• Mark Few hopes to continue playing BYU yearly after they move to Big 12

    Mark Few hopes to continue playing BYU yearly after they move to Big 12

    The WCC is going to look different after the 2022-23 season, with BYU departing for the greener($) pastures of the Big 12.

    While BYU hasn’t won a WCC championship, the last decade brought heated matchups, an unmatched road environment, and multiple NCAA Tournament appearances to the conference.

    Gonzaga coach Mark Few was quick to praise BYU for not only finding a new home in the Big 12, but for what they brought to the WCC since joining in 2011.

    “My first thoughts are happy for them, they found a great landing spot,” Mark Few told reporters, including Jim Meehan of the Spokesman-Review. “Their effect on the league has been huge. It’s one of the greatest things we’ve done as a league in the 30-plus years I’ve been in it. They’re a national program and they act like a national program. Their game day is as good as anybody’s, and we’ve been everywhere.”

    “It’s been a healthy rivalry with some phenomenal games and different characters involved over the years, highly competitive,” Few continued. “I’m sure we’ll continue to play in some fashion or form moving forward.”

    BYU never quite got back to the high level of success they had with Jimmer Fredette. They still made four NCAA Tournament appearances while in the WCC however, and they could make a fifth with a strong season in 22-23.

    They also went 8-5 in five NIT appearances, losing in the semifinals in both 2013 (to Baylor) and 2016 (to Valparaiso).

    The big part of the story is Few’s willingness to continue playing BYU as part of Gonzaga’s non-conference slate. BYU head coach Mark Pope echoed Few’s sentiments about keeping the game going, although he acknowledged BYU will have to reevaluate how they go about creating a non-conference schedule after moving to the Big 12.

    “Anytime you have a chance to play Gonzaga, it’s awesome,” Pope said. “On a personal level, coach Few has been so generous and gracious to me as a coach trying to figure out this profession. Yeah, we love that game and love to have that game continue. I’m not sure the Zags are having a tough time getting games right now.”

    Gonzaga will face BYU at least twice this season, once in Provo on January 12 and again in Spokane on February 11.

  • Andrew Nembhard drops 15 and 9 in first NBA preseason home game

    Andrew Nembhard drops 15 and 9 in first NBA preseason home game

    Chet Holmgren’s season-ending foot injury means Gonzaga fans have one NBA rookie, Pacers point guard Andrew Nembhard, to root for.

    Fortunately, Nembhard solidified himself in Indiana’s rotation following an outstanding performance on Wednesday against the Knicks.

    Making his home debut, Nembhard dropped 15 points with nine assists, four rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

    Nembhard had 13 of his 15 points in the final quarter, showcasing an array of outside shooting, pick and roll production, and skip passing.

    Tyrese Haliburton did not suit up for the Pacers, allowing Nembhard an opportunity to play with some of Indiana’s regulars.

    Nembhard’s job security hasn’t been in question since he secured a record-breaking guaranteed contract this summer. His spot in the rotation wasn’t guaranteed though – which is why performances like this are critical in the preseason.

    Alongside Benn Mathurin (Arizona) and Chris Duarte (Oregon) this Indiana team will have a strong contingency of west coast hoopers, even after shipping Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento last season.

  • Courtney Vandersloot will not join Sopron for the 2022-23 EuroLeague season for ‘personal reasons’

    Courtney Vandersloot will not join Sopron for the 2022-23 EuroLeague season for ‘personal reasons’

    Former Gonzaga point guard Courtney Vandersloot will not be joining Sopron for the upcoming EuroLeague women’s basketball season, according to a release by the club.

    The club acknowledged an ongoing energy crisis in Hungary, which has caused facility issues. However, the primary reason for Vandersloot’s absence is cited as ‘personal reasons’.

    Using google translate (which often loses context and or nuance) the article said as follows:

    “Our worries are topped by the fact that Courtney Vandersloot, due to personal reasons, will definitely not be able to fulfill the terms of her contract within the foreseeable future and will not be able to strengthen the ranks of our team.”

    Without more context it’s tough to know what the full story is here. After an 11-year career in Chicago, which included a championship for the Sky, Vandersloot is heading into WNBA free agency.

