Bob Huggins – Gonzaga for “wake-up call” if he joins the Big 12

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins isn’t convinced Gonzaga, a powerhouse in recent years, will maintain his success if he moves to the Big 12, one of America’s premier men’s college basketball leagues.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Wednesday that Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark and Gonzaga athletic director Chris Standiford recently met in Texas to discuss the possibility, which would make the Big 12 a league that would rival and likely surpass any other in men’s basketball.

“I think it would be a great wake-up call for Gonzaga. [to join the Big 12]“, Huggins told reporters Thursday.

Sources also told Thamel that the Pac-12 and Big East also “engaged with” Gonzaga, but the extent of those conversations is unknown.

Throughout his run as a star in men’s college basketball for the past 20 years, Gonzaga has been looked down upon by Power 5 coaches who openly questioned whether the program could replicate that success at a major conference. Beginning in the 1999-2000 season, coach Mark Few failed to win the West Coast Conference regular season title – or at least part of it – only twice (2000 , ’12), but the program did not win a national championship.

Gonzaga’s supporters, however, argue against his consistency, his recent NCAA Tournament record and the number of NBA draft picks he’s sent to the next level. Gonzaga has played in two of the last five national championship games. And since 2014, the program has not missed the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

The school also produced 11 first-round NBA draft picks under Few.

West Virginia has produced a first-round pick in the draft since 1968. But the Big 12 has been one of America’s top leagues for the past decade, and two of its members, Baylor and Kansas, have won the last two national championships. Houston’s arrival in 2023 will only add to the league’s talent pool.

This gauntlet — Big 12 teams currently play every other team in the league twice during the conference schedule — is one of the toughest rosters in college basketball.

“To come into this league and play who we play against day in and day out, I think that would be a great wake-up call,” Huggins said of Gonzaga. “You can’t create your own schedule in the Big 12.”

Leave a Comment