Even though it feels like it has been an eternity...I'm still a bit stunned we are THIS close to the return of Gonzaga basketball. Ready or not, practice will kick off on Friday, October 15th and it will do so with a bang. ESPN will return to Spokane for the second time in three years to cover the Bulldogs' version of "Midnight Madness". ESPNU will blanket the nation as college basketball kicks off. In addition to Kraziness in the Kennel, the worldwide leader will also be on the campuses of Duke, Kentucky, Memphis and Kansas State to cover their first practice of the year.
ESPNU's coverage of midnight madness will span fours hours and will kick off at 6 PM pacific. Gonzaga will begin their festivities at 6:30 PM. Doors will open to the public at 5:30 and this event is completely first come, first serve. I'm sure the lines will begin to form early and grow exponentially so get out there early if you want to cram into the 6,000 seat McCarthy Athletic Center.
Events likely to take place will be the usual dunk contests and scrimmages. I can't attest to what happened last season but former Gonzaga point guard Jeremy Pargo seemed to thrive at these events in the past so we'll see if this team has as much fun with this event as he and the rest of his group did a few years ago.
There are so many things I am exciting about seeing on this 2010-11 edition of the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Friday night will be nothing more than a spectacle but it will be great to see the team back in action. The hype for this team is huge once again as top 10-15 talk is becoming a perennial thing in Spokane. With a front line that should be one of the most dominant in the country, you can bet a lot of eyes will be on redshirt freshman Sam Dower and sophomore Kelly Olynyk. Along with Elias Harris and Rob Sacre, those two are expected by many to be huge contributors this season.
For me, the best will be viewing the reactions of Gonzaga's newcomers to The Kennel. There aren't many environments better for basketball than the one in the Inland Northwest and I expect it to be absolutely rocking come Friday!
For a second straight year, Max and I will be unable to attend so we expect a number of first-hand reports from everyone here! Just a few more days!