2008 Gonzaga Bulldogs Basketball Preview
The Gonzaga Bulldogs (25- 8 overall, 13- 1 WCC) have been to the NCAA Tournament 10 years running. They always seem to be someone’s dark horse pick of the Big Dance but have yet to come through. The last two years the Bulldogs have lost in the first round. This season head coach Mark Few will utilize a deep and experienced roster.
The Zags lost their two top low-post defenders—David Pendergraft and Abdullahi Kuso. Together, they averaged 8.4 RPG. Senior forward Josh Heylvelt (20.6 MPG, 10.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.6 APG, 50.0 FG%, 66.0 FT%) will be asked to step up. Last season, the six-foot-eleven Heylvelt suffered through an injury filled season that caused his output to drop from 15.5 PPG to 10.3 PPG. This year, he returns healthy and ready to up his point production and rebounding numbers. Sophomore Austin Days (18.5 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 47.5 FG%, 88.1 FT%) is a NBA caliber player who possesses a smooth and accurate shot. At center, seven-foot-even sophomore Robert Sacre has potential and seven-foot-four junior Will Foster is an able shot blocker.
In the backcourt, senior Jeremy Pargo (33.9 MPG, 12.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 6.0 APG, 49.7 FG%, 67.8 FT%) is a playmaker who is simply tough to stop. He is the engine and foundation of a deep backcourt. Junior Matt Bouldin (32.0 MPG, 12. PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 46.2 FG%, 76.7 FT%) can hit from the perimeter and can also drive to the basket and score. He also possesses excellent passing skills. As a freshman last season, combo guard Steven Gray hit 37 of 80 three-point attempts (46%).
In last year’s NCAA Tournament, the Zags lost to Davidson
82- 76 in round one. This season, Gonzaga could go deep into the
tourney. The Sweet 16 looks to be certain and the Elite Eight is
reachable. Within the conference, the Bulldogs will see competition
from the Saint Mary’s Gaels and from a tough non-conference
schedule. But this Gonzaga team looks to be better than most and
should be able to hold its own in the regular- and post-season.