I was travelig last week and missed Gonzaga’s games against Portland and USF, so I’m really feeling the itch to see the Zags get back in action. Until then, however, I’ll settle for reading.
- With a home game against BYU on the schedule this weekend, the Gonzaga administration is taking a more proactive approach to discourage students from wearing outfits in The Kennel that poke fun at Mormon Missionaries. Collegiate sports is rife with students needling visiting teams, and at least some of BYU’s players have expressed that they take no offense to the practice, but you can understand where the Gonzaga administration is coming from. It probably shouldn’t have taken the presence of Jesse Wade to serve as a catalyst for discontinuing the practice, either. His father posted his thoughts on the issue in response to the news.
With the BYU-Gonzaga basketball game coming up this Saturday in Spokane, The Gonzaga Bulletin, a student-run weekly newspaper reported “Gonzaga administration calling on students to rethink Mormon missionary costumes at BYU game. (Link to article in my bio)” The article further goes on to say “While talks of change have been happening for seven years, Colleen Vanderboom, Assistant Dean of Student Involvement and Leadership, admits that having Jesse Wade, a member of the LDS Church who went on a mission last year, joining the men’s basketball team was a catalyst for action.” “When we learned that Wade had been recruited to come here, we had to be legit. Like OK, we have been talking about it enough and now, not only is it embarrassing, but it’s like, really? He’s one of our community members.” As a family, we have seen students dressing up as mormon missionaries to mock the missionary program of the church at many different schools, Gonzaga included, and even though it doesn’t bother or offend us, we wish it wouldn’t happen. Seeing the Gonzaga administration and Gonzaga Kennel Club re-emphasizing this now means a lot to us and gives us just one more reason to be proud to be a part of the Zag family. We are proud of Jesse for dedicating two years of his life to serve as a missionary for the church in France, and I am grateful for the two years I served my mission in Sydney, Australia. We are grateful to the nearly 70,000 missionaries worldwide currently serving, as well as the many more who have served missions in the past. #GoZags #UnitedWeZag #ZagNation #MormonZag
- It’s easy for coaches to miss out on enjoying the achievement of making a Final Four, but not Mark Few who made sure to share the moment with his players, friends, and family who have shared and contributed to the journey along the way.
- Vince Grippi of The Spokesman-Review wrote in his column last week that Gonzaga still outclasses the rest of the WCC despite the opportunities (wealth) it has brought to the conference that should have enabled progress for each basketball program.
- Gonzaga continues to slide in Jeff Borzello’s college basketball power rankings over at ESPN in light of its less-than-convincing play despite returning to winning ways after the loss to SMC.
- It still feels ridiculously early to start looking at Bracketology, but with the calendar about to flip to February, I’ll start peeking to see where the “experts” place the Zags. With that said, in his most recent iteration (1/29/18) Joe Lunardi has Gonzaga as a 7-seed against No. 10 Marquette (with a possible matchup against No. 2 Michigan State) that would be played in Pittsburgh as part of the South region. Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation has Gonzaga as an 8-seed in its much more natural West Region to play Nevada in the first round, with a potential matchup against Kansas in the second. Stewart Mandel of The Athletic has Gonzaga at No. 6 in the Midwest Region against Middle Tennessee, with a juicy matchup against Oklahoma and Player of the Year favorite Trae Young in the second round.
- The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie published his Top 100 NBA Draft prospects and lists Killian Tillie at #26 and Johnathan Williams at #88. I think those are fair spots for each player, but I find it very surprising that Rui Hachimura didn’t make the cut.
- Jill Barta was named as one of 10 finalists for the inaugural Cheryl Miller award that will be awarded annually to the top small forward in Division I women’s basketball. The winner will be announced on March 30.
- For the last few years, Mark Few has taken part in the Coaches Charity Challenge (vote here) in his representation of the Community Cancer Fund. If Few wins, $100,000 is donated to the Community Cancer Fund which will help local people in Spokane in their fight against cancer. I encourage you all to vote as it’s easy and helps out a great cause.