It’s hard to believe that we’ve crossed off the final home game of the season. It has been a journey of a campaign, but this team has demonstrated growth as it has battled the weight of expectations. There’s not a lot of evaluation to be taken out of this game, but there is a lot of celebration to be had for the careers of the seniors who took the floor for the last time in the Kennel.
- It was fitting that this game started with Drew Timme tipping the ball to Anton Watson, and then Timme feeding the ball to Watson under the rim for a layup on the opening possession. Those guys arrived together four years ago and have grown up with one another over the years. Their understanding and comfort with one another has been on display all season, and we got to enjoy it once again tonight. There won’t be too many more opportunities to see them play together, but it was fun to watch them do their thing as a duo one last time in the Kennel.
- After typing out the above, I’m in even more disbelief that Timme didn’t win the WCC Player of the Year award outright and that Watson didn’t make the all-conference team. Brandin Podziemski is sensational, so this is no dig at him, but Timme has been incredible this season and carried this Gonzaga team.
- Rasir Bolton was meant to find his way to Spokane and be a Zag. He surpassed every expectation as a player and a man that the coaching staff and fans could have had for him when he transferred to Gonzaga from Iowa State, and he has been a blessing to the Spokane community. His three to close out the first half was a great exclamation point for his senior night and his basketball career with Gonzaga, but I’m sure he’s not done with Spokane.
- Fresh off his WCC 6th Man of the Year Award, Malachi Smith got the start for Senior Night and showed why it would be huge for the Zags to get him back for another year next season if he’s interested in returning.
- He’s not a senior, but there’s a good chance this was Julian Strawther’s last home game in the Kennel as well. He put himself firmly on the NBA radar last summer with his combine performance and has only helped his professional prospects this season, and particularly with the elevation in his game over the last month.
- That Hunter Sallis dunk in the first half. My god. I can’t wait to watch him play an even bigger role next season. We know what he can do on defense, but I’m excited to see what kind of offensive leap he can take. He’s done a nice job of taking on the backup ballhandling duties over the last few weeks, and his physical talents in that role legitimately changed the complexion of Gonzaga’s offense at times.
- Dom Harris is one of the most interesting question marks on this team. He’s clearly talented, but circumstances just haven’t come together for him so far to carve out any type of meaningful role. It will be interesting to see how his future unfolds in the coming months.
- Anton Watson embodies what it is to be a Zag through his quiet excellence and his unceasing unselfishness. It’s a shame how many people don’t appreciate how good he is, but if you’ve watched Gonzaga for any amount of time this season you understand just how elite he is in his role. I appreciate him for giving us that lob to Julian Strawther to watch on a loop for the rest of the
- I have written a lot of words about Drew Timme over the last four years. It has been a joy to cover his Gonzaga career and document the way he plays the game. His ability is self-evident, but my favorite part about watching him was to take in the way he enjoys himself on the floor and admire how he gave himself permission to be himself at all times.
- We need to get 8 more games out of this group.