We just wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. After last night's come from behind victory, Gonzaga's second in three games, it's pretty obvious that we're pretty damn lucky to be fans (and alums/students) of this exceptional university. Gonzaga's victory in Maui is just another landmark in Mark Few's unfathomable coaching career and he has the Zags out to a start that many of us could never have dreamed.
After the Michigan State game, many of us were still unsure of this team. Upsets in early season basketball are generally taken with a grain of salt as many teams don't hit full stride until mid-December. After Maui, however, it has become clear that this Gonzaga team is dangerous in ways that we haven't seen before. Matt Bouldin played poorly all night but had a great effort on the boards and hit a huge three in the second half to tie that game. The Cincinnati team played him like John Calipari's Memphis Tigers used to play him. Pressure him at the top and knock him out of the game. Unlike past years, Matt stepped up in other ways and made sure that he made a mark on last night's game which is a great sign of maturity. Steven Gray has also risen to the occasion. He's doing exactly what we hoped he would. Strong defense, big three's, and great drives to the bucket.
The 2009 recruiting class has to have exceeded expectations for nearly everyone. Although some aren't playing as much as we hoped, each one of them has impacted this team in some way. Elias Harris can be described no other way than an instant sensation. G.J. Vilarino has surprised me with his shooting ability and composure on defense. Kelly Olynyk is the definition of a hustle guy that has shown glimpses of great offensive ability. Bol Kong struggled at the start of the year to even dress but made a nice impact in Maui and every Gonzaga fan would agree that he will have an excellent career here if he continues to work. Manny Arop is, surprisingly, the freshman we've seen the least of but I like what he has brought. He hit a big jumper against Colorado and has shown great rebounding ability when in.
I don't think I have to say much about the rest of the squad. Rob Sacre is the best low post player we've had since J.P. Batista was roaming the paint with his soft touch. Demetri Goodson had his best game of his Gonzaga career last night and Grant Gibbs even played extended minutes and showed great toughness.
It's obvious that when you look at what is upcoming on the schedule, there is still room for improvement. Maui may have set the bar high for Gonzaga but when you consider that Washington State and Wake Forest loom on the horizon, this team still has great hurdles to leap.
For now, just be thankful. Thankful for Mark Few's loyalty to the program, for Tommy Lloyd's superb recruiting efforts overseas and in Canada, and for the University continuing to facilitate the growth of the program.
Enjoy your Turkey Day and we'll see you back here soon as we begin our look at the Cougars of WSU.