The DIRT on SMU

WELCOME BACK TO THE “DIRT”-IEST BLOG FOR GONZAGA!

Ha. Ha ha. Funny. No but really, welcome back to the Dirt! After the game against Sacramento State a few days ago (34-point halftime lead? Even Thompson Rivers played better….), we hope you all have recovered enough to be ready for tomorrow night against SMU! This is one of our biggest games in the Kennel this season, and could arguably be the best home non-conference game we have this season. We think it’s a pretty big deal, and obviously you guys do too – welcome to your first Tent City of the year, by the way!

We hope you guys are keeping warm out there, and decided to give you guys a little bit of light reading! Make some signs, start getting excited, and remember – this game will be televised nationally on ESPN during primetime, and Monday Night Football will be over. When they say the College Basketball Tip-Off Marathon, our game is the very literal tip off to Tip-Off Marathon. So, be LOUD, be PROUD, be ZAGS!

Without further ado… Here is your handbook for Southern Methodist University!

  1. Southern Methodist University

SMU is a private research university within the city limits of Dallas, Texas. Their basketball program is of significant national relevance, with the Mustangs coming into the Kennel with a 1-0 record after cruising to a 93-54 victory over the Lamar Cardinals on Friday night. The 2013-2014 Mustangs just missed the NCAA Tournament, falling in the NIT finals to Minnesota. Side note: if the Zags and Mustangs were to play each other in football, we would still very likely win the match up despite the Zags not fielding a football team since 1942 – the Mustangs are 0-8 in football, the only D1 team to have failed to win a game this season.

  1. Stories of Triumph

While we understand this is a post meant to highlight embarrassing facts about members of the SMU Basketball team, there is one player is actually doing something remarkable, and we believe that it is important to highlight his efforts.

Jonathan Wilfong, a sophomore business major who wears #22 on the court, might be more well-known for what he does off the court. During his senior year of high school in 2012, Wilfong and Andrew Renshaw started a program called Coaching for Literacy in Memphis, which allows a participant to donate a sum of money in order to be an “assistant coach” at a sporting event. Donors receive locker room and press conference access, as well as seats directly behind the home team bench.

Now, it’s important to note that these are not events like high school football games. To date, CFL has sponsored events with the University of Memphis, Vanderbilt, Yale, Florida State, and the University of Mississippi. In addition, they have functional partnerships with programs closely tied to the NBA and MLB.

Providing the “assistant coach experience” is not simply a cool thing for the donors – all of the proceeds from donors help to fund effective literacy programs for elementary and middle school students. Now, you may find yourself asking questions, like Why do we care about something that the opposing team is doing? Cool, one of the players has a charity. Gonzaga has those too!

The important thing to remember is that we are a Jesuit community, committed to the pursuit of social justice. One in seven adults in America is functionally illiterate – this includes 63% of prison inmates, and 19% of today’s high school graduates. Yes, you read that right – of the high school graduating class of 2014, about 1 in 5 students who received their diplomas are illiterate. Improving literacy rates in elementary school children has been proven to increase quality of life down the road, not only for the individual but for their descendants as well.

Jonathan Wilfong has started something truly impressive, and Coaches for Literacy has sponsored over a dozen D1 basketball games since its beginnings in 2012. For more information on CFL, or ways to donate and help get involved, please visit their website for more information: www.coachingforliteracy.org.

  1. Let’s get down and Dirty.

So, one of the most notable stories coming out of SMU in the past week or so has been the ruling on a star player’s eligibility – Markus Kennedy was recently ruled ineligible, and, coupled with the loss of Emmanuel Mudiay, this should prove to take away a lot of the power behind SMU’s “power”-ful offense. The Mustangs dropped from a Top-10 team with Mudiay as a committed recruit to #22 after he left the country, and will likely not be moving back up in the rankings any time soon.

Back to Kennedy – he seemed to know for a while that this would likely be the end result of the beginning of his year at SMU, judging by this series of tweets:

Also – a little confused why he’s insulted by being removed from the intro video, considering he won’t be playing on the team any time soon? I know that this might come as a shocker, as I think the students down South at SMU aren’t exactly the smartest students in the city limits.

Take our next exhibit: Keith Frazier. Now, I know there’s such a thing as poetic license when it comes to grammatical normalcies, but for some reason this just doesn’t seem right.

And the thing is, they are ALL like this. Never have I seen “&” in the middle of a word so often. Now I’m not an English major so I don’t really know if the correct pronunciation of “h&ters” is something like hampersandters, but it sounds a lot like he’s trying to talk about hamsters or something. Also, I know it’s the hip new thing to use a Z instead of S almost every time you use the plural form, but for some reason I don’t think the trend applies when you are replacing an S in the middle of a word.

But hey, at least he supports the Green Dot program. Great news.

Also, speaking of the Mudiay family – just because Emmanuel left to go pro in China doesn’t mean the Mustangs are without a Mudiay on this year’s roster. The only problem is, that Mudiay is Jean-Michael: Emmanuel’s less-recruited, less-highly touted older brother…..who was activated to the roster this year from his position of a water boy.

I stated I’m not an English major, and I’ll add that I’m not a Psych major either, but I feel like being the older brother of a potential future number one draft pick would cause a little bit of sibling tension. Couple that with the fact that JM was elevated from water boy to semi-replacement for his far-more-desirable younger brother, and I feel like Thanksgiving would be a little awkward in the Mudiay house.

Few quick ones:

Ben Moore seems to be really excited about the game tomorrow, even though this picture has nothing to do with a squad…?

Sterling brown had the purple Justin Bieber Beats headphones back in the day:

That’s about it! See you guys in the Kennel tomorrow, can’t wait!

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