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'They’re my family': Tommy Lloyd makes time for Gonzaga during WSU trip

Lloyd and his Wildcats stayed in Spokane on Wednesday night, which gave him some time to reunite with many people within the Gonzaga Athletics department.

SPOKANE, Wash. — "They’re my family, you know what I mean? It’s 22 years," Tommy Lloyd said while grinning ear to ear on Thursday after beating WSU in Pullman 72-60.

Lloyd was not, however, talking about the Cougars.

He was talking about the team an hour and twenty minutes up the road.

"We had a big group of people," Tommy said discussing the, for lack of a better phrase, family reunion he and many of his Arizona staff members had with faces from all over Gonzaga in a backroom at Jack and Dan's on Wednesday. 

"A bunch of people from the athletic department and both coaching staffs. It was great to see a lot of them face to face for the first time. Of course, I’ve talked to them, but, yeah, it was really nice," said Lloyd, who said this was his first time back in Spokane since accepting the Arizona gig.

As Tommy previously mentioned, the conversations in the Mark Few family tree are still free-flowing. 

Well, as much as they can be.

"Yeah, we talk. For sure, we talk. It’s hard not to. We’re probably not having as intimate, in-depth conversations that we used to have, but we’re definitely talking basketball. There’s obviously a familiarity. We speak the same language, the same basketball language. We know concepts that we both like to do, so yeah for sure," Lloyd said.

What Tommy has done though no other head coach has in Mark Few’s lineage. 

In his first year as the man in charge, he’s morphed his program into a No.1 NCAA Tournament seed.

"I haven’t given that any thought," Tommy said when asked what it's meant to him to be so successful in his first season. "I’m just locked in day to day. We’ve got a young team, we’ve got a young first-year head coach, and we’re just kind of experiencing it together. Honestly, I’ve never been good at reminiscing, so I’m not going to start now."

But what he may start having to do is looking forward, because he may have to play his former squad, in give or take a month, on the biggest of stages.

"I guess this year if we had to play them, we’d probably both be pretty happy to still be alive," Tommy said of potentially having to play the Zags in the NCAA Tournament. "It would obviously be great. I don’t know exactly how it would feel, but I think once the ball went up, I mean I would do the best job I could for my group and University of Arizona to win the game. It wouldn’t be much more complicated than that."

Families can be complicated, but it sure seems like the Mark Few clan is a happy bunch, and Tommy is happy to watch his former home flourish from afar.

"Great team," said Tommy of this year's Gonzaga squad. "Obviously, well-coached. Got a great plan and got great players. They look like they’re built for it."

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