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Both teams would have preferred a few dress rehearsals, as Kansas coach Bill Self put it, but everyone involved in the Thanksgiving Day contest is just thankful to be playing with the pandemic rewriting schedules across the country.
They are two of the most-respected programs in all of college athletics, yet Kansas and Gonzaga couldn’t be more different.
You can’t go wrong with any of the five matchups on the court, but we have to pick one so we’ll go with the big men: Gonzaga sophomore Drew Timme and Kansas junior David McCormack.
The former Zag point guard vividly describes the scene inside Phog Allen Fieldhouse and details from a competitive contest that Gonzaga led for long stretches. “My standard line is I think we were up at half, I think I scored 19 at half,” he said, “and then they Rock Chalk Jayhawked us in the second half.”
A GRIP ON SPORTS • College basketball is tipping off the 2020-21 season today, though the schedule of your favorite team has probably changed already. Which brings up a pretty important question: Why are games being played? We know the answer of course, but we thought we would ask anyhow.
Erase No. 12 Tennessee, write in No. 15 West Virginia on Gonzaga’s basketball schedule.
For as much success as the Gonzaga men’s basketball team has experienced in the last two decades, the Zags would still need many years to match the historical accomplishments of the great men’s college basketball programs in the country. Still, with 21 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the fifth-longest active streak, the Zags are far from their Cinderella days.
Evan Manning is in his first season as a graduate assistant with the top-ranked Zags, who open the season Thursday against No. 6 Kansas in Fort Myers, Florida. “It’s crazy to me,” the 27-year-old laughed. “First game, Kansas, of course, but it’s been really cool.”
According to thediscoverer.com, the latest dining hotspots are not always in the expected cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Portland, blah, blah, blah – and the blog has named “five remarkable and unexpected foodie destinations that are wowing those with an appetite for the unknown,” with our own Lilac City making the list.
Two days before its season opener against Kansas, Gonzaga’s backcourt just got a whole lot better and whole lot deeper. Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard, a transfer from Florida, was granted a waiver by the NCAA.
The rising number of college basketball games canceled by COVID-19 concerns reached Gonzaga when Tennessee announced it will not travel to Indianapolis for a Dec. 2 date with the top-ranked Zags.
A GRIP ON SPORTS • As Gonzaga celebrated its 84-66 shellacking of Saint Mary’s on March 10, some folks realized it was head coach Mark Few’s 599th career victory. No. 600 was sure to come nine days later in Spokane, where the Zags would have played a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament’s first round. Then it didn’t.
Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert is one of 20 players on the preseason watch list for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player of the Year Award.
Three days before Thanksgiving, the COVID-19 pandemic dished out another thankless task to Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier.
Few is one win from reaching another career milestone, joining a short list of coaches with 600 career wins. Few, at 599-124 entering his 22nd season, is already considered one of the game’s elite coaches with his winning percentage (82.8) is tops among active coaches.
The Zags have made numerous adjustments to their travel itinerary for this two-week trip with the COVID-19 pandemic already disrupting early-season schedules.
A GRIP ON SPORTS • A lot has been lost this year, in ways big and small. It’s huge in Washington there won’t be an Apple Cup game this Friday, but in the realm of the world, it’s probably a tiny blip on the year that is 2020.
Chinese native Fanbo Zeng has orally committed to Gonzaga, which has prospered over the years with contributions from the likes of Rui Hachimura (Japan), Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania), Przemek Karnowski (Poland) and Kelly Olynyk (Canada), thanks in large part to assistant coach Tommy Lloyd’s international recruiting efforts.
A GRIP ON SPORTS • Thanksgiving week is upon us. It begins without many things, including a Washington State game to analyze or a Seahawks’ game to anticipate. And, most importantly, thousands upon thousands of our fellow Americans whose lives were cut short by the insidious virus. But we want to stay true to the holiday’s mission and be thankful this morning, no matter how difficult it may be.
Fanbo Zeng, a 6-foot-9, 190-pound native of China who played at prep school near Orlando last season, has verbally committed to Gonzaga.