The Gonzaga players aren’t the only ones getting some love for awards, as Mark Few was named a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award along with nine other coaches.
Naismith Coach of the Year Semifinalists
|Chris Collins||Northwestern||Big Ten||21-9|
|Scott Drew||Baylor||Big 12||24-6|
|Bob Huggins||West Virginia||Big 12||23-7|
|Tim Jankovich||SMU||American Athletic||26-4|
|Sean Miller||Arizona||Pac 12||26-4|
|Bill Self||Kansas||Big 12||27-3|
|Jay Wright||Villanova||Big East||27-3|
My initial impressions of this group are that the wrong Pitino is in there—Richard Pitino’s done a nice job turning around the Minnesota program—and Butler’s Chris Holtmann got snubbed. The rest of the group has done a fine job but I have to believe that Mark Few is a front-runner to win, all bias aside.
The Zags get dinged for playing in the WCC, and it’s likely that this argument will get extended to Few’s candidacy when the time comes for those discussions. But, you can’t argue with the results that Few has gotten out of the team this year.
With a group that only had one returning starter (Perkins, and not counting Karnowski’s injury situation), and lost a majority of its scoring from last season, Few guided the Zags to a one-loss regular season and a #1 ranking for four weeks. He was able to introduce three transfers into the starting lineup while also relying heavily on two freshmen in the rotation. Despite all the turnover, Gonzaga sits atop the KenPom rankings and is in the Top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Even though this is technically an individual award, it also can’t be won without the work of all the assistant coaches on staff. Should Mark Few win it, it would also be a win for Tommy Lloyd, Donny Daniels, Brian Michaelson and company. The assistants aren’t the face of the program, but they do a lot of the work that has helped Gonzaga become a consistent power.
It is easy to take Gonzaga’s success for granted, but Mark Few should be recognized for the job he and his coaching staff have done this year. When it’s time to name the National Coach of the Year, it should be Few that gets the call.