“College Basketball-What a Run”
I sat across the court at Viejas Arena and saw the old ball coach and his wife, as they looked out not he court bearing his name.
What a special man, what a special time, Steve Fisher brought to San Diego State basketball.
And tonite on that same court, we see another special team come to town, Gonzaga has experienced.
It is amazing that this small Catholic school, in the out of the way place, Spokane, has become a national power.
Coach Don Monson seemed to start it. And for 19-years Mark Few has continued it.
Oh there were names in the past that were special, but the Zags were never a national power. They are now.
Maybe it started with guard John Stockton, as competitive a player as you would ever meet. A fierce person. A classy guy. And the greatest Utah Jazz ever, the small guy playing big against the NBA bigs.
So many good individual names followed. Big man Ronnie Turiaf….floor general guard Dan Dickau…..pivotman Kelly Olynyk….Adam Morrison, a great shooter.
It does not matter they did little in the NBA, it’s what they did, and did so well wearing Bulldog colors.
A star player drove everyone around them to be great.
Last year, big man Damontis Sabots, came from Lithuania, and became the cornerstone of a great team.
Now lots of the firepower around that team returns, with Sabonis having moved on to the NBA.
6-9 Jon Williams…guard Josh Perkins…and a host of underclassmen who shoot the lights out.
The Zags hit 50% of their shots. They shoot threes all night. They have already beaten Washington, Texas, Ohio State and Creighton. They lost to Florida in overtime, and were beaten by nationally ranked Villanova.
The Zags play anyone, anytime, anywhere, in conference, and out of conference. The tradition and reputation they have developed is immense.
Gonzaga has been a big time player in recruiting in Europe, and now in the Pacific rim.
This year’s team has players from France, Denmark and Japan, plus five star recruits from the West Coast, and an occasional Division 1-transfer.
Spokane has little to offer prospective recruits, unless you like hot summers, cold-snowy winters, and lots of farmlands.
And yet Few has a career record of (513-115), and has turned down all overtures to leave for the big time.
If you thought the accomplishments of Steve Fisher were special, then think about what is going on in the Pacific Northwest, where they have gone to the Championship game, the final four, the Elite Eight and the Sweet 16.
College basketball, what a run, with the Aztecs, and what a run with the Zags.
Sitting courtside with Steve Fisher tonight, a chance to see ‘greatness’ wearing the other colors.