19 GONZAGA

November 18, 2013

2012--13 RECORD 32--3 WCC 16--0 (1ST) WHAT'S BACK MINUTES: 61.2% POINTS: 54.3% REBOUNDS: 38.5%

If you want to find a Gonzaga player still stewing over the events of March 23, when Wichita State abruptly ended the top-ranked, top-seeded Zags' unprecedented season in the NCAA tournament's round of 32, you'll have to look beyond fifth-year center Sam Dower. "We didn't have the happy ending we worked so hard for, but I feel like we gave it our all," says the perpetually positive 6'9" lefty from Minneapolis.

Dower, an organizational leadership grad student who is known for his infectious laugh, dulcet singing voice and encyclopedic knowledge of rap and R&B lyrics, will be a star attraction in this year's lineup. After averaging 6.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 16.0 minutes behind current NBA rookie forwards Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris (who combined for 32.4 points and 14.7 rebounds), Dower is applying what he learned from watching Olynyk develop into a lottery pick after being a benchwarmer. "Every day Kelly worked harder than everybody else," says Dower, who spent the summer developing more moves with his right hand. He also suffered through many grueling afternoons running Perry Hill, a steep quarter-mile incline near campus, to help him get into top condition. Now Dower has "the most confidence I've had in my four years here," he says.

Still, the Zags' strength will be their backcourt. Juniors Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. and grad student David Stockton may be small—the 6'2" Pangos is the tallest of that trio—but all can dish and hit from long range, which will be critical if the Zags are to win their 13th West Coast Conference title in 14 years. "Without much frontcourt depth, we'll have to play differently this year," says coach Mark Few. "I think we'll shoot more threes than we have in the past. But shooting will be a strength. Like we do every year, we'll adjust to what we have."

Projected Lineup (2012--13 STATS)

PG KEVIN PANGOS*

JR. 6'2" 11.9 PPG 3.3 APG

SG GARY BELL JR.*

JR. 6'1" 9.9 PPG 2.1 APG

G DAVID STOCKTON

GRAD. 5'11" 3.7 PPG 3.4 APG

PF SAM DOWER

GRAD. 6'9" 6.9 PPG 2.7 RPG

C PRZEMEK KARNOWSKI

SOPH. 7'1" 5.4 PPG 2.6 RPG

BENCH

G GERARD COLEMAN†

JR. 6'4" 13.2 PPG 5.0 RPG

F LUKE MEIKLE‡

FR. 6'8" 15.0 PPG 9.0 RPG

*RETURNING STARTER

†2011--12 PROVIDENCE STATS

‡HIGH SCHOOL STATS

COACH SPEAK

MARK FEW (15TH SEASON)

SIHow would you assess last season?

MF It was historical; it was magical. We had the most wins in school history, the No. 1 seed, the No. 1 rank in the country—those are all gigantic milestones. We didn't have even one of those come-to-Jesus meetings we all seem to have throughout the year; we didn't have to blow up a film session and go crazy; I didn't have to have any individual meetings with a disgruntled player.

SIWhat kind of impact have those milestones had on the program?

MF It shows it can be done at our place.

SIHow does having three grad students—Sam Dower, David Stockton and Drew Barham—affect your team?

MF It helps. With age comes a little bit of wisdom. But they have a lot of night classes. Sometimes we have to work practice schedules around that.

Tournament Tracker

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 32

'09--10

'10--11

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

PHOTOROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MASCOT) PHOTOROBERT JOHNSON/ICON SMI (DOWER) PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (FEW) CHART

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)