferred to Creighton where he redshirted. The decision today gives him a 6th year of eligibility. Glad he gets another year and it's cool that Mark few could help out. Best of luck GG for three! (Grant Gibbs for three).