NCAA BK

No. 1 Gonzaga goes back to work

Share This Story

   
 

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)

Gonzaga is the first team outside of the six major conferences to be ranked No. 1 since Memphis in 2007-08.

You wouldn't guess that was the case as the Bulldogs prepared to practice Tuesday for the first time since making program history a day earlier with its first No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press' Top 25.

The players casually shot around. No special banners hung in The Kennel. There was no flood of extra media, no glad-handing boosters.

It was business as usual for a program that has won 80 percent of its games since the turn of the century.

''This team's pretty grounded,'' coach Mark Few said. ''We all understand we've got a lot of work left to do. We've had some fun with it, but the ranking is not going to score any baskets or block any shots.'

''Our greatest motivator is we want to keep playing together as long as we can.''

Few tried to keep things normal when the poll came out Monday. He gave his team the day off and went fishing. He declined to say if he caught anything.

''We hadn't had one in forever,'' Few said of the day off. ''Everybody needed to get away from basketball.''

FOXIEST FANS

Check out the FOXiest fans from arenas across the country and tweet us your photo.

There was some news Tuesday.

Center Kelly Olynyk was named the West Coast Conference player of the year, after averaging 17 points and nearly 7 rebounds per game.

''It's a huge honor,'' said Olynyk, a junior who took a rare mid-career redshirt season last year to improve his body and his game.

A 7-footer from Kamloops, British Columbia, Olynyk is a major reason the Zags have the nation's best Division I record (29-2) and won all 16 games in the WCC.

''It's more of a team thing for us,'' Olynyk said after becoming the 11th Gonzaga player to win the award. ''They could have picked anybody.''

''He's really made huge strides physically and mentally,'' Few said of Olynyk, who shot 66 percent from the field in conference games.

Forward Elias Harris and guard Kevin Pangos joined Olynyk on the all-conference team. Guard Mike Hart was selected the league's defender of the year and Few was named coach of the year for the ninth time in 14 seasons.


Get more college basketball news and features from Scout.com or check out your favorite team.

By winning the WCC regular season title, Gonzaga earned a bye into Saturday's semifinals of the league tournament in Las Vegas.

The Zags aren't taking the conference championships lightly, especially after losing the title game last year to Saint Mary's. And they hear the critics who contend the Zags don't deserve a top ranking because of their soft conference schedule.

''We know our league is tough,'' Hart said. ''The upper half is very solid.''

''If we're No. 1 for a week and lose it in the (conference) tournament, nobody is going to remember that,'' guard Gary Bell Jr. said. ''We've got to maintain No. 1.''

''We have a mature team,'' Bell added. ''We're ready for this.''

Harris, the senior forward who averaged more than 14 points and 7 rebounds per game, believes Gonzaga still has to earn national respect.

''Deep inside we have to keep in mind we're still going to be the underdog,'' Harris said after the Zags beat Portland last Saturday. ''People aren't going to look at us like a Duke or North Carolina or a Kentucky.'

CHEERS!

They're part of the magic every season. Enjoy our photo-gallery tribute to college basketball cheerleaders.

''People, for some reason, still think Gonzaga is a Cinderella story.''

Harris stood by that statement on Tuesday, saying the onus is still on Gonzaga to prove it deserves a top ranking.

''We need to come out and play hard and get the respect we deserve,'' Harris said.

Hart said all of the games from now on are basically win or go home.

''That should take some of the pressure off because everyone is in the same position,'' he said.

Tagged: Gonzaga, Mike Hart, Elias Harris, Kelly Olynyk

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..