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Gonzaga's Few describes program's COVID-19 pause as 'the biggest challenge' of his career

Gonzaga will have their first team practice with all players in attendance on Thursday night since the day before the Baylor game was scheduled to be played.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Rest can sometimes be beneficial, but rest because of COVID? There aren’t many silver linings in that for Gonzaga head coach Mark Few.

"It has not helped us in any way, shape, or form," reflected Mark Few on the past few weeks. "Even to use the term monumental challenge would be doing it a disservice. This is probably, in the 20 years I’ve been coaching, the biggest challenge I think I’ve faced as a head coach."

In fact, Thursday night will be the first time the entire team has practiced together since the day before the Baylor game. On Wednesday night, a smaller group practiced, and Few didn’t mince words about it.

"It looked like our first practice in the fall with the balls going everywhere and people leaning over and grabbing their shorts because they were gassed. Hopefully it’ll come back quickly, but it’s definitely a huge concern," said Few, with a match up with third-ranked Iowa looming on Saturday.

Conditioning is the first thing that comes to mind as something that has taken a hit due to Gonzaga’s break, but Few said it has taken a toll mentally for his players as well.

"I don’t know that everybody understands just how isolated that they are from just being around other people, quite frankly. We’re isolated in our own group, and then when we have the situations that come up, they’re totally isolated in their room by themselves. It’s not easy, and it’s something we’re very much in touch with our guys about," said Few.

And so the Zags push on with a high ranked opponent next in Iowa, perhaps with an even more heightened sense of appreciation than when the season began.

"I’m just continually amazing about the resiliency, the drive, the dedication, the wherewithal that these guys want to keep playing. When they do get their opportunities, they are overjoyed to go out on the floor and be around each other and go out and play the game that they love," said Few.

Gonzaga plays against No. 3 ranked Iowa on KREM 2 on Saturday at 9 am PT. Tune in at 8:30 am PT for our Bulldog Madness special previewing the game.