They often imitate opponents to give the starters practice against their next foe. Each has his strengths and areas that need work. These are tough, competitive guys who are used to doing battle on the court in real games, but instead, they have chosen to focus on sharpening their skills or bulking up or adding new dimensions to their games, foregoing a full year of real game competition.
Gonzaga has a lengthy tradition of developing players, of turning out much-improved athletes who have opted to redshirt and adjust to the college level out of the public eye.
Bryce McPhee, Jim McPhee, Scott Spink, Mike Nilson, Ryan Floyd, Mark Spink, the list goes on.
Zags Hoops recently caught up with the progress of the 2001-2002 redshirts and it goes as follows:
RICHARD FOX-- "He has bought into changing his body." Richard, a 6'11" transfer from Colorado, arrived at Gonzaga last summer and has since lost about 40 pounds. He is lean and hitting the weights with a newfound conviction and determination. And positive results are already showing. His footspeed is much quicker now, he can execute moves that he was unable to earlier. Fox has soft hands around the basket and simply eats up space in the paint, but he is money out to the free-throw line with his jumper and has decent accuracy out to the arc. Richard also has a great feel for the game and is an adept passer ("from big to big inside"). A lot of excitement about this center.
DUSTIN VILLEPIGUE-- He is a legitimate 6'9" and "can really run the floor," which translates into finishing on the frastbreak. Dustin has good strength and will add some weight but the staff likes what they see. His footspeed is quick for a man his size and he's a solid defender. "He has a nose for the ball" and "is a great loose ball pursuer." On the offensive end, Villepigue has dramatically improved his shots from when he first stepped in campus and has developed an effective hook shot out to the 12 to 15 feet. Dustin's biggest challenge is to learn to shoot over other tall post players, and that's what he is concentrating on now.
JOSH REISMAN-- There is a lot of excitement about this 6'1" combo guard. He and Winston Brooks are the two fastest/quickest Zags on the team. Josh has been filling it up as a 2 guard ("catch and shoot") from three-point land and mid-range to slashing into the paint and to the basket as a point guard. His shot has steadily gotten to the point where it is accurate from just about anywhere this side of midcourt, but it's Josh's quickness on defense that might be generating the most buzz. Cat-quick, he will be a welcome addition to the backcourt next year. Reisman's biggest challenge is his decision-making skills. Another attribute is an amazing vertical leap. He could be a very good rebounding guard.
TYLER AMAYA-- He has grown an inch to 6'7" and is up to 205 pounds, 15 more than last September. Amaya is a super athletic wing who spent his high school career playing inside but now is adding an outside dimension to his repertoire. "He will surprise you," was a frequent comment. Tyler has burned the first-team starters many times with unexpected three-point jumpers that are hitting with more and more frequency. Gonzaga believes he can guard the 1, 2 and 3 positions if he keeps working on his footspeed, something that has already shown marked improvement. Amaya is an aggressive type who loves to take it to the hole and can get a little wild and crazy with all of that pent-up athletic ability, but the coaches are letting him play--they love and need that aggressiveness--while slowly filtering in good decision-making skills. With an impressive vertical, Amaya will be a force on the boards and also is quick to rundown loose balls.
COLIN FLOYD-- "Sneaky," is the word that kept coming up. He's deceptive. Colin is a "sneaky" passer. Colin will "sneak" by a defender. He has a "sneaky" shot that has shown steady improvement. Colin is a combo guard who can handle the ball as well as shoot it from anywhere. Modest and unassuming, Colin's biggest challenge will be to develop a "killer instinct." Playing inside for his high school team bodes well for him being a good rebounding guard. He is fast and runs the floor well, and he posseses a good understanding of the game, ie, court savvy.
ADAM TROMBLEY-- At 6'9", Adam is a tough banger who has good range out to 17 feet or so. His redshirt practices have been put on hold as he underwent shoulder surgery and he won't be able to play for some months yet.
PATRICK NAMES-- Patrick is a 6'2" guard who has had a run of unfortunate luck. Two years ago he tore an ACL in football and was forced to miss his senior basketball season. Late last summer he thought he sprained his other knee, but later learned he tore his other ACL. A good shooter, Names hasn't had a chance to show his stuff, but he hails from the same high school that Casey Calvary and Bryce and Jim McPhee came from.