    Perhaps the wear and tear of another full year of hoops, between EuroLeague and the WNBA, has caught up to Vandersloot – who battled concussion issues during the regular season.

    Perhaps her impending free agency has her taking time away from playing overseas. Perhaps Brittney Griner’s legal troubles in Russia, which Sloot has openly talked about, is a deterrent for playing overseas.

    It could be some combination of everything, or it could be something else entirely. All we know now is that Vandersloot will not suit up for Sopron for the foreseeable future.

    More on this story as it develops.

  • 5 key takeaways from Gonzaga’s Kraziness in the Kennel scrimmage

    5 key takeaways from Gonzaga’s Kraziness in the Kennel scrimmage

    On Saturday afternoon, mere minutes after the Seattle Mariners completed one of the most improbable comebacks in playoff baseball history, the 2022-23 Gonzaga Bulldogs took the court at the McCarthey Athletic Center for the first time in front of a packed house.

    This year’s Kraziness in the Kennel did not feature a dunk contest, as has been a staple in the past, but there was still a skills challenge (won by Julian Strawther) and three-point shootout (won by Rasir Bolton) and a 20 minute scrimmage for fans to see this unit in action.

    While it’s hard to glean too much from a scrimmage clearly designed as a fan spectacle rather than a serious practice, it’s always good to see how guys look after a summer away from the team. Hearing from the coaches, including Mark Few and Brian Michaelson, is helpful as well as it gives some clues about how guys might be deployed this upcoming year.

    Taking any serious analysis with a grain of salt, these were my five takeaways from the 20 minute scrimmage. Audio analysis is available at Locked on Zags, with a link to the episode below:

    Ben Gregg is going to have a role this season

    Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    ‘Coach-speak’ is a term used often by reporters to see through the BS coaches say that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. When coaches are specifically asked about players, often a mundane, predictable answer is labeled ‘coach-speak’.

    However, when coaches go out of their way to praise a player, it’s often worth paying attention to. Brian Michaelson raved about the work Ben Gregg put in this offseason, getting faster, stronger, and bigger while elevating his game offensively and defensively.

    It’s hard to see an obvious role for Gregg this year, with Drew Timme, Anton Watson, and Efton Reid soaking up most of the minutes up front, and Julian Strawther likely playing the four. However, Michaelson made it clear he has taken big strides, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the former top-90 recruit start to make waves this season.

    Colby Brooks looks like a potential contributor

    Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    I’d be very surprised if we see Colby Brooks play any minutes before the final ten minutes of a game this season, but his performance on Saturday is worth mentioning. Brooks drew the start for the White team opposite Julian Strawther, playing all 20 minutes and scoring eight points with three rebounds and an assist. He was a perfect 3-3 from the field.

    Brooks is not your typical Gonzaga walk-on, playing AAU ball in the Los Angeles area and putting together a decorated high school career. He’s been on the bench for each of the past two years, giving way to Will Graves and Matthew Lang, but now it is his turn to play toward the end of Gonzaga blowouts – and I think people will like what they see.

    Drew Timme added to his bag

    Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    Timme only played 12 minutes during Kraziness, but he managed nine points on 4-5 shooting, including 1-2 from deep. Hitting his first three was certainly a welcome sight for Gonzaga fans (and NBA draft analysts) who have been hoping to see that element of his game.

    Beyond that, Timme displayed a nice array of post moves, including a step-back on the block, where he nailed a contested jumper over the very large Efton Reid. Timme’s footwork around the rim has always been spectacular, but if he now has a consistent midrange game – with the kind of footwork necessary to get his shot off – he’s going to be even more dangerous.

    And if that three point shot is here to stay, look out.

    Nolan Hickman’s outside shot is much improved

    Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    Hickman dropped 11 points in about 19 minutes of action on Saturday, second only to Strawther for either side. He went 4-4 from the field and 3-3 from deep, tacking on an assist and a steal for good measure.

    Hickman is a crucial hinge for this program’s success this season, and if he is able to be a reliable knockdown shooter and distributor this team has a sky-high ceiling. Saturday’s showing was a good start.

    Braden Huff isn’t ready (and that’s okay)

    Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

    Gonzaga only had one scholarship freshman getting his first opportunity to don a Gonzaga uniform in the Kennel, forward Braden Huff.

