LAS VEGAS – It’s essentially become an annual ritual for Gonzaga to travel to a prestigious holiday basketball tournament.
That’s created another GU tradition with coaches, staff, players and their families gathering for a holiday meal, no matter the locale or if Thanksgiving falls on game day.
That tradition took a one-year hiatus last season due to COVID-19 protocols when the Zags thumped Kansas in the season opener on Thanksgiving Day in Fort Myers, Florida.
When the tradition returns Thursday, it should bring together a large dinner party with nearly every player having family members attending at least one of GU’s three games this week at T-Mobile Arena.
“It’ll probably be as big of a contingent as we’ve been able to have,” GU assistant coach Brian Michaelson said. “Thankfully, most of the players have family here.
“We’ll just do a big meal at the hotel, try to get everybody in there and enjoy a little time together. Wherever we are, Hawaii, Bahamas, we always try to get everyone together.”
For Drew Timme’s family, Thanksgiving means great food, naps and watching the Dallas Cowboys, who entertain the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday.
“It always involves the Cowboys, that’s first and foremost,” said Megan Timme, Drew’s mother. “Then we have all the turkey and dressing and eat about three times and take about five naps. Tons of family, usually 15 to 20 people.”
The Timmes attended Drew’s games in Florida last year, but weren’t able to eat with the team. The year before, they enjoyed the team’s holiday meal in the Bahamas during Drew’s freshman season.
What’s on Thursday’s itinerary?
“Hopefully, it will still be a little bit of the Cowboys and hopefully a win,” Megan said. “Hopefully, we’ll get to eat with the kids and just enjoy getting ready for the next game (Friday against No. 5 Duke). Drew is working that out (watching the Cowboys’ game). He said he’s working that out himself. All the families are so great. It’s a great extended family.”
Michaelson did some quick math on the coaching staff’s families.
“I have three, Roger (Powell Jr.) has four, Steven (Gentry) has two, and our kids are all little,” Michaelson said. “That’s nine little ones. Coach Few’s four are a little older. It’s going to be great to be there with the whole team and the families.”