Norvell Jr. On No. 1 Ranking: We're Not Relaxing

Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in the country, but the Bulldogs hope to accomplish much more

Tiki and Tierney
March 07, 2019 - 9:00 am
Zach Norvell Jr. Gonzaga

USA Today Images


While much of the college basketball world is consumed with Zion Williamson and when – or if – he will return for Duke, Gonzaga keeps humming along. The Bulldogs (29-2) are ranked No. 1 in the country, have won 20 games in a row, and – oh, yeah – beat Duke in November.

Still, this team is not a finished product. Gonzaga lost back-to-back games to Tennessee and North Carolina in December. Granted, those teams are both currently ranked in the top five, but how has Gonzaga changed since then?

“Our attention to detail,” Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. said on Tiki & Tierney. “Later on in the season, you’re starting to figure out how much teams know your plays and your sets. So trying to be dialed in to the scouting, trying to be the most physical team every night out is the most important thing. I think that’s what we picked up: trying to be the more physical team and (trying) to be the team that’s more prepared than the opposing team.”

Norvell is scoring 15.7 points per game for Gonzaga – one of four Bulldogs averaging double figures. He hopes to help Gonzaga to its second Final Four in three seasons, as the program has completely shed its underdog reputation and become a national power.

Mark Few, of course, has had a lot to do with that.

“One of the most humble guys in the world,” Norvell said of Few. “Somebody that’s just an amazing competitor. I don’t think I’ve met too many people like coach. He loves to compete, everything is a competition. Never settle and get better. If you think you’re coming to practice after being ranked No. 1 and you’re going to relax, you’re crazy. You’re coming in, you’re working – there’s a lot of teams out there, a lot of people think they can relax when they get ahead. But coach always comes in with a workers’ mentality, which we feed off of. The whole entire program is based around your work ethic. What you put in is what you get out of the game is something that he preaches as well.”