Gonzaga basketball showcase: Memory lane crowded from past Kraziness events

<p><p>For what essentially boils down to a scrimmage, dunk contest and 3-point shooting competition, Kraziness in the Kennel has produced a lengthy list of memorable moments and impressed recruits, and provided a barometer on the health of Zags returning from injuries.</p></p><p><p>Here’s a look back at some lasting images from previous Kraziness in the Kennel events prior to Saturday’s festivities at the McCarthey Athletic Center.</p></p><p><h3>Krazy-good recruiting tool</h3></p><p><p>Anthony Black, a 6-foot-7 guard from Duncanville, Texas, ranked No. 25 in the 2022 class, is expected to visit to GU this weekend and attend Kraziness in the Kennel .</p></p><p><p>Kraziness is a prime opportunity to show off GU’s program, facilities, campus and passionate fan base to recruits.</p></p><p><p>Current sophomore guards Dominick Harris and Julian Strawther had already committed to Gonzaga when they were joined by then-2020 recruit Jalen Suggs and 2021 recruit Chet Holmgren in front-row seats on a recruiting visit at Kraziness in 2019.</p></p><p><p>Suggs eventually committed and became GU’s second one-and-done freshman – Zach Collins was the first in 2017 – after helping the Zags reach the national championship game last season. Holmgren, ranked No. 1 in the 2021 class and a high school and AAU teammate of Suggs, committed to the Zags about two weeks after April’s title game. He’ll make his debut in a GU uniform Saturday.</p></p><p><p>The Kennel Club gave the four a warm welcome back in 2019 and chanted “Tricky Trio,” the nickname for close friends Suggs, Harris and Strawther.</p></p><p><p>David Pendergraft, a Brewster High standout who committed to GU when he was 16, attended Kraziness in the Kennel in 2003. The standout from 2005-08 became one of the program’s most popular players.</p></p><p><h3>Slams, 3s, superman and Ronny</h3></p><p><p>There’s no shortage of items to highlight, so let’s cover as many as possible.</p></p><p><p>•It’s hardly a surprise Brandon Clarke won back-to-back dunk contests during his two seasons at a Zag (one as a redshirt after transferring from San Jose State). He chose No. 15 in part because it was number worn by big-time dunker Vince Carter.</p></p><p><p>Clarke gave fans a preview of his aerial abilities with Carter-esque windmill dunks, 360s and a spot-on impression of Dominique Wilkins’ signature double-pump, back-to-the-basket slam.</p></p><p><p>•Corey Kispert, who wrapped up his decorated career last season, never won the dunk contest, but he came close, including a runner-up finish behind Clarke.</p></p><p><p>“You know I finished second in the dunk contest twice,” Kispert often reminded interviewers when questions centered on his athletic ability.</p></p><p><p>Kispert brought his mom, Deri, out of the crowd to hold the ball, assisting on one of his dunks when he was a freshman.</p></p><p><p>•Silas Melson donned a Superman shirt and cape while winning the 2014 dunk contest. He defeated Connor Griffin in the finals.</p></p><p><p>•The 2020 Zags were young with six freshmen and two grad transfers. They weren’t quite sure what to do after the conclusion of the Kraziness scrimmage.</p></p><p><p>Head coach Mark Few reminded them that GU players routinely gather at center court and acknowledge the crowd after games, Kraziness, etc.</p></p><p><p>“We didn’t know if we should do it or not at Kraziness, but he reminded us,” then-freshman Drew Timme said.</p></p><p><p>•Gary Bell Jr., now GU’s coordinator of basketball operations, and Kevin Pangos formed a strong backcourt combination from 2012-15. Both hit over 40% of their career 3-pointers.</p></p><p><p>Bell won at least two 3-point contests and had the crowd roaring when he buried 13 of 15 in the 2012 finals.</p></p><p><p>Pangos went 6 of 6 from the field, 3 of 3 from distance, while scoring 16 points in the 2011 Kraziness scrimmage.</p></p><p><p>•Ronny Turiaf played in the 2005 scrimmage, roughly four months after undergoing open heart surgery.</p></p><p><p>Turiaf was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, who voided his contract after discovering his heart condition. He was in Spokane rehabilitating and wore protective padding over the incision while logging 16 minutes in the scrimmage.</p></p><p><p>“I tell Coach Few there are only two rules,” the affable Turiaf said. “I don’t guard (6-foot-9, 269-pound J.P. Batista) and J.P. can’t guard me. I’m trying to recover from heart surgery.”</p></p><p><h3>Healthy outlook</h3></p><p><p>Kraziness scrimmages have served as progress reports for several Zags returning from major injuries and/or surgeries.</p></p><p><p>Przemek Karnowski played in just five games early in the 2015-16 season before having back surgery. About 10 months later, the 7-1 native of Poland had 10 points, two assists and a block in the scrimmage.</p></p><p><p>He was a force that season as Gonzaga reached the 2017 national championship game.</p></p><p><p>Josh Perkins had off-season shoulder surgery and a lengthy recovery but showed he was ready for his senior year with a team-high 10 points in 2018.</p></p><p><p>Transfer guards Admon Gilder and Ryan Woolridge passed a big test in the 2019 scrimmage. Gilder didn’t play in the 2018-19 season at Texas A&amp;M due to a blood clot and Woolridge had kneecap surgery following his junior season at North Texas.</p></p><p><p>Gilder made three 3s and scored 14 points and Woolridge scored four points and had no turnovers in 14 minutes.</p></p>