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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FEW and Far Between

Gonzaga basketball fans are spoiled.

If you say anything in the slightest vein that they take as derogatory against their team, you get all kinds of criticism thrown back your way.

It gets even worse, if you ever say anything bad about head coach Mark Few.

But never fearing a little bit of challenge, here we go. After all it is sports, it is college basketball and no one ever takes those two things seriously, lol. (That is my last lol period, big opponent of the term).

Despite the fact that Mark Few's teams play very poor defense often, he is an outstanding coach. (Note to Gonzaga fans, I gave him a compliment.)

For the record, he after all as head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, since the 1999-2000 season has some sterling stats. His teams have gone to the NCAA tournament every year he has been at Gonzaga. Coach Few's record at Gonzaga is 315-83, his league record in the WCC even more incredible at 149-19 wins to losses.

It gets better, as Few's teams have won 11 straight league championships and even more impressive nine WCC tournament championships and only once was during that time was the tournament held in Gonzaga's home city of Spokane, Washington. Very impressive.

Let's keep it going, in Few's 11 years and looking at all the 355 D-1 schools during that period,  it is almost impossible to get one first team all-america, Few has had two, in Dan Dickau and Adam Morrison. Every game is sold out and has been for years and last but not least, Few has been coach of the year six times in the WCC and has had nine different players named WCC player of the year.

Actually over Few's 11 years at Gonzaga, not one D-1 school can even come close to matching the Zags record of league and WCC tournament play.

Here is where it gets a little sticky for both myself and maybe some others. Under Few, the Zags have made four sweet sixteen appearances, but never have made it to the elite 8. I wondered if anyone else looked at this as a flaw, so I did a little Craw's Corner investigative reporting.

I called three people who have season tickets to Gonzaga games that I knew,  would tell it like it is. Not a scientific sample, but these three guys can bring it.

The results, two are not always happy that the Zags do not go further in NCCA play, one even going as far to say that he would not be crushed if Few left Spokane for a better job, he closed with, despite his record, he has warn out his welcome. His supporter, was equally vocal bringing out some good points in that Gonzaga is able to bring some top teams Spokane and when you watch them at home they always win and for him that was more than satisfactory.

But in sports, when is not enough, not enough. It does seem odd to myself that Gonzaga has never been to the elite 8, especially with some of their talent in recent years and players who have gone on to be drafted in the NBA. I would even go so far as to say the Zags are somewhat of a major disappointment in NCAA tournament play or maybe even at times a big failure.

With all that said, for now, I would call Mark Few an outstanding regular season coach, but a below average when it comes NCAA tournament play. I might even call him a little overrated as a coach.

Lots of people all over have been waiting for the Zags to step up come March and April and it has not happened. It gets even more challenging now with BYU joining the WCC, it will force pressure on Gonzaga as they have to keep winning the leagues, as history dictates, the WCC hardly ever being in contention for an at large berth.

Ok let's just say it, Mark Few is not as good a coach as he is made out to be.

One last thing, Gonzaga, if you always claim your as good for basketball as you are, then show us and play your northwest brothers, Oregon State, Oregon and Washington on a regular basis. You need to act like your the kings of the northwest and do the right thing, instead of at times acting like spoiled brats.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks for all the great emails and wondering where I went. I am here, hopefully better than ever, I am just going to cut back during these summer months on my writing a little bit. Not to worry, you will still receive Craw's Corner  on a fairly regular basis and I still appreciate your readership very much. I might also have a big announcement coming up soon regarding this column, keep reading.

emails to and comments always welcome below the column

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