The time has come and the year of 2011 is breathing its final breaths. It is time to reflect on the highs and lows over the last 12 months.
For GU men’s basketball, 2011 started off with a solid win over Wake Forest on January 2nd to finish off nonconference play. However, three straight conference losses in late January propelled the Zags into a tough situation—could they continue their streak of over a decade of WCC titles?
A strong showing in the second round of league play, along with a top performance at the West Coast Conference Tournament, landed the Zags with their 12th straight league championship. The NCAA Committee sent the Zags to Denver as an 11 seed to face the No. 6 team St. John’s out of the Big East in the Big Dance.
The Bulldogs took advantage of their win streak, and capitalized on the Western U.S. home court advantage—knocking of the Red Storm 86-71.
Unfortunately the soon to be West Coast Conference addition, BYU, awaited Gonzaga in the second round; with shooting sensation Jimmer Fredette. The Cougars dominated with an 89-67 win to end the Bulldogs’ season.
In the final months of the school year, the roster started to shake up a bit. Junior guard Demetri Goodson decided to forgo his senior season at GU and transfer to Baylor—to play football. Goodson’s Bears defeated the University of Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl yesterday. He was able to play on special teams for BU as a kick returner; his speed and athleticism were missed on the hardwood, but Meech was able to make good use of them on the gridiron.
Mangisto Arop also chose to leave Gonzaga and pursue his collegiate career at Indiana State. The home of the great Larry Bird was fortunate to receive Arop as a very explosive and talented player, looking to find his niche in the right program. He must red shirt the 2011-2012 season, but will be ready to lace up next fall for the Sycamores.
When school began in August, five new freshmen and a junior college transfer arrived in Spokane. Ryan Spangler, Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., Kyle Dranginis, and Chris Sarbaugh began their first collegiate practices as freshmen for the Zags. Guy Landry Edi transferred to GU to continue his basketball career from Midland Texas College where he played for two years.
The Zags started off the first half of this season very well. They head into the last game of 2011 with a 10-2 record. Xavier will not be an easy team to close out the year with, but if GU can play their game, it won’t be a problem to end 2011 with a W.
Catch the Zags and Musketeers on ESPN2 at 5pm PST on New Years’ Eve in Cincinnati.