The Breakthrough: Its Cinderella days prolonged behind it, Gonzaga during final reaches Final Four

SAN JOSE, Calif. — It could have been ephemeral. The Gonzaga phenomenon—now on a approach to a first-ever Final Four—could have raged and faded in a camber of dual weeks of Mar 1999, as a No. 10 seed creation a second-ever outing to a NCAA tournament. An dissapoint of Minnesota, thereafter No. 2 Stanford, thereafter No. 5 Florida in a Sweet 16, with that classical Gus Johnson call after Casey Calvary’s tip in with 4.4 seconds left: “Shannon from a cornerrrr … and it’s over. Gonzaga! The slipper stillllll fits!” America’s new darlings were knocked out dual days later, their final, erring shot a driving, double-clutch layup by star ensure Matt Santangelo in a face of UConn’s front line in a Elite Eight. That off-season, their coach, Dan Monson, left Spokane for a major-conference pursuit during Minnesota—and that is how many Cinderella stories end, with a manager leaving, and a module vanishing behind into mid-major nowhere. But Mark Few, a thereafter 36-year-old partner who was promoted during Gonzaga, was unrelenting about one thing: “We didn’t wish to be a one-hit wonder.”


What he built, during first, was a Cinderella story that steady itself, with Sweet 16 runs in 2000 and 2001. But thereafter a module morphed into something else altogether, something so ubiquitous in March—with 19 loyal trips to a NCAA contest dating behind to ’99—that what Gonzaga was doing stopped being regarded as a strain and started being regarded as a doubt mark. As in: Could Few and a Zags ever mangle by to a Final Four? They were a fatal scoring appurtenance in 2006, though drowned in a reservoir of Adam Morrison’s tears in a Sweet 16. They looked prepared in 2013, as a No. 1 seed, usually to run into a Wichita State blitzkrieg of three-pointers in a second round. They knocked on a doorway in 2015, usually to be felled by contingent inhabitant champ Duke in a Elite Eight. Two years later, Few came into a deteriorate with maybe his deepest, though least-gelled roster—three major-conference transfers, Nigel Williams-Goss (from Washington), Jordan Mathews (Cal) and Johnathan Williams III (from Missouri) indispensable to adjust to obtuse roles—and built it into a group that started 29–0, and thereafter pushed Gonzaga’s module into a new chapter: that of a powerhouse on a margin of a inhabitant championship.

On Saturday night during a SAP Center, in a postgame jubilee of an 83–59, Elite Eight blowout of 11th-seeded Xavier, after all a other Zags had cut down their strands of net, Few climbed adult and unfastened a remainder. He thereafter incited his behind on a rim, pivoting on a tip step of a ladder so that he could face his team, fabricated inside a arc below. Two days earlier, a 18th-year Gonzaga conduct manager denied a existence of a monkey—insisted that he did not live with one on his back, did not need to strech a Final Four to be vindicated, and his wife, Marcy, station down there on a court, accurate that this was true, that even privately, “he positively does not get hold adult in that.”

But Few’s face, right then, belied how most he’d wanted it. The routinely forbidding manager was, for a initial time publicly in this 2017 NCAA tournament, beaming. He hold a net he’d only unfastened in his right hand, with that arm outstretched, and he incited his left palm upward, for emphasis, as he yelled a summary down to his players: “MIGHT AS WELL WIN IT!”

The Zags answered this matter with affirmations, and not in a demeanour of a group that believes it’s personification with residence income as it heads to a program’s initial inhabitant semifinal. The reality, for 36–1 Gonzaga, is that it entered this NCAA contest as any efficiency-based analytic model’s favorite to win it all, and 0 has altered as it heads to Glendale, Ariz., to face possibly Florida or South Carolina in a inhabitant semifinals, with Oregon and possibly North Carolina or Kentucky on a other side of a bracket. Gonzaga has an elite, rim-protecting invulnerability and a right brew of guards—with sophomore Josh Perkins and Williams-Goss and Mathews—to acquire dual some-more victories and a inhabitant title.

Santangelo, a former star-turned-Zags radio announcer, was operative courtside for Saturday’s diversion opposite Xavier, and in warmups, he looked on during a opposite chronicle of Gonzaga than he was a partial of in a 1999 Elite Eight. “We were a pristine Cinderella, with no support of reference, too naïve to know we weren’t ostensible to win,” Santangelo said. “This team—I’ve never seen them some-more gentle in their possess skin, feeling like they’re ostensible to do this.” He was looking during a group that was adored by 8.5 points and approaching to go to Phoenix—a group that, according to ensure Silas Melson, had been articulate about a Final Four “as shortly as we got together in September—that was a categorical goal.” Even progressing than that, in summer 2016, when Mathews was looking into graduate-transferring from Cal to a Zags, he texted Williams-Goss about a form of group they competence have, and a Final Four entered those discussions. “When we stepped feet on campus [this year],” Williams-Goss said, “we knew we had a pieces to do it.”

