That's what Corey Kispert did that day at 9:08 a.m., when he tweeted a 36-second hype video along with the words, "Hey Spokane... guess what." The Zags' best player would be coming back to campus for his senior year, an all-American-caliber season.
THE RICH GET RICHER
SUGGS' IMMEDIATE IMPACTIt took less than 40 seconds for Gonzaga's freshman phenom to make his presence known. After forcing a turnover in transition, Anton Watson got the ball to Joel Ayayi, who threw up a lob that Jalen Suggs emphatically dunked home. The most highly touted recruit in Gonzaga history needed no time to adjust to the college level. Suggs put up 24 points and eight assists in his collegiate debut against the sixth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in a marquee midday matchup televised nationally on Fox. America was put on notice — the Zags' freshman point guard was for real.
NO PRACTICE, NO PROBLEMCOVID hit the program almost immediately, and after just three games the Zags had to hit the pause button. For 17 days in December the Zags were sidelined. No games, and almost no practice. Their first challenge after that layoff would be national player of the year favorite Luka Garza and his third-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. Gonzaga won 99-88.
In the months since, programs around the country have had to hit pause just like Gonzaga, and most have stumbled in their return to the court. Gonzaga, though, showed itself to be on a different level by blitzing one of the best teams in the country.
EVERY TEST PASSEDGonzaga wrapped up an undefeated regular season for the first time in program history with a win over Loyola Marymount on Feb. 27. There was no fanfare and no celebration. It was business as usual despite the historic accomplishment.
Ten days later, when they staged an incredible comeback against BYU in the WCC Tournament final in which they trailed by 14 points before winning by 10, the scene was very different. After two months of demolishing every team to cross their path, the Zags finally had an iron-sharpening-iron moment. It led to them cutting down the nets, and sent them into the NCAA Tournament without a single loss. ♦