This was a historic season for Gonzaga. In my opinion it was the best season the Zags have ever had. I have been very fortunate to see some amazing basketball in my time at Gonzaga. I was a freshman when the team was #1 and when Kelly Olynyk emerged. I had also been fortunate enough to travel with the team to the tournaments as a band member. I just want to reflect on a few final thoughts before moving on to thinking about the NBA draft and next season.
Let’s start with the WCC tournament. I’ve gone to Vegas every year that I’ve been at Gonzaga for this tournament. It’s always a fun trip that’s filled with basketball. The best part is that after Gonzaga plays we are usually allowed to stay and watch the next game. I get to sit the Orleans arena for hours just watching basketball. It never gets old. Other conference tournaments also start around that time, so when I’m not watching games in person the TV is on and I’m flipping back and forth between conference games. This year in Vegas for our off day the band was able to go to the Hoover Dam. I had never been there before and it was quite the spectacle.
After less than a week back in Spokane we left for Seattle for the second and third rounds. This was great because there were more Zag fans at the games than usual tournament games. A highlight from this trip was being on Dan Dickau and Sean Widmer’s radio show with Sam Falcone. I was under the impression that we were just going to meet Dan Dickau, shake his hand, and say hi, but we entered the room and there were two headsets sitting on the table. We were told to sit down and they started asking us questions about the band, basketball predictions, and our experiences at Gonzaga. It was really unexpected and very fun! Go listen to The Dickau and Slim Show on 700 ESPN in Spokane. They are both great guys with an entertaining show.
The games in Seattle were awesome. The game against Iowa may have been the greatest Gonzaga game I have ever seen. I watched Iowa beat Davidson and I was pretty worried about Iowa. They looked really good. The Zags came out and played their most complete game of the season. For the first time in my college career the Zags were moving on to the Sweet 16.
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After a quick turnaround in Spokane we headed off to Houston. I had never been to Texas before, so I was excited to see a new place. The NRG stadium was gigantic. It was actually so large that even my perception of sound and distance was thrown off. I can’t even imagine how it affected the players. The game against UCLA was so exciting. After winning that game morale was at an all time high. When the band got back to the hotel after the game we were headed to our storage room to put our instruments away. As we walked though the lobby there was thunderous applause and cheering. We thought that the team had walked in behind us, but that was not the case. All of the Gonzaga fans and donors who had made the trip to Houston were cheering for us! It was a surreal experience.
The game against Duke was a heartbreaker. Gonzaga played well, but the eventual national champion came out victorious. It was sad at first, but it was hard to be too sad when thinking about what a great season it was. Outside of the stadium I was able to catch Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett and tight end Jason Witten. I’m not a Cowboys fan, I’m actually a diehard Broncos fan, but it could not resist the opportunity to meet an NFL coach and player. They were both really nice and happy to talk to me and take pictures.
I spoke with Kevin Pangos while waiting to get on the plane back to Spokane. He tanked me and the band for all that we do for the team. It was very humbling to see how much he appreciated our work. He will go down as one of my favorite Gonzaga players every. He’s a great shooter and a great person. I wish him the best of luck in the future.
This was a wonderful season. It was historic and united Zags fans all over the country. While I’m sad that it’s over, I’m happy because I know that I still have one more year left at Gonzaga!