McPhee Brothers Honored At Anthony's Scholarship Benefit Dinner

April 29, 2011

SPOKANE, Wash. - There have been a lot of sibling student-athletes come through Gonzaga over the years, but perhaps none made an impact like the decade of the McPhees who toiled on the hardwood with men's basketball.

Earlier this week they were the honorees at the 6th annual Gonzaga University and Anthony's Restaurant Scholarship Benefit Dinner and Auction.

Bryce was the first of the McPhee brothers to come to Gonzaga via Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, donning a Zags uniform from 1981-85. Next was little brother Jim who played from 1986-90.

Bryce scored 1,060 points in his career which ranks 30th on the all-time GU list. He was named to the 1983 All-West Coast Athletic Conference (now the WCC) first team and was a three-time Academic All-America honoree, receiving third-team honors in 1983, second-team in '84 and first-team in '85.

Jim is still second on the all-time scoring list with 2,015 points and was a three-time All-WCAC selection and was named to the Academic All-America second team his senior season of 1990. He thinks he'll hold the number two spot for some time.

"If there are guys around scoring that many points today they are shaking Commissioner Stern's (NBA Commissioner David Stern) hand by the time they are sophomores or juniors," McPhee said of players leaving early for the NBA Draft.

The two also have something in common from their collegiate days - they both suffered season-ending injuries. Bryce was sidelined six games into the 1983-84 season with a fractured fibula and 17 games into his senior season of 1984-85 with a knee injury. Jim was sidelined six games into his junior season of 1987-88 with a right knee injury.

Both are humbled at the recognition.

"It's flattering and humbling when anything you are still associated with honors you. When something that meant so much to you and a part of your life calls with this type of honor it's hard to put into words," Jim said.

"I'm honored they wanted to honor both of us. This is for the entire McPhee family," Bryce said.

 

 

They took separate paths to Gonzaga. Bryce said the "deciding factor was one of the players they recruited didn't get in."

Bryce, who was recruited by and played his first year for the late Dan Fitzgerald before finishing his career under head coach Jay Hillock while Fitz remained as athletic director, said he had played in the City-State All-Star Game "against Johnny (Stockton) and was named the MVP both times. But I had talked to Fitz and they were worried I was too little" recalled McPhee, who played at 6-3 and just under 200 pounds. "I'm glad it happened," he said of finally getting into Gonzaga.

Jim, on the other hand, wasn't a shoo-in to follow in his brother's footsteps.

"Bryce was part of it. I was still undecided and Fitz came out of coaching and I called the next day and said that's where I'm going."

He said he "always had a repertoire with Fitz. When Fitz came to our house to recruit Bryce it was the three of us and our folks. Fitz and I did most of the talking. Bryce said about three words," McPhee said with a laugh. "I'm sure Bryce will tell that story."

Asked what they learned at Gonzaga, each had a different take on their experience.

"I think what I learned at Gonzaga wasn't necessarily on the basketball court or in the classroom. I learned discipline and time management, and Fitz taught us all to not forget to say thanks," Jim said. "Steve Hertz (then the GU baseball coach) always said, `There is no way you could come close to do so much for Gonzaga as Gonzaga did for you." I've taken that with me, too."

Bryce said "being a Zag, the community and the fact everyone is there to help you" are things he will never forget. "There were people working in the department to give you the opportunity to represent Gonzaga."

Bryce also said trainer Steve DeLong, now in his 31st year at Gonzaga, "helped mold us into athletes. Steve and I were close in age. I had always been pre-med, but when I had my injuries and was going through rehab my dealings with Steve played a role in my career decision."

Bryce opened his own physical therapy clinic in Burien, Wash., in 1991.

Both have also married and raised families. Jim married GU alum Dana Reding, herself a pretty fair athlete who still holds the GU record of 3,800 points in the heptathlon, a mark that has stood since 1996. They have a 15-year-old daughter Mackenzie and 14-year-old son Will, both active in athletics.

Bryce and his wife Alice, a former Eastern Washington University basketball player, have sons Jake (21), Bryce (19) and 15-year-old twin daughters Brittany and Jordan, the latter currently attending Mount Rainier High School. Both are basketball players - Brittany set the school scoring and rebounding records as a freshman - and Jordan is also one of the top distance runners in the State with the record for the 1600 meters already under her belt and will "probably set the two-mile record," according to her father.

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