On so many levels, this will be quite a homecoming for Matt Gregg.
Not only will the longtime Freeman and Post Falls coach bring his Warner Pacific women’s basketball team to Gonzaga, his son will be in town for a visit with the GU men.
“We’ll see how that all plays out,” Gregg said, referring to the recruitment process for his son Ben, a 6-foot-8 forward who already has offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State and several other big schools.
Saturday’s game is another matter, the elder Gregg said earlier this week from Portland, where he’s coached the NAIA Division II Knights for the last 11 years.
“We do this every year,” Gregg said. “These girls, their dream is to play Division I basketball, and for whatever reason it didn’t happen for them. So I give them that experience.”
It’s been a busy late October for the women’s program at Warner Pacific, a Christian liberal arts school of 1,300 students located in southeast Portland.
The Knights played twice last weekend in a preseason tournament in Redding, California. After beating Cal State Maritime 86-35 on Friday, they got past Simpson University 77-67 a day later.
The learning curve steepened on Wednesday night, when the Knights traveled across town and fell 79-51 at Portland State.
Looking ahead to the game at GU, Gregg said, “That’s going to be an incredible experience … but we’re not going to knock off anybody (in Division 1).”
Last year, Warner Pacific went 15-13 overall and 11-9 in the sprawling Cascade Collegiate Conference, where they compete against the likes of Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon and Walla Walla University.
The Knights are picked to finish in the middle of the pack, partly because they lost seven players to graduation.
Of the 13 players on the roster, all but four are transfers.
So far this year, Gregg has been impressed with Gabby Bruno, a 5-foot-9 guard who transferred from the College of Southern Idaho, and Samantha Morgan, a 5-7 guard who earlier played at Dickinson State.
Bruno and Morgan combined for 33 points in the win over Simpson.
“All the players are working hard,” Gregg said.
The trip to the Inland Northwest will stoke some memories for Gregg, who has ties to several schools in the area.
A standout center at Clarkston, the 6-9 Gregg played at Idaho for one year before transferring to Lewis-Clark State in 1987.
Gregg went on to teach middle school in Post Falls, where he also coached tennis, golf and volleyball. He served eight years as assistant coach for the Freeman boys program before taking over the girls in 2003.
On three occasions, Gregg coached the Scotties to a top-five finish in the State 1A tournament and went 103-24 overall in five seasons. He took the Warner Pacific job in 2008.
There could be more trips to Spokane, should his son sign with the Zags.
“We’re coming up early Friday and Ben is coming to the men’s game so we can talk to the coaches,” the elder Gregg said.
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