    Huff participated in the skills competition but struggled to knock down both the free throw and the three point shot. Putting that performance aside, Huff also played just about half the scrimmage game, but went 0-1 from the field and 0-2 from the free throw line. He did pick up three rebounds, a block, and a steal, while also turning the ball over twice.

    Huff is not going to be asked to contribute much this season, we knew that long before this scrimmage took place. With Ben Gregg seeming to solidify himself as the fourth big (not counting Strawther) it pushes Kaden Perry into the No. 5 role and Huff all the way down at six, where most of his minutes will come in garbage time if he does not redshirt entirely.

    None of this is alarming, or particularly surprising, as Huff is seen as a development piece in a system that develops bigs as good or better than any other team in the country. Huff will have to wait his turn, but the payoff could be huge.

  • Gonzaga hosts 2025 4-star wing Nik Khamenia during Kraziness in the Kennel

    Gonzaga hosts 2025 4-star wing Nik Khamenia during Kraziness in the Kennel

    The Gonzaga Bulldogs hosted 4-star wing prospect Nik Khamenia on an unofficial visit this past weekend.

    The 65th ranked player in the class of 2025, per 247Sports rankings, Khamenia is a sophomore at Harvard Westlake High School in Studio City, California.

    Hs currently plays with BTI Hoops, the same AAU squad Zag walk-on Colby Brooks played with in high school.

    Although photographed with Brooks above, Khamenia sat with 2023 commit Dusty Stromer and his father during the Kraziness in the Kennel festivities. With no one currently on the squad likely to be around in 2025, Stromer is a logical neighbor to game watch with – even if he too could be out the door by then.

    Khamenia stands 6’7 and is 180 pounds, although he still has two years to grow until he’ll be on a college campus. Stanford, Nebraska, and Southern Utah have offers on the table, and presumably this list will grow quite a bit in the next 18 months.

  • Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward honors Rasir Bolton for charity work

    Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward honors Rasir Bolton for charity work

    There was a moment of recognition for Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton at Kraziness in the Kennel on Saturday, celebrating his work in the Spokane community.

    Mayor Nadine Woodward presented Bolton with a certificate from the City of Spokane during the festivities.

    Bolton grad transferred and joined the Zags out of Iowa State last season. He immediately got to work alongside Rick Clark, the founder of Giving Back Packs – a charitable organization dedicated to providing necessities to the homeless population in Spokane.

    Bolton used his ability to earn money through NIL to give back to the community, highlighting one of the many positive outcomes NIL has to offer.

    Bolton averaged 11.2 points on 46% shooting from three last season, and he will be a big part of Gonzaga’s rotation this year.

    Another year in Spokane is great for Mark Few and the Zags. More importantly, it will help a community of people who desperately need it.

  • Dominick Harris announces he is cleared to return to full contact practices

    Dominick Harris announces he is cleared to return to full contact practices

    “Zagday, now enjoy tha show”.

    Dominick Harris tweeted that on Saturday before Kraziness in the Kennel – accompanied by a note where he announced he is cleared and will begin participating in full-contract practices on Monday.

    “Zag Nation, once I get a solid month of practice with the guys, I will get my basketball legs beneath me then I will be ready to contribute to our winning culture this season,” Harris wrote, before thanking his coaches and support staff, along with the fans for sticking with him.

    Harris was the first member of the infamous ‘Tricky Trio’ to commit to Gonzaga, helping to convince Julian Strawther and Jalen Suggs to come to Spokane.

    Harris played sparingly as a freshman in 20-21, averaging three points, 0.7 rebounds, and 0.4 assists in 7.2 minutes of action across 25 contests.

    Harris shot 39.1% from deep and played above average defense in his limited sample size, setting up big expectations for his future.

    Unfortunately, Harris suffered a foot injury before the 21-22 season, and although he neared a return by the end of the year he ultimately sat out for the entire season.

    While the junior guard did not participate in the Kraziness in the Kennel festivities, all signs point to him being available for the Zags when the season gets started in early November.