On Thursday in a Sweet 16, they had survived what Few described as an “absolute war” and a “rock fight” opposite No. 4 seed West (Press) Virginia, wanting a go-ahead three-pointer from Mathews with 1:08 left and a gritty, defensive stop by Williams-Goss (with an support from Williams) opposite Jevon Carter on a final possession to lift out a 61–58 victory. When they collected in a locker room on Saturday before confronting Xavier, Few told them, “If we would have told we guys [at a start of a season] that we were 40 mins divided from a Final Four, would we all take that?” Said Perkins, “We’d put in so most work [that] we would take that unfolding 10 times out of 10.”

Freed from a hindrances of West Virginia’s bruising D, a Zags came out and blitzed Xavier, holding a 49–39 lead by halftime, and using their descent potency adult to over 1.40 points per possession mid by a second half. The Musketeers stable a interior, tying behemoth core Przemek Karnowski and his backup Zach Collins to only 4 field-goal attempts each, though that liberated a Zags for ample, long-range looks, and they shot 12 of 24 from deep. Even Williams, a demure three-point shooter from his energy brazen position, line-drived one in left-handed, and “When we see Johnathan Williams make threes,” Melson said, “everybody’s gonna start shooting.”

The Zags’ defense—the tack of their run to 36–1—did not dried them in a Elite Eight, holding Xavier to 35.5% sharpened altogether and only 2 of 16 from deep. And nonetheless Few has been demure to singular out this 2016–17 group as his best ever—he’s pronounced it would be like revelation one of his children they’re his favorite child—he has concurred that this squad’s ability “to really, unequivocally strengthen a edge during a high level” is opposite than past years, and for a whole tournament, it’s hold a No. 1 ranking in practiced defensive potency on kenpom.com.

By late in Saturday’s diversion Gonzaga had so squashed No. 11 Xavier’s Cinderella(ish) run by a tourney, opening adult a 20-point lead, that Few could safely mislay his starters with 53.1 seconds left. One-by-one, they done their approach to a bench, and Few and his partner coaches embraced them. Few started ripping adult as he hugged Williams-Goss—”absolute tears of joy,” a manager called them—and thanked a former McDonald’s All-American indicate ensure for desiring in a module when he eliminated divided from Washington dual years ago. Williams-Goss finished with 23 points, 4 assists and 0 turnovers opposite a Musketeers, though was beaten out for a West Regional’s Most Outstanding Player endowment by Williams, who combined 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, and played greatest invulnerability in both rounds. Few took Williams’s face in his hands after he came out, and thanked him, too, for believing. “They all took a jump of faith,” Few pronounced of a transfers. “That’s what it is. It’s a jump of faith. They all had good options and they believed in a enlightenment [of Gonzaga].”

The enlightenment of Gonzaga has evolved, from a little pretender to a group that flies charters to highway games, has a Nike understanding (instead of Spalding), an implausible winning tradition and a family atmosphere with staff members with low ties to a program. As Few put it, when he initial came to Spokane as a connoisseur partner in 1989, “We won 4 Division we games. And we mean, this”—the Final Four—”wasn’t even possible. And any year we got improved and better, and thereafter we got really, unequivocally good.” And Mike Roth, a Gonzaga jaunty executive who arrived during a propagandize in 1997, stood courtside on Saturday and told a wise story about being in Phoenix for a ’99 West Regional, when a module was only ripping on a inhabitant scene. The day after a Zags dissapoint Stanford in a Sweet 16, their staff was summoned to a “transition meeting” with a NCAA, where any of a Elite Eight teams were briefed on all a skeleton they’d need to make for a Final Four.

“It was us and UConn,” Roth said, “and we brought 3 people in polo shirts, and they brought 12 to a meeting, in suits. One of a cabinet members came adult to me thereafter and said, ‘Hey, Mike, by a way, if we guys win, you’re going to need a lot of help.’ We only had no idea, then, what we were removing into.”

On Friday, Roth and his Gonzaga staff attended a transition assembly for a Final Four—and they rolled 10 deep. The module doesn’t need any assistance anymore. Few’s group doesn’t need any Cinderella sorcery anymore. It’s some-more than prepared for what it’s removing into.


Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail stories@tutuz.com

The Breakthrough: Its Cinderella days prolonged behind it, Gonzaga during final reaches Final Four

SAN JOSE, Calif. — It could have been ephemeral. The Gonzaga phenomenon—now on a approach to a first-ever Final Four—could have raged and faded in a camber of dual weeks of Mar 1999, as a No. 10 seed creation a second-ever outing to a NCAA tournament. An dissapoint of Minnesota, thereafter No. 2 Stanford, thereafter No. 5 Florida in a Sweet 16, with that classical Gus Johnson call after Casey Calvary’s tip in with 4.4 seconds left: “Shannon from a cornerrrr … and it’s over. Gonzaga! The slipper stillllll fits!” America’s new darlings were knocked out dual days later, their final, erring shot a driving, double-clutch layup by star ensure Matt Santangelo in a face of UConn’s front line in a Elite Eight. That off-season, their coach, Dan Monson, left Spokane for a major-conference pursuit during Minnesota—and that is how many Cinderella stories end, with a manager leaving, and a module vanishing behind into mid-major nowhere. But Mark Few, a thereafter 36-year-old partner who was promoted during Gonzaga, was unrelenting about one thing: “We didn’t wish to be a one-hit wonder.”


What he built, during first, was a Cinderella story that steady itself, with Sweet 16 runs in 2000 and 2001. But thereafter a module morphed into something else altogether, something so ubiquitous in March—with 19 loyal trips to a NCAA contest dating behind to ’99—that what Gonzaga was doing stopped being regarded as a strain and started being regarded as a doubt mark. As in: Could Few and a Zags ever mangle by to a Final Four? They were a fatal scoring appurtenance in 2006, though drowned in a reservoir of Adam Morrison’s tears in a Sweet 16. They looked prepared in 2013, as a No. 1 seed, usually to run into a Wichita State blitzkrieg of three-pointers in a second round. They knocked on a doorway in 2015, usually to be felled by contingent inhabitant champ Duke in a Elite Eight. Two years later, Few came into a deteriorate with maybe his deepest, though least-gelled roster—three major-conference transfers, Nigel Williams-Goss (from Washington), Jordan Mathews (Cal) and Johnathan Williams III (from Missouri) indispensable to adjust to obtuse roles—and built it into a group that started 29–0, and thereafter pushed Gonzaga’s module into a new chapter: that of a powerhouse on a margin of a inhabitant championship.

On Saturday night during a SAP Center, in a postgame jubilee of an 83–59, Elite Eight blowout of 11th-seeded Xavier, after all a other Zags had cut down their strands of net, Few climbed adult and unfastened a remainder. He thereafter incited his behind on a rim, pivoting on a tip step of a ladder so that he could face his team, fabricated inside a arc below. Two days earlier, a 18th-year Gonzaga conduct manager denied a existence of a monkey—insisted that he did not live with one on his back, did not need to strech a Final Four to be vindicated, and his wife, Marcy, station down there on a court, accurate that this was true, that even privately, “he positively does not get hold adult in that.”

But Few’s face, right then, belied how most he’d wanted it. The routinely forbidding manager was, for a initial time publicly in this 2017 NCAA tournament, beaming. He hold a net he’d only unfastened in his right hand, with that arm outstretched, and he incited his left palm upward, for emphasis, as he yelled a summary down to his players: “MIGHT AS WELL WIN IT!”

The Zags answered this matter with affirmations, and not in a demeanour of a group that believes it’s personification with residence income as it heads to a program’s initial inhabitant semifinal. The reality, for 36–1 Gonzaga, is that it entered this NCAA contest as any efficiency-based analytic model’s favorite to win it all, and 0 has altered as it heads to Glendale, Ariz., to face possibly Florida or South Carolina in a inhabitant semifinals, with Oregon and possibly North Carolina or Kentucky on a other side of a bracket. Gonzaga has an elite, rim-protecting invulnerability and a right brew of guards—with sophomore Josh Perkins and Williams-Goss and Mathews—to acquire dual some-more victories and a inhabitant title.

Santangelo, a former star-turned-Zags radio announcer, was operative courtside for Saturday’s diversion opposite Xavier, and in warmups, he looked on during a opposite chronicle of Gonzaga than he was a partial of in a 1999 Elite Eight. “We were a pristine Cinderella, with no support of reference, too naïve to know we weren’t ostensible to win,” Santangelo said. “This team—I’ve never seen them some-more gentle in their possess skin, feeling like they’re ostensible to do this.” He was looking during a group that was adored by 8.5 points and approaching to go to Phoenix—a group that, according to ensure Silas Melson, had been articulate about a Final Four “as shortly as we got together in September—that was a categorical goal.” Even progressing than that, in summer 2016, when Mathews was looking into graduate-transferring from Cal to a Zags, he texted Williams-Goss about a form of group they competence have, and a Final Four entered those discussions. “When we stepped feet on campus [this year],” Williams-Goss said, “we knew we had a pieces to do it.”

