GLENDALE, Ariz. --- The Gonzaga basketball team has consistently played well and impressed this season. The road to the championship, the team says, can at least be partially attributed to a camping trip they took together before the season began.

“It was a super cool and fun experience,” said Nigel Williams-Goss. “For a lot of us, it was our first time camping I know it was mine.”

When a reporter asked Coach Mark Few this week about what he learned about his guys on the camping trip, he said “how soft they were.”

“It concerned me greatly at that time,” he said, laughing. “I had no idea we were going to end up here. Based on my observations then I would’ve put a lot of money on that it wouldn’t happen.”

The team apparently went for a walk in the woods late at night and it was that experience that stuck with them.

“The night walk was basically maybe 25 yards down to the lake and it’s being described as this, you know, epic journey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon,” joked Few. “It was not that; it was a nice kind of groomed trail.”

“You know, I’m kind of scared of the dark,” Josh Perkins said of the experience.

“It’s amazing that they would be so frightful of being out in God’s country and dark where there’s absolutely nothing that could do anything to them,” said Few.

“Yeah, not my usual outdoor experience but it helped!” said Few. “It really was big. Because it set us on the path that we needed to go on, you know? We had all these guys coming from different entities, different ideas different needs.”

“That was the theme of the trip, you know, ‘getting comfortable with being uncomfortable’ and that’s something that we still call back onto to this day,” recalled Nigel Williams-Goss.

One of the big concepts of that trip was ‘sacrifice,’” said Silas Melson. “Everybody made a sacrifice to fit their role and I think that when you are willing to accept your role, that’s when you’re able to gel together and build a championship team.”

I think that it was no coincidence that we did it this year with all the new pieces and the new faces,” said Williams-Goss. “It really laid the foundation for this whole year.”