Men's Hoops Opens Exhibition Season

Nov. 4, 2005

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University head men's basketball coach Mark Few will get his first look at the 2006 version of the Bulldogs Saturday when Lewis-Clark State College visits the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Tip-off is 5 p.m. with the game televised in Spokane on KAYU-TV, and the game is also available on 1510 KGA radio with the pre-game show beginning at 4:30 p.m. Greg Heister and Jeff Brown will call the action on television with Tom Hudson handling the radio play-by-play duties.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 26-5 season, a fifth straight West Coast Conference regular-season title and a seventh straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, having won six of the last seven WCC Tournament crowns. Gonzaga, 10th a year ago in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll, is seventh in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 preseason coach's poll. The AP preseason rankings will be announced Monday.

Gonzaga returns four starters from last year's squad - point guard Derek Raivio, guard/forward Erroll Knight, forward Adam Morrison and center/forward J.P. Batista.

Raivio and Morrison were All-WCC selections, Morrison also receiving Associated Press All-America honorable mention honors along with departed senior Ronny Turiaf, the WCC Player of the Year. Knight was voted the WCC Defender of the Year and Batista claimed Newcomer of the Year honors.

Add to that mix returning junior forward Sean Mallon, a 2004 All-Freshman Team member in the WCC; sophomore forward David Pendergraft, who played in all 31 games a year ago as a freshman; sophomore guard Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes who started four early-season games and played in all 31 contests a year ago, and senior guard Nathan Doudney, whose season a year ago was cut short seven games into the campaign because of a knee injury, and the Bulldogs have considerable depth.

Knight's status for Saturday is doubtful as he's been sidelined for most of fall camp with a nagging knee injury. He practiced full speed for the first time on Thursday. Redshirt freshman Josh Heytvelt out of Clarkston, Wash., won't play because of a lingering foot problem that seems to be on the mend.

"We're a little bit banged up right now, but that will give us a chance to take a look at some of the younger players," Few said. "We know what Erroll can do. And while we want to get him into a game situation we aren't going to rush him back. We hope to get Heytvelt healthy because he's never played a minute of Division I basketball."

Few said this exhibition season will be approached no differently than any other year.

"We want to see what these guys can do," Few said. "Having so many veterans is a luxury, but we'll still take a look at some combinations. We need to mold the younger players into what we do. That's why you play exhibition games. We have a solid nucleus returning and we think we have three great additions to our program."

The three newcomers will get their first live game action are junior college transfer Mamery Diallo, a 6-9 center-forward; 6-2 freshman guard Jeremy Pargo, and 6-5 freshman forward Larry Gurganious. Under new NCAA rules this season, anyone can play in the two exhibition games and still redshirt the regular season if they have a redshirt season available. The new rule gives coaches a chance to see newcomers in game action and then make redshirt decisions.

Gonzaga will host UC San Diego in an exhibition next Saturday at 7 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center, then open the regular season at home Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. against the University of Idaho.



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