On Thursday in a Sweet 16, they had survived what Few described as an “absolute war” and a “rock fight” opposite No. 4 seed West (Press) Virginia, wanting a go-ahead three-pointer from Mathews with 1:08 left and a gritty, defensive stop by Williams-Goss (with an support from Williams) opposite Jevon Carter on a final possession to lift out a 61–58 victory. When they collected in a locker room on Saturday before confronting Xavier, Few told them, “If we would have told we guys [at a start of a season] that we were 40 mins divided from a Final Four, would we all take that?” Said Perkins, “We’d put in so most work [that] we would take that unfolding 10 times out of 10.”

Freed from a hindrances of West Virginia’s bruising D, a Zags came out and blitzed Xavier, holding a 49–39 lead by halftime, and using their descent potency adult to over 1.40 points per possession mid by a second half. The Musketeers stable a interior, tying behemoth core Przemek Karnowski and his backup Zach Collins to only 4 field-goal attempts each, though that liberated a Zags for ample, long-range looks, and they shot 12 of 24 from deep. Even Williams, a demure three-point shooter from his energy brazen position, line-drived one in left-handed, and “When we see Johnathan Williams make threes,” Melson said, “everybody’s gonna start shooting.”

The Zags’ defense—the tack of their run to 36–1—did not dried them in a Elite Eight, holding Xavier to 35.5% sharpened altogether and only 2 of 16 from deep. And nonetheless Few has been demure to singular out this 2016–17 group as his best ever—he’s pronounced it would be like revelation one of his children they’re his favorite child—he has concurred that this squad’s ability “to really, unequivocally strengthen a edge during a high level” is opposite than past years, and for a whole tournament, it’s hold a No. 1 ranking in practiced defensive potency on kenpom.com.

By late in Saturday’s diversion Gonzaga had so squashed No. 11 Xavier’s Cinderella(ish) run by a tourney, opening adult a 20-point lead, that Few could safely mislay his starters with 53.1 seconds left. One-by-one, they done their approach to a bench, and Few and his partner coaches embraced them. Few started ripping adult as he hugged Williams-Goss—”absolute tears of joy,” a manager called them—and thanked a former McDonald’s All-American indicate ensure for desiring in a module when he eliminated divided from Washington dual years ago. Williams-Goss finished with 23 points, 4 assists and 0 turnovers opposite a Musketeers, though was beaten out for a West Regional’s Most Outstanding Player endowment by Williams, who combined 19 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, and played greatest invulnerability in both rounds. Few took Williams’s face in his hands after he came out, and thanked him, too, for believing. “They all took a jump of faith,” Few pronounced of a transfers. “That’s what it is. It’s a jump of faith. They all had good options and they believed in a enlightenment [of Gonzaga].”

The enlightenment of Gonzaga has evolved, from a little pretender to a group that flies charters to highway games, has a Nike understanding (instead of Spalding), an implausible winning tradition and a family atmosphere with staff members with low ties to a program. As Few put it, when he initial came to Spokane as a connoisseur partner in 1989, “We won 4 Division we games. And we mean, this”—the Final Four—”wasn’t even possible. And any year we got improved and better, and thereafter we got really, unequivocally good.” And Mike Roth, a Gonzaga jaunty executive who arrived during a propagandize in 1997, stood courtside on Saturday and told a wise story about being in Phoenix for a ’99 West Regional, when a module was only ripping on a inhabitant scene. The day after a Zags dissapoint Stanford in a Sweet 16, their staff was summoned to a “transition meeting” with a NCAA, where any of a Elite Eight teams were briefed on all a skeleton they’d need to make for a Final Four.

“It was us and UConn,” Roth said, “and we brought 3 people in polo shirts, and they brought 12 to a meeting, in suits. One of a cabinet members came adult to me thereafter and said, ‘Hey, Mike, by a way, if we guys win, you’re going to need a lot of help.’ We only had no idea, then, what we were removing into.”

On Friday, Roth and his Gonzaga staff attended a transition assembly for a Final Four—and they rolled 10 deep. The module doesn’t need any assistance anymore. Few’s group doesn’t need any Cinderella sorcery anymore. It’s some-more than prepared for what it’s removing into.


Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail stories@tutuz.com