HBO's producers really couldn't have drawn it up better for themselves. When Gonzaga's HBO series premiered, the Zags were in the unusual position of chasing a tournament bid in February. The first three episodes were wrought with drama as it became increasingly clear the Zags would need to cut down the nets at the WCC Tournament in order to secure a spot in the tournament.
Like every great story, our heroes overcame the obstacles that threatened to derail their season, and came together to play their best when it mattered most. Because of this, we all got to enjoy HBO's finale as a sweet, sweet victory lap following the team's triumph in Vegas.
Even though I knew how the games would end, or maybe because I knew how the games would end, watching the cutups of the games against BYU and SMC gave me chills knowing that all the hard work put in by the guys would pay off. Seeing the emotions of each player as they came off the court in the WCC Championship to huge embraces from their coaches and teammates was special. It was awesome to be able to experience the celebration behind the scenes that we usually miss when the broadcast ends.
One of the big themes of this episode was how close this team was with one another. Most teams often say this, and it sometimes feels like lip service, but the inside access provided by HBO showed us that there's no doubting how much these guys love each other. Listening to Wiltj and Eric's speeches at the team banquet only served to confirm the sense of family and belonging that each player finds during their time in Spokane. There's something special going on in Spokane, and now the whole country (or those that have an HBO subscription) knows it.
This show could have gone terribly wrong, but now, it serves as one of the most enjoyable parts of a really fun season. Kudos to HBO for a really well done series, and for picking the Zags as the subject for their show. Double kudos to Liev Schreiber for correctly pronouncing Gonzaga all series long.
While the show ends this week, let's hope the Zags still have some more shenanigans left in them for this season.