With Gonzaga facing Baylor in the 2021 NCAA men’s college basketball national championship game Monday night, we’re revisiting a story on the Bulldogs from earlier this season.
Who are the top five players in Gonzaga history with ties to Washington high schools?
The criteria is straight-forward:
1. The player has to have finished a (D-1) college career.
2. Half the player’s rating comes from what he accomplished at Gonzaga, while the rest of it is split between what he did in high school, and what he did or has been doing as a professional.
SBLive Washington polled coaches, longtime school administrators and sportswriters before finalizing a top-five list:
1. JOHN STOCKTON
High school: Gonzaga Prep (class of 1980).
College tenure at Gonzaga: 1980-84.
Signature statistic or honor: He is the all-time NBA leader in career assists with the Utah Jazz with 15,806 – 3,715 more than runner-up Jason Kidd (12,091).
Skinny: Sometimes, the obvious No. 1 is too obvious for grading. Stockton is not only the best player to come out of Gonzaga – or Spokane – but the state of Washington as well. After breaking the city’s single-season scoring mark as a high school senior in 1980, Stockton tallied 1,340 points for the Bulldogs, and was named the school’s first WCC player of the year as a senior (averaged 20.9 points per game while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor). After that, he played 19 seasons with the Jazz in the NBA, and was named one of the 50 greatest players in league history.
2. ADAM MORRISON
High school: Mead (class of 2003).
College tenure at Gonzaga: 2004-06.
Signature statistic or honor: An electric scorer, Morrison is tops in Gonzaga history with 15 games of 30-or-more points.
Skinny: Many fans not only consider this Spokane native the best big-moment Gonzaga playmaker of all-time – but also the best to ever wear a Zags’ uniform. Based on his storied college career, it is hard to argue that point. The all-state forward with the Mead Panthers was an immediate impact scorer in college – and became the second Zags’ player to lead the entire NCAA Division I ranks in points-per-game average (28.1). And he usually saved his best games against blue-blood opponents. The All-American first-teamer was the No. 3 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, highest of any Gonzaga player ever. He has been part of two NBA championship squads.
3. DAN DICKAU
High school: Prairie (class of 1997).
College tenure at Gonzaga: 2000-02.
Signature statistic or honor: The Vancouver standout was the ninth Zags’ player to receive All-American honors – but first to be named a consensus first-teamer (2002).
Skinny: Did anybody see this coming? Yeah, Dickau was a first-rate point guard coming out of Prairie who spent two uneventful seasons at Washington. But once he made “The Kennel” his home at Gonzaga, Dickau elevated himself into an elite playmaker nationally. His 5.3 assists per game in his two seasons is a Zags’ high-water mark, and the 2002 WCC most valuable player’s 20.1 point-per-game career average ranks No. 3 all-time in program history. A first-round pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by Sacramento (eventually traded to Atlanta), Dickau played six seasons in the league.
4. CASEY CALVARY
High school: Bellarmine Prep (class of 1997).
College tenure at Gonzaga: 1997-2001.
Signature statistic or honor: As a 6-foot-8 two-way threat, Calvary is the Zags’ all-time leader in effective field-goal percentage (.619)
Skinny: If you are looking for the most recognizable face at the outset of the Zags’ remarkable run of 21 consecutive NCAA Division I tournament appearances – here is your guy. Some of that is defined by his career numbers – 1,509 points, 757 rebounds and a program-best 207 blocked shots. But his impact goes far deeper than that. Calvary was Gonzaga’s first rim-rattling, backboard-scraping frontcourt star to receive mainstream recognition as the Zags made their move into national relevance. As a pro, he was an Australian NBL all-star performer.
5. JIM MCPHEE
High school: Bellarmine Prep (class of 1985).
College tenure at Gonzaga: 1986-90.
Signature statistic or honor: One of the school’s all-time great scorers, McPhee is second in field goals made (753) and sixth in free throws made (414).
Skinny: There are a handful of Zags who could occupy this spot, notably NBA sharp-shooter Richie Frahm, top-10 all-time scorer Jeff Brown and guards Derek Raivio, Steven Gray and Gary Bell Jr. But even playing in a darker-day era, the nod goes to McPhee, a four-year starter who is one of just two Zags to eclipse the 2,000-point career scoring mark. (No. 2 at 2,015 points.) The three-time, first-team WCC guard had a monster senior season (23.6 ppg, 21 games of 20-or-more-points), was signed as an undrafted NBA free agent by the Seattle Supersonics in 1990, but eventually decided to go to law school.