Sabonis Enjoying NBA Rookie Season and Zags' Unbeaten Run - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Sabonis Enjoying NBA Rookie Season and Zags' Unbeaten Run


Success has created both doubters and fans across the country for the Gonzaga men's basketball team, with a 28-0 record and a No. 1 national ranking. One fan, who knows a little about success himself, has been keeping a close eye on GU this year all the way from Oklahoma.

"I try to watch as many games as possible," says former Zag and current Oklahoma City Thunder forward Domantas Sabonis. "It's been easier this year because they've been ranked higher, so it's been on TV. Obviously I'm very very happy for them, and I hope they go undefeated."

Sabonis is having a solid rookie year with the Thunder, starting every single game this season - 57 in total. He's playing 21.7 minutes per game, averaging 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds. His rebounding numbers are sixth among all NBA rookies.

The former Bulldog, who played two years at GU before being picked 11th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, recently played in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Sabonis finished with 10 points in 10 minutes as Team World beat Team USA 150-141.

"I'm really really proud of Domas," says his former coach, Mark Few. "He's really grown this entire year as I've watched him leaving our program, he's really expanded his game. He's shooting the ball fantastically well from three."

After making just 5 three-pointers on 14 attempts in his two years at Gonzaga, Sabonis has made 39 on 124 attempts (.315) in his first year with the Thunder. But it's not just his outside shooting that's different this year.

"Everything is new, everywhere I go," Sabonis says. "Every road trip, every game is a different matchup, so I've just got to get used to it."

Helping him adjust to the professional game is former Florida coach Billy Donovan, who has a few things in common with Sabonis.

"He's been great with me since day one," Sabonis says of Donovan. "He always tells me he's been in the same situation coming from college to the NBA, put in the fire, so I'm just trying to adapt as quick as possible."

For Mark Few, seeing his former player end up with the Thunder on draft night was memorable for a few reasons.

"It's special for me, not only with how much I love Domas and how proud I am of him, but he's playing for one of my closest friends I have in basketball in Billy Donovan. That just makes it that much cooler. "

With the Thunder sitting as the seventh seed in the West, Sabonis and company will be working to extend their season into late April and maybe even May. In the meantime, the GU great is hoping his former team can keep their season going into late March, and maybe even April.

"I hope they go all the way."

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