Men's Basketball Makes Debut At Kraziness In The Kennel - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Men's Basketball Makes Debut At Kraziness In The Kennel

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few unveiled the 2010 version of the Bulldog men's basketball team in public for the first time Saturday evening in front of a standing-room only crowd at Kraziness in the Kennel at the McCarthey Athletic Center, and for the most part the goals going into the event were accomplished.

For the record the Blue team posted a 56-50 victory over the Red team, but the cumulative statistics weren't the most important thing to Few. The Bulldogs played three periods, the score was re-set to zero for each period and some players played for both teams as the coaching staff experimented with combinations and match-ups.

"In regard to getting our guys out in front of a crowd, getting that kind of nervousness of playing in front of people and getting used to the pump of adrenalin in a game-like setting, we had a successful outing," Few said. "The crowd was incredible. The fact it was packed to the rafters for a scrimmage on a Saturday says a lot about our fans and the community. That was easily the most impressive part of the day."

Senior guard Matt Bouldin played for both sides and had a combined 14 points, as did freshman Elias Harris to lead all scorers. They were followed by sophomore guard Demetri Goodson with 13 and freshman forward Mangisto Arop with 11.

Few likes the potential of the newcomers.  "They youngsters are going to be good. I don't know when. They'll show flashes of it here and there.  Getting them to be consistent will be the biggest challenge, but that happens with youth," Few said of the seven newcomers who combine with three redshirts from a year ago to give the Bulldogs 10 players who have never played a minute of NCAA Division I basketball.

"The big guys are coming along very, very well. I thought Elias had a good afternoon, and Sam (Dower) and Kelly (Olynyk) have been strong all fall. Manny (Arop) has had a good couple of weeks although he didn't play real well tonight," Few said.

The only player who didn't see action was freshman Bol Kong who is nursing a sore foot.

Few said there's a lot of work remaining to be done prior to the Bulldogs lone exhibition contest Nov. 2 against the University of Alberta.

"Probably role identification is the biggest thing," Few said of one of the challenges facing his staff and team. "We have to start playing to our strengths and know what we are supposed to bring. We need to communicate that to them and they need to accept it and play with it. That's probably the best thing we can do right now offensively and defensively."

Rebounding and turnovers were also on Few's check list.  "We need to keep shoring up our rebounding because that's going to be a big key for us this year, and we need to cut down on some of those silly turnovers. That happens early, though," he said.

The 11th-year head coach also said teaching continues to be critical with such a young squad.  "They've (coaches) been breaking things down step-by-step and going much slower than we've gone in the past. Last year's group at this time was way further ahead, but that's the way it is with so many new guys," Few noted.

Of the veterans, Few said "Matt did a nice job tonight. Meech (Demetri) played well and we're trying to squeeze more leadership out of Steven (Gray."

The Bulldogs, who open the regular season at home Nov. 14 against Mississippi Valley State, are picked to win the West Coast Conference regular-season title, something the Bulldogs have done the last nine years. But the pressure of being No. 1 doesn't bother Few.

"We're used to it. We've pretty much been picked every year for the last 11 or 12. It's something we need to live up to and we need to teach the younger guys how we live up to it. The old guys have a responsibility there to teach them the tradition of this program and how we handle it," Few said of the favorite role.

Oliver Pierce, SID, Gonzaga University

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