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Archive for Saturday, December 13, 2003

Gonzaga on tap for MU, Snyder

December 13, 2003

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— You call this a homecoming? With all the strategy sessions, Missouri coach Quin Snyder won't have time to visit old pals as his No. 3 Tigers prepare for No. 17 Gonzaga.

"This game's going to be a bear," Snyder said Friday. "Watching them play, they got caught early by a St. Joe's team that is awfully good. Gonzaga, right now, is ahead of a lot of teams."

The Tigers (3-0) and Bulldogs (6-1) face off today at KeyArena.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has been trying for years to set up a neutral-court game in Seattle, where the Zags crashed the national scene in 1999 with wins over Minnesota and Stanford to reach the NCAA Tournament's Round of 16.

"I've had so many of our former players, alums and friends getting after us to play a game over here," Few said. "We're just hoping it draws well and makes for an exciting afternoon."

It added another story line for organizers that Snyder grew up in Mercer Island, just across Lake Washington from downtown Seattle.

Back in 1985, Snyder was a senior at Mercer Island High, which was ranked No. 1 in national prep polls. Gonzaga's basketball program was barely on anyone's radar, other than pro scouts who knew of then-NBA rookie John Stockton.

"It feels great to be back," Snyder said. "I have a lot of fond memories in this city, growing up here, and a lot of family and friends. Anytime you get a chance to come home, it's terrific."

It's been a tough week for the Tigers, with the disclosure that troubled player Ricky Clemons said in taped jailhouse phone calls last summer that he and two current players received cash from assistant coaches.

Snyder said Friday none of the allegations made public this week were new to anyone within the program. He refused further comment, however, citing the ongoing investigation.

Snyder made a point of saying the matter wouldn't distract his team.

"We've had the spotlight on us quite a lot lately," Snyder said. "We're used to it."

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