Summer used to be a total drag. Granted, the weather was nice and school was out. People are going on vacations left and right, but there was one huge thing missing: college sports. That fact is extra noticeable for Zag fans, due to the fact Gonzaga hasn’t had a football team since the 1940s. We can’t even root for recruiting even if we want to!
Luckily, a winner take all tournament, aptly named The Tournament, has taken hold, and is garnering a stronger and stronger foothold each year. This year, the stakes are $2 million, and the games are broadcast on WatchESPN. For the second consecutive years, a Gonzaga alum heavy team A Few Good Men is ready to take the hardwood this Saturday and represent the Spokane faithful.
What makes The Tournament extra cool is it often is a return to the court for many of our favorite alums, some of whom are coming out of retirement, where as others are coming back from overseas stints. A Few Good Men has a roster spanning quite a bit of time, so if you are new to the prospect of Gonzaga fandom, some of these names might not be known to you. Let’s rectify that.
Dan Dickau, 1998-2002
There is no excuse to not know who Dan Dickau is if you watch Gonzaga basketball, specifically because he is part of the local broadcast team for the games on ROOT Sports. Dickau was the O.G. transfer from Washington who came to Gonzaga to destroy the competition. He played his first two years at UW, then became one of the more prolific guards in school history. He was known just as much for his floppy hair cut as he was for his relentless ability to rain threes at the drop of the dime.
Dickau averaged 21 points per game, shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc, and was named a first team All American for his efforts. He was drafted with the No. 28 pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2002 NBA Draft.
Steven Gray, 2007-2011
Steven Gray will always be one of my favorite Zag alums, and the below video speaks volumes as to why.
He was definitely a character that had more than meets the stereotypical eye. On the basketball court, he will also go down as one of the more under-appreciated guards in school history. He had a crafty game, where he was a creative scorer on the drive and just as deadly from outside range. Gray has had enjoyed a successful post-Gonzaga career abroad, where he was the 2015 French League scoring champion, and last played for Lavrio B.C. in the Greece.
Mike Hart, 2009-2013
If you are just looking at the stats, you would take a look at Mike Hart and ask only one question—why him? The answer would be don’t just look at the stats when trying to figure out the story. Hart was the WCC Defensive Player of the Year his senior year, and impressive factor considering he wasn’t used much in his freshman through junior years.
While the Zags were charging off to their first No. 1 seed in school history behind the turnaround of Kelly Olynyk, there was one guy who was making waves in his own fashion. Hart was the ultimate glue guy, being named the captain of Seth Davis’ All Glue Guy Team in 2013. He had the highest offensive rating in the entire country that year, mainly because he took the second lowest percentage of his team’s shots that year, and he finished the year with a mere eight turnovers.
If there was a loose ball on the ground, Hart was on it. If there was a wild ball bouncing out of bounds, Hart was leaping after it. If there was a place for him to throw his body, he would. Hart is the epitome of the hustle and effort.
Jeremy Pargo, 2005-2009
There probably hasn’t been a more prolific dunker than Jeremy Pargo to play at Gonzaga. Despite standing at just 6’2, Pargo was one of the most fearless guards to step foot into The Kennel, driving daggers into the hearts of opponents everywhere.
Pargo hails from Chicago, and is one of the first big city kids the Zags were able to land as the recruiting evolved. He was a tough as nails competitor, and literally played his way into the NBA despite going undrafted after his senior year. All teams can use a player of Pargo’s tenacity and swagger, and he will add a healthy dose of athleticism to A Few Good Men.
Blake Stepp, 2000-2004
Blake Stepp sort of followed in the footsteps of Dickau, and although he generally isn’t as remembered as often as his predecessor, he is just as important to the Guard U notion as any other player before him. Stepp was a consecutive WCC Player of the Year his junior and senior years, averaging 18 and 14.6 points respectively. He is also known for playing his heart out in one of the greatest NCAA Tournament games the Zags have ever played in.
Stepp was drafted near the end of the second round of the 2004 draft, but he was never able to get his professional career off. He retired at the age of 24 due to chronic knee injuries.
The rest of the squad
As much as we want it to, the entire team can’t be full of Zags. So rounding out the squad is Jannero Pargo (Jeremy Pargo’s brother), San Diego State alum Malcolm Thomas, Texas A&M Corpus Christi winger Kevin Palmer, and University of Miami big man Kamari Murphy.