  • Former Gonzaga pitcher Eli Morgan records four crucial outs as Cleveland advances to ALDS

    Former Gonzaga pitcher Eli Morgan records four crucial outs as Cleveland advances to ALDS

    The Cleveland Guardians advanced to the ALDS after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, winning 1-0 in 15 innings.

    The wildly low-scoring affair featured an excellent performance from former Gonzaga pitcher Eli Morgan.

    Morgan entered the game in the tenth inning with a runner on third base. He promptly procured a lineout from catcher Francisco Mejia to end the threat. Morgan came out for the 11th inning, retiring Jose Siri on a flyout before striking out Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco.

    Cleveland ultimately won the game in the bottom of the 15th inning when Oscar Gonzalez led off the inning with a walk off home run.

    Morgan was one of three Zags in the big leagues this season, alongside Seattle’s Marco Gonzales and San Francisco’s Taylor Jones.

    Morgan made 18 starts for the Guardians as rookie in 2021, but transitioned into a bullpen role in 2022. He made 50 appearances, throwing 66.2 innings and posting a 5-3 record with a 3.38 ERA (2.90 WHIP) along with an outstanding 28.1% strikeout rate and an equally impressive 5.1% walk rate.

    While Gonzales has yet to pitch for the Mariners in the playoffs, he’s likely going to play a role at some point if the team is able to advance to the ALDS. If so, perhaps a Morgan vs. Gonzales Zag matchup will take place – a very cool moment made even better by the playoff atmosphere.

  • Jalen Suggs suffered left knee capsule sprain in NBA preseason, out indefinitely

    Jalen Suggs suffered left knee capsule sprain in NBA preseason, out indefinitely

    Former Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs exited Friday’s preseason game unable to put any weight on his left leg, leading fans to fear the worst.

    Fortunately for Suggs, X-rays on the knee came back negative. Suggs then received an MRI, and the results aren’t quite as bad as they seemed. The second year guard suffered a left knee capsule sprain and a bone bruise.

    The team revealed the results of Suggs MRI Saturday morning, indicating his return to the court will be dependent on how his body responds to treatment. There is no timetable for his return at the moment.

    Suggs suffered the injury after colliding with Dorian Finney-Smith, a collision caused by a push from Spencer Dinwiddie.

    Suggs only appeared in 48 games as a rookie thanks to multiple injuries, including a fractured thumb, a right ankle sprain, and a slight stress fracture which led to surgery after the season.

    Now he’ll be out for another extended period of time, joining former high school teammate Chet Holmgren on the sideline for at least the start of the 2022-23 NBA season.

  • See where Kevin Pangos and other WCC alumni appear on EuroHoops top 50 EuroLeague players list

    See where Kevin Pangos and other WCC alumni appear on EuroHoops top 50 EuroLeague players list

    Every year the folks over at EuroHoops rank the best players ahead of the upcoming EuroLeague season. This year they decided to cut the list from 100 to 50, tightening things up while still celebrating a large swath of talented stars in one of the best basketball leagues on the planet.

    A trio of former WCC stars, including Gonzaga alumni Kevin Pangos, were included on the list. The list is calculated using last year’s PIR (Performance Index Rating) as well as consultations with writers and editors across Europe.

    Pangos came in at No. 12 overall, narrowly missing out on a top ten finish. From the article:

    His NBA tenure was short, and his return to Europe with CSKA never happened, so for sure Kevin Pangos is hungry for basketball and he was added to Milan with the goal of at least a Final Four return. If he is in Zenit form, that’s more than doable.


    Pangos averaged 10.7 points and 6.4 assists in 20 games with Zenit in 20-21, a stretch in which his team went a blistering 17-3. His NBA career was short lived after that, and now he is back in the EuroLeague with Milano.

    An injury kept him out of preseason action, but Pangos returned and scored nine points with four assists in 15 minutes in the first game of the season.

    Elsewhere on the list, former Portland Pilots big man Luke Sikma came in at No. 43 overall. Now in his sixth season with Alba Berlin in Germany, Sikma has continually averaged in double figures, while leading Berlin to a 119-27 record in that time.

    BYU alumni Brandon Davies comes in at No. 34 on the list. After three straight years with F.C. Barcelona, Davies is now teammates with Pangos in Milano. He scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds in his first game of the season, and should be in line for a big year on a team loaded with WCC talent.