Mark Few on Drew Timme signing with the Sacramento Kings: 'He's more than good enough to play in that league'

Timme is one of many former Zags who are suiting up in the NBA Summer League this month
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not often Gonzaga men’s basketball fans have something Bulldogs-related to look forward to in the month of July. But while there are still 17 weeks left until opening night of the 2024-25 college basketball season, the 2024 Olympic Games and NBA Summer League feature several former Zags, and the program’s head coach, Mark Few, in competitions around the globe over the next month.

While Few prepares for Paris as an assistant coach with the heavily favored Team USA, four of his pupils are set to represent their respective home countries on the world’s biggest stage. Kelly Olynyk and Andrew Nembhard join a loaded Canadian team that features an abundance of NBA talent. Rui Hachimura guides Team Japan on its historic journey to Paris. Team Serbia could roster Filip Petrsuev, who would be joining a frontcourt centered around Nikola Jokic. 

Team USA is set to face the Serbs in Group B play that’s set to begin in a few weeks. But first, an anticipated exhibition against Team Canada awaits the Americans on July 10 at T-Mobile Arena, where Few is certain to have mixed feelings about coaching against two of his former players.

“It was strange last year when we played Kelly [at the 2023 FIBA World Cup],” Few said at a press conference in June. “It was strange, you know, you’re rooting for him but then obviously you want to win the game really, really bad. And then obviously with Andrew on [Team Canada] now … it’ll be even stranger. But again we just got to win that game.”

Just days after the U.S. and Canada clash on the hardwood, the NBA Summer League tips off just off the strip at the Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus, where Team USA held its training camp during the first week of July. Few won’t be a part of this Gonzaga reunion, as he’ll be in Abu Dhabi for an exhibition against Australia on July 15, but many of his former players are expected to cross paths in Las Vegas.

Anton Watson, after a standout five-year career at Gonzaga, will showcase his defensive versatility at the pro level for the first time after being selected with the 54th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2024 NBA Draft. The Spokane native wasn’t featured on most mocks heading into the draft, though the defending NBA champions valued Watson’s winning pedigree and basketball IQ enough for them to take him late in the second round.

“It was just incredible joy, incredible emotion, quite frankly. I mean, Anton really, really put his time in, has been just so good, so loyal to the entire area,” Few said. “To see him rewarded like that, yeah, really brought some emotion out in me.”

Few had multiple conversations about Watson’s game with Celtics president of operations Brad Stevens, with whom Few developed a relationship during Stevens’ days at Butler. 

“Brad was very sincere about what he liked with Anton and I think he values kind of, how our guys play and what they've been able to do [at Gonzaga],” Few said. “They understand what [Watson] brings. What stood out to them was his feel for the game and how he's such an elite defender, and you can switch with him. And all along, they do value winning, and they saw what he did here.”

Watson’s Gonzaga teammate Drew Timme can be mentioned in that same breath, as the 6-foot-10 post will have another NBA opportunity after he joined one of the Sacramento Kings’ summer league teams. In his first game back since he suffered a broken foot, Timme recorded a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double against China on Saturday, followed by six points and seven rebounds in a win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. 

“He's more than good enough to play in that league,” Few said of Timme. “I think he was going to get called up this year, and then he broke his foot, so that was just a tough, tough deal and tough timing. So he's just in that situation where he's just gonna have to keep fighting and scratching and doing what he can.”

Other Zags who’ll be in Vegas for Summer League include Julian Strawther with the Denver Nuggets and Killian Tillie, who will reunite with Watson, his 2019-20 Gonzaga teammate, on the Celtics. 

Boston tips off the 2024 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas on July 13 when they take on the Miami Heat, who drafted former Indiana Hoosiers standout Kel’el Ware in the first round. Then it’s a matchup against Bronny James and the Los Angeles Lakers on July 15, followed by games against the Charlotte Hornets (July 17) and Dallas Mavericks (July 19). All games will be televised on NBA TV. 

The Nuggets first summer league game is July 12 against the Los Angeles Clippers at the COX Pavilion in Las Vegas, followed by the Toronto Raptors (July 14), Charlotte Hornets (July 16) and the Indiana Pacers (Thomas & Mack, July 18). Games against the Clippers and Raptors can be watched on NBA TV; ESPN2 will carry games against the Hornets and Pacers.

Following the California Classic, the Kings take on the Memphis Grizzlies (July 12, NBA TV), followed by the Utah Jazz (July 15, ESPNU), New York Knicks (July 17, NBA TV) and Washington Wizards (July 18, ESPN).

After taking on Australia, the U.S. has tune-ups against Serbia (July 17, Fox Sports 1), South Sudan (London, July 20, FOX) and Germany (July 22, FOX) before Group B play begins on July 28. All Olympic basketball coverage can be watched through a Peacock subscription or on the NBC and NBC Olympics apps.

Cole Forsman


Cole Forsman is a reporter for Gonzaga Nation, a member of Sports Illustrated’s FanNation network. Cole holds a degree in Journalism and Sports Management from Gonzaga University.