The wait is over. Saturday’s Kraziness in the Kennel finally gives fans a chance to experience some Gonzaga men’s basketball — even if it’s not a real game.
The environment at Kraziness does it best to emulate that of a real Zag basketball game and incorporates some unique elements, like all players descending down The Kennel bleachers to high-five fans while accompanied by smoke and lights.
Saturday is the best way for freshman to get acquainted with the elements of the cheering in The Kennel. To be ready for "Zombie Nation" and truly get crazy, there is no better place to learn than at Kraziness.
For those experienced in The Kennel, Kraziness is a lesser draw. The majority of fans will be freshmen, and the event is not much more than a practice game.
If the main reason you go to basketball games is for the experience and you’ve attended a game in The Kennel before, there’s not much you’ll miss. Besides the names of new players, not much will be different from last year’s event.
However, for fans who live and breathe everything about GU basketball, Kraziness is your best chance to get a look at how this year’s squad will shape up before its first game against Lewis-Clark State, an exhibition, on Nov. 1.
This year’s team has as much intrigue as almost any in GU history. The men’s basketball program is at its highest point, with last year’s team reaching the Elite Eight for the third time in five years.
What adds to the intrigue is this year’s teams will bear little resemblance to the 2018-19 Elite Eight team. Four starters, Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke, Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins have all moved on to the NBA. Two other rotation players, Jeremy Jones and Geno Crandall, graduated. Only junior Corey Kispert, senior Killian Tillie and sophomore Filip Petrusev return with significant minutes at GU under their belts.
Kraziness is the first look at who will be tabbed to replace them. This year’s recruiting class might be the best in GU history. Top-50 recruits Drew Timme and Anton Watson headline a big man-heavy class that will seek to compliment Tillie and Petrusev.
After an injury-riddled junior year, a healthy showing for Tillie in the scrimmage section of Kraziness can help assure GU fans that the senior is ready to go for his final season in Spokane.
The guard position offers even more uncertainty as this will be the first Kraziness in five years without Perkins. Saturday is a chance to see graduate transfer guards Admon Gilder and Ryan Woolridge run the show for the first time during the intrasquad scrimmage.
Though the scrimmage gives fans a semblance of basketball, the team has only practiced for a couple weeks and the flow of play reflects that. After the first few minutes of excitement, only those who pay close attention to players will find much interest.
Arguably more exciting than the scrimmage are the competitions that precede it. Sharpshooters will showcase their jumper in a 3-point competition. One likely participant includes freshman guard Brock Ravet, who was renowned in high school for his deep range that led him to become the all-time leading scorer in the state of Washington.
For those more a fan of attacking the rim, the dunk competition, a recent addition, will showcase some of the team’s best pure athletes. At Kraziness two years ago, fans got their first glimpse of Brandon Clarke’s elite athleticism, which he showcased last year on his way to become one of the best players in college basketball.
It is observations like these that makes Kraziness valuable for fans interested in how this year’s team stacks up. For the more casual fans, it is something that should be experienced at least once for Zags, as it is a distinct event that only rolls around once a year.