Gonzaga head coach Mark Few got his team to the national championship game, only to lose to North Carolina. But even though they ended the season on a down note, Few plans to use that game as a building block for his returning players. As the Bulldogs get set to tip off the new season, Few joined The Jim Rome Show to talk about how that loss is still motivating his team.
“I think it really gave them an appreciation for what it really takes to run it all the way through to the last game of the year,” Few said. “They now understand, there’s obviously the hard work that goes into it. The building of roles, and chemistry, I mean we just had an amazing team last year.”
While Gonzaga averaged more than 80 points a game last season and always is known for its offensive productivity, Few’s also happy that his new team understands how important the Bulldogs’ defensive success was last season.
“One of the biggest impressions I’m happy of, and I hear them talking about this a lot, defensively, we were the number one defensive team in the country last year,” Few said. “I hear these guys reference that quite often and hoping to aspire to get back to that, because that was obviously a real big common denominator with our success.”
College basketball has had a difficult offseason with the shadow of an ongoing FBI investigation hovers over the sport. Few watches the story from afar, but also thinks it could end up being a positive for the sport.
“I think there’s a lot of things that are probably going to go down as this thing progresses. But I think in the long haul and in the end, this is going to be good for the game, and healthy our the game,” Few said. “I think we needed a purging of this.”
The 2017 AP Coach of the Year said that he’s always had a strong suspicion of other programs not playing by the rules. He also can’t help but wonder how many programs his team has battled have not been on the up and up.
“You look back and think of some of the teams that knocked us out on our runs, or ones that advance to the Final Four instead of us, it’s tough,” Few said.
The 54-year old admitted the FBI charges will make it easier to be more vocal about his suspicions moving forward and he hopes the same goes for other coaches and media members that cover the sport. He also believes that the NCAA needs punishments that fit the crimes.
“I think in the past, there’s been this unwritten rule that you never call people out,” Few said. “I think we as coaches need to do a better job of calling people out. We certainly need to make the rules and the penalties a lot of stiffer if you do get caught. I mean really stiff, like banishment from the profession, and postseason bans of up to three or four years.
“I think one of our biggest problems is we are going to take down your banner after you win the national championship. Well, that doesn’t do anything to anybody and people still benefit from the runs to these Final Fours and championships. So we need to collectively all do a better job.”