Tyler Harvey was the only basketball with a Pacific Northwest connection who was drafted in the NBA. He was taken 51st in the second round by the Orlando Magic. Harvey was a shooting guard for Eastern Washington University, which makes him the second Eastern Washington player to be drafted in the NBA, preceded by Rodney Stuckey (see previous blog entry). As a college player, he averaged over 21 points per game in each of his previous two seasons.
I wrote this article, which was eventually published in the Seattle Times – With a possible Final 4 appearance looming large this weekend for the small Jesuit university of the Pacific Northwest, Gonzaga University and Mark Few, the university’s men’s basketball head coach, are the ideal ambassadors of the Pacific Northwest, symbolizing all that is good about the people of this region.
Few has always been more interested in his fly fishing outdoor quality of life than the fanfare. In a post game ESPN interview he says he is more interested in just hanging out with the supporters and playing basketball with the players he dearly loves and cares about.
And what will Few do after all is said and done? Elite 8 is good enough, a Final 4 appearance good too, and a national title would be just fine. But Few will not be lured by the glitz of the national basketball notoriety.
He will go back to the rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest, reflect on the joys of this year’s journey, tuck it away under a river rock somewhere. And this time perhaps, he will bring along a few young Canadians, an eastern European or two, city boys from Seattle and southern California, a rural kid from Idaho, and a lanky twittering Portland wonderboy. Sure, he mentored them on important things of life on the wooden turf, but this next lesson, “the four-count rhythm, the hope that a fish will rise” as described by Montana’s favorite son Norman MacLean, brings the life long lesson of the Spirit. It’s no accident that Few and MacLean were both sons of Pacific Northwest Presbyterian ministers and sons of the Rivers, which MacLean says are nearly indistinguishable.
And after confetti falls, the hype recedes, these Gonzaga boys will hold that in their heart and soul, and see that “all things eventually do merge into one and a river runs through it;” because Mark Few is first and foremost just another glorious fisherman, and fisher of men.
As edited and published in the Seattle Times, Sunday, April 12, 2015 (to expand to full size view, click on news image below):