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The Aquilian

Gonzaga basketball: A look into its future

Nyk+Lewis+25+and+Blake+Harper+24+celebrate+basket%2C+showing+the+bond+that+the+two+share+on+and+off+the+court.
Nyk Lewis ’25 and Blake Harper ’24 celebrate basket, showing the bond that the two share on and off the court.

Basketball and sports, in general, tend to focus on success right now rather than success in the future. However, the most successful teams have found a way to do so by focusing on both the present and the future. Coach Stephen Turner and the Gonzaga basketball team have not only set themselves up for success this year, but their work may be setting them for an even more successful 2024-25 season. 

As of Jan. 30, the team currently has a 19-3 record, is number seven in the country per MaxPreps and is number two in the DMV area per MaxPreps. This success might be most directly attributed to a big admissions move. Christian Gurdak ‘25, after transferring to Gonzaga from Paul VI, has made this team a complete one. Gurdak has increased all of his numbers from last year and fully developed into a star. 

“Having the ability to have a presence on both ends of the floor both offensively and defensively, helps us a lot in our matchups against the stronger teams in the region,” Coach Turner said.

In Nyk Lewis ‘25, Derek Dixon ‘25, Will Harper ‘25 and Alex Touomou ‘25, Coach Turner has assembled a very talented and experienced junior starting lineup, setting them up for a lot of success next year. Additionally, both the freshman (15-0) and junior varsity (18-0) teams are still undefeated this year, making Coach Turner’s expectations for next year high, hinting at the team’s untapped potential.

“It goes well that we’ve got some guys that are going to be able to come up and fill the spots that are gonna be vacant from the graduating seniors,” Coach Turner said. 

That’s not to say that the seniors won’t be missed, because they certainly will. With five seniors on the roster, that’s a lot of players who are going to be missed next year. The graduating seniors, including captains Mikey Williams ’24, James Gardiner ’24 and Blake Harper ’24, provide irreplaceable leadership and skill, which will challenge the team to find new leaders among the younger players.

“They push us to become the best versions of ourselves,” Dixon said.

The seniors’ leadership is crucial, and equally important are their on-court contributions—plays, statistics, and hustle—that will be challenging to replace from players like Harper (Howard commit), Connor Amorosi ‘24 (Washington and Lee commit) and Jack Gatjanis ‘24 (Colby College commit). Coach Turner describes the unique strengths brought by each of the seniors on the team.

“Their understanding of their role on this team and their willingness and ability to accept that they are coming off the bench and fill in for a guy that they may look at as an underclassmen is our strength,” Coach Turner said. “I think they’re willing to sacrifice for each other and that’s why we’re sitting at 19-3, top two in the area and top 10 in the country.”

With varsity players excelling and young talent emerging, Gonzaga is poised for success. The team has set the stage for an outstanding season now and a promising future.

 

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