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bauman

If Gonzaga can do it, can SLU?

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Posted (edited)

I am not associated with The Athletic but I do subscribe to it.  I just finished an article on the growth of the Zags program which I  hope C May and T Ford would read.  While Spokane is much smaller than the STL area, there are a number of similarities between SLU and Gonzaga sports/basketball, that make the article great reading for Billiken fans.

-Gonzaga is the little engine (mid-level conference) in a state with a big engine (U of Washington-PAC 12) much the same as SLU relative to Mizzou and/or Illinois

-Both GU and SLU endured such hard times that they considered downsizing or eliminating their MBB programs, but instead took steps to upgrade the MBB program

-Both schools relied heavily on a major donor to build their upgraded BB arenas.

In addition, there are a few items that I hope will prove to be similar:

-A highly successful MBB program can have a significant impact on University finances, especially if the team/program is funded properly

-if SLU can approach the Zags success I would hope that our HC would do as the Zags HC did, that is, turning down a much bigger and well known University's HC offer, especially if the HC offer is from the offeree's alma mater.  (Few turned down Oregon)  It seems Few is content to be associated with an outstanding MBB program at a smallish-Jesuit University in an area in which he enjoys living.

-GU has been successful primarily recruiting 3* players in the USA,  who come in with the right attitude-few, if any 4-5 * signees

 

-Due to the size of Spokane, Gonzaga found it needed a recruiting niche and that became recruiting internationals.  I would hope at some point in the next few years that we can establish our niche as top players in the STL Metro area.  I know we have some of those but we are still missing on many of the top local recruits.  I want to get to where they are asking to come to SLU. I do understand that we will never get all of the top locals we pursue, but I think we need to consistently get one or two of the top three locals who qualify.  "If you can't dream it you will never do it"

 

All in all, a very interesting read on how to turn a top 100-150 level program into a perennial top 20 team.

Edited by bauman
to correct a misstatement-I really meant smaller

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6 minutes ago, bauman said:

While Spokane is much larger than the STL area, there are a number of similarities between SLU and Gonzaga sports/basketball, that make the article great reading for Billiken fans.

How in the world is Spokane larger than St. Louis? I suppose if you were to compare Spokane's metro/combined statistical area metrics to St. Louis City proper's population, but in terms of total metro area St. Louis dwarfs Spokane. 

Gonzaga is the standard, perhaps below only Villanova, in terms of program stability at non-football schools, even over Xavier, no one is debating that and trying to emulate their success is old news, I don't want to sound prickish or dismissive but its not a new idea at all. And while I have been May's harshest critic often, even I am sure he has looked into figuring out ways we can replicate their success. 

If Gonzaga is proof of anything, its that the weight of the coach on the success of the program is massive, Few powered this, and he deserves all the praise he received. You can build the arena, but as we've painfully seen, the wrong coach can set it all ablaze, I think Ford is that guy right now beyond a doubt. 

STL vs Spokane.JPG

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and here I am just hoping to make the NCAAs in 2 outta 3 years (next season!) without another nauseating off-the-court incident. but yea sure, let's be the next gonzaga

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When you have been struggling not to be at the very bottom, as we were during Ford's first season, the only way to go is up. I like this, let's make it a habit and continue going up.

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It's really about the coach and the tradition he establishes. Few succeeded Munson, who really created Zaga's giant killer rep in the NCAAs. Few stepped and kept it going. You're a recruit and keep seeing the Zags in the dance they become appealing. Plus they play in a relatively weak conference which is easy to win and get in the dance. 

I am envious of their history of getting good internationals. I wish we could. But still the key is the consistent HC. We haven't done that. If Travis really loves St Louis and we keep him content, then maybe we can be a Zaga. 

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2 hours ago, slu72 said:

 

I am envious of their history of getting good internationals. I wish we could. But still the key is the consistent HC. We haven't done that. If Travis really loves St Louis and we keep him content, then maybe we can be a Zaga. 

We did w Harriman. It can be done again 

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Fun fact, Mark Few joined the Gonzaga coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 1989 was promoted to full time assistant the following year (Dan Monson was already an assistant on Gonzaga's staff and helped him get the job). 4 years later Gonzaga made its first post-season appearance (1994 NIT), then its first NCAA tournament in 1995. I give Dan Monson a lot of credit for the 1999 Elite 8, but given the remainder of his career after I think probably the best business decision he ever made was convincing his friend to come work with him. As much credit as Mark Few is given, I actually think he is underrated. 

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For nearly 20 years, I've watched as Few's best players consistently made a leap in production from their freshmen to their sophomore years.  This was true even when his players weren't ranked in the top 150.   His track record for player development is incredible.  Only a handful of college basketball coaches are really good at player development and he is one of them.

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40 minutes ago, 3star_recruit said:

For nearly 20 years, I've watched as Few's best players consistently made a leap in production from their freshmen to their sophomore years.  This was true even when his players weren't ranked in the top 150.   His track record for player development is incredible.  Only a handful of college basketball coaches are really good at player development and he is one of them.

Sounds like he managed to institute some kind of a Conklin summer for all his freshmen players after their first season. It might be interesting to find out what exactly did he have his players do during that first summer in the team.

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2 hours ago, Old guy said:

Sounds like he managed to institute some kind of a Conklin summer for all his freshmen players after their first season. It might be interesting to find out what exactly did he have his players do during that first summer in the team.

I know that kid Morrison who played there back around 2005 shot 500 3s a day. 

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