Two Yakima Hoopsters helped pave the way for Gonzaga's success

Gonzaga at the Big Dance. It's just expected.

But, let me take you back Old School Zags style, when earning an NCAA invite made GU history.

Everybody loves the Zags. Everybody knows the number one team in the country. But, turn back the clock 18 years before all this a Gonzaga team, not even picked to finish high in its own conference....overcoming incredible odds to make it to the NCAA's....making Bulldog history. That's west valley high boys coach Jon Kinloch in that 1995 opening round game against Maryland. On the same GU squad, former West Valley girls coach Jason Rubright.

Jason Rubright " It was fun. We all enjoyed it. I think the way we started the season and the way we ended the season made it that much better. To make it to the tournament, and, to be the first team to make it to the tournament."

today's success of gonzaga basketball.....made possible by that '95 it all rolling. Put GU on the map....made all the difference in recruiting. Opened the door for signing of stars matt santangello, casey calvary and richie frome who fours later led the Dogs from Spokane to the Elite Eight.

John Kinloch "Obviously from then on from a recruiting standpoint, gotten pretty much anything they wanted. But, it took something like that to get it started."

Both local stars from that trailblazing '95 team really like the guys of 2013.

Jason Rubright "It brings back a little bit of some older school Gonzaga b-ball. They're tough, tough minded. In talking to some of the coaches, they're a real close knit group of guys. Don't have any issues off the court. They got a good solid focus on what they want to do."

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has built an amazing program. Came on board back in the 90's under then boss Dan Fizgerald, who both Jason and Jon credit for getting it all started in the right direction. 2 nits and an ncaa berth in a span of three years. It's come so far that now the Zags will be judged on whether they make it to this year's Final Four. I know two guys who will cherish their experience at the dance forever....who'll be rooting on this team....all the way.

Jon Kinloch "As an Alum I think it's hard not to if they were even to go further than either of us had in a bracket, you'd got a much worse than going with your heart."