Mark Few's ESPN Chat Transcription

Nov. 24, 1999

Coach, what do feel will be the biggest obstacle in getting back to the Elite Eight?

Mark Few: The biggest obstacle will be that we are playing with a giant bullseye on our foreheads. In most cases, teams are fired up and ready to play us. Last year, we could sneak up on people that didn't know much about our program. As far as the Elite Eight is concerned, that's a combo of getting hot and lucky at the same time, too.

Gonzaga has always been a quality place. It's a great university that deserves the exposure it is now getting. My questions go to schedule: Will the players be able to hold up with road games (all within less than 10 days) against Cincinnati, Temple, UCLA, and Washington? Do you do anything special to prepare them for this kind of stretch?

Mark Few: Joe -- I have the same questions as you. The way it turned out is rather unfortunate. We want to play the big games, but not in a nine-day period. As far as preparation, in the off-season, we worked hard at our conditioning so we should be ready to play that amount of games in a short period. From a coaching standpoint, we'll have to shorten practices and really make sure we save our legs so that we're ready to peak at the right time. Andy Katz talked me into that crazy schedule.

J Steck
I am very interested in coaching when I grow up. I was just wondering how you got started, and what you did to get as far as you've come? I would really like some insight because I hope to become a basketball coach one day.

Mark Few: I began coaching at my old high school when I got out of college. I was able to meet some people working summer camps and ended up becoming good friends with Monson. He invited me up and the rest is history. Every coach has a different story, but it all revolves around staying committed and keeping with it. You also have to be in the right place at the right time and treat every job as if its the bigtime. Concentrate on where you are, not where its going to get you.

What are your thoughts on John Stockton?

Mark Few: My thoughts are that he is the greatest point guard to ever play. The most impressive thing is the balance he has in his life and how important his family has stayed throughout his career. He doesn't get caught up in the hype and hoopla and remains down to earth. You couldn't pick a better ambassador for our program than John. The work that he does with our team in the off-season has an unbelievable impact on us throughout the year.

Coach, I know that you have a talented roster returning this year, but who are some of the newcomers who you expect to make an impact this year?

Mark Few: When you have seven of your top ten returning, it will be difficult. But, two guys we are counting on are Jimmy Tricco -- a 6-6 wing out of Phoenix -- and Zack Gourde -- a 6-9 post, who will be a redshirt freshman.

Do you still plan on running the flex offense?

Mark Few: If I tell you that, I will have to kill you. Just kidding. We'll keep running the same motion and flex sets we have in the past. I was responsible for the offense the past three years so we'll be similar to what we've been in the past. We have confidence in what we're doing.

When I graduated GU in '91, the school was beginning to get some pretty good recruits (i.e. Jarrod Davis, and transfer Eric Brady). What has been the secret to getting a higher quality of player interested in GU (besides obviously making the Elite Eight last season)?

Mark Few: Success breeds success. As we've gotten better, we've been able to continue to attract more and more talented players. We keep trying to raise the bar each year. This senior class has set the standard pretty high. We're pleased with the two kids we signed earlier this year, too. If the kid is truly interested in basketball, he'll put that at the top of the list and we've got a good chance then.

Mike Hastings
Gonzaga basketball has been consitstantly solid since the Dan Fitzgerald days. What do you feel catapulted the program to an enire new level last season? Do you feel Quentin Hall, Jeremy Eaton and Mike Leasure will be sorely missed this year?

P.S. How is the golf game?

Mark Few: Great to hear from you, Mike. I still have the bad baseball grip, but I'm working the ball well from right to left. I still use mulligans liberally. What catapulted us to that level was special. As a staff, everything came together. We had great depth. Quentin and Jeremy were both in NBA camps and are playing overseas for money. Losing their talent and their leadership hurts a lot. Every team is different so we're still in the process of forming our identitiy for this season.

P.S. -- I've found your trout farm and the secret is out. I plan on many returns.

Do you think Axel Dench will be a physical enough inside player to compete against bigger, stronger, inside players on your schedule such as Kenyon Martin, Dan Gadzuric, and Brad Millard?

Mark Few: Jim -- I don't know of anyone that can consistently compete with those three, but Axel has done a great job beefing up this year and he seems primed for a big year. It will probably be a combination of people that will help him battle those big men, too. If you know of any other big bodies, too, we're open to tips.

Idaho Vandals
Hey coach. What do you think of regional rivalries with Washington State and Idaho -- have they lost their importance as Gonzaga has distanced themselves from their rivals?

Mark Few: Not at all. We look upon those game as big as any as we play because they are for bragging rights. We're well aware of the problems their programs present for us. We're looking for a typical rival type matchup with both of those teams.

Did Coach Monson offer you a postion on his staff in Minnesota or was it just assumed you were his successor?

Mark Few: It was assumed that I would be his successor, but he offered me the position of driver on his staff because he's known throughout the land as a rather poor navigator and driver. I've offered my services on my off days.

Big Dave
With all the publicity of academic fraud in major college basketball lately , has GU made any changes to ensure against such events happening there?

Mark Few: Well as Matt Santangelo put it last year, he wouldn't want any of the coaches here writing his papers. The combined GPA of our staff might add up to that of one of our players. Seriously, we're well aware of the problems that have gone on at other schools. The type of players we recruit generally aren't the type to have others do their work. Because we are so small, we are able to keep a pretty good handle on it.

Have you seen an improvement in Matt Santangelo since he played with the US National team this summer?

Mark Few: The first thing that stands out is that he is much stronger. I don't think that was from the games, but probably from his normal off-season workouts. The main thing I've noticed is his confidence. He knows he can play with anyone in the country. All those experiences with his teammates and the gold-medal team in Spain have done wonders for developing his confidence and overall mentality.

Mark Few: Thanks for all the questions. I hope everyone will continue to support us like they did during our run last year. Have patience through our monster schedule in December, too. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.



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