Four seniors are graduating for Gonzaga this season, and all three of their paths could not have been more different. While each player took a different road to play at Gonzaga, all four of them will graduate as Bulldogs this May.
Brian Bhaskar, David Stockton, Drew Barham and Sam Dower all made contributions to the Gonzaga program in several different ways. All four were apart of Gonzaga rise to the No. 1 spot in the rankings, a memory all of them will hold dear for the rest of their lives. Even though each had a different role on the team, because their name is on that roster it will go down in Gonzaga history.
Out of the four seniors departing from the Gonzaga program, Bhaskar’s backstory is probably the most interesting.
In high school, Bhaskar was a standout for Stevenson High School in Monterrey, Calif., where the 6-3 guard averaged 20.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.7 blocks his senior season. In addition to basketball, Bhaskar lettered in three other sports.
Bhaskar did not immediately delve into the division I basketball scene, and competed in an entirely different varsity sport his freshman year: rowing. Bhaskar reverted back to basketball his sophomore year, where he played on the schools club basketball team, which won the Club Basketball West Regional in Tucson, Ariz., and finished third at the NIRSA National Collegiate Club series basketball championships in Charlotte, N.C.
After making a few friends on the team and playing pickup games with the squad, Bhaskar was motivated to try out for the team. Bhaskar made the team as a walk-on before the 2012-2013 season.
Bhaskar did not see a lot of playing time during his two seasons on the team, but he exerted energy on the bench, cheering for the players on the floor and providing energy.
I will always remember trying to figure out who Bhaskar was when he entered the game against the Pepperdine Waves during the 2012-2013 season. He wore number 14, and there was no name on the back of the jersey.
After learning his identity, Bhaskar immediately became a fan favorite. Seeing Bhaskar drain a 3-pointer on senior night is one of the best memories of this season, and will certainly become a memory he will hold very dearly.
Sometimes it takes only one exceptional quality to get someone playing time on the basketball court. Barham proved that was possible with his ability to shoot the 3-ball.
The Memphis, Tenn. native spent two seasons at his hometown college, the University of Memphis. As a Tiger, Barham made 11 starts, and averaged 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds his sophomore year.
After redshirting following his sophomore year, Barham decided to take his talents to the northwest, providing a 3-point shooting presence for the Bulldogs immediately.
Since Barham graduated in three years at Memphis, he was eligible immediately for the Bulldogs as a graduate transfer. As a junior, he knocked down 24 3-pointers and more than doubled that number his senior year with 61.
Statistically, Barham’s senior season was easily his best. His 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game aren’t the flashiest of numbers, but Barham provided depth and shooting to a team that needed it.
Also, because Ryan Edwards was out for the beginning of the season, Barham stepped in and helped Gonzaga’s frontline, despite playing on the wing the previous season. While he did not match up physically with some of those player, Barham held his own.
Barham was a phenomenal 3-point shooter at Gonzaga, despite not putting up solid numbers from behind the arc at Memphis. While wearing a Gonzaga uniform, the 6-7 forward shot 47.0 percent from the field.
The name on the back of the jersey held a lot of expectations that a 5-11 walk-on guard usually would not carry.
As the son of an NBA legend, Stockton was carrying out a legacy by playing for his father’s alma mater.
While the younger Stockton did not make the impact the older did back when played at GU in the 1980’s, Stockton played an integral role on some very successful teams.
Stockton spent his first season at GU redshirting, and made his debut in the 2010-2011 season. Stockton played 15.6 minutes per game, and battled with Demetri Goodson for playing time at the point guard position. The pass-first Stockton garnered a lot of support from the fans, who suggested that Stockton receive more minutes.
Stockton remained a key reserve for the Zags in his sophomore and junior seasons, averaging 3.7 points each year and 3.4 and 2.4 assists respectively in those seasons. While playing as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, Gonzaga received a seven assist, two turnover performance from Stockton in its narrow victory over Southern.
During his senior season, Stockton was elevated to an everyday starter, where the Gonzaga Prep product averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 assists in 27.8 minutes per game. He set his career-high in points this season twice, scoring 21 points against Santa Clara on January 28and against Saint Mary’s on March 10.
Stockton’s legacy at Gonzaga will be cemented in the record books for quite some time. His 423 career assists ranks sixth all-time at GU, ahead of former Bulldog stars Derek Ravio and Steven Gray. His 167 career steals ranks fifth all-time.
We have something special planned for Mr. Dower.