Drew Timme after playing in final Gonzaga game: 'This isn't goodbye, this is see you later'
By Edward Sutelan,2023-03-26
For the past three years, it would be impossible to think about Gonzaga men's basketball and not immediately think Drew Timme. The facial hair. The clutch shots. The countless awards racked up. Timme has been the face of Bulldogs' basketball.
Next season will begin the new era of Gonzaga basketball without him at the forefront. Timme's collegiate career came to an end on Saturday as the No. 3 Bulldogs were ushered out of the NCAA Tournament in an 82-54 thumping at the hands of No. 4 UConn in the most lopsided defeat since Timme arrived ahead of the 2019-20 season.
If there was one bright spot in the Bulldogs' defeat, it was that the margin gave Mark Few the chance to give Timme a curtain call to end his collegiate career.
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Reflecting on his time with the Bulldogs, Timme said he was thankful the program took him in as he was and embraced him. He credits Gonzaga with helping make him who he is today, and that he is "forever in debt for Gonzaga."
"Just the love I have for just everyone that helped me and made this journey so special and so fun, I just don't think I can ever repay that," Timme said. "And while this ride might not have ended how we wanted it to, it's more about the journey, the relationships, the good, the bad, the ugly. That's what makes these things so emotional is how much you put into something."
Timme has put together a remarkable career. He is the program's all-time scoring leader and set an NCAA Tournament record with 10 separate games in which he scored at least 20 points. He entered the game having scored 85 points, the most for any player in the field.
His sendoff was likely not what he, or college basketball fans, might have expected. He scored nine points in the first half, but a fourth foul with 17:39 left in the second half forced coach Mark Few to set him on the bench. By the time Timme returned, the Bulldogs were facing a 21-point deficit. He finished the game with 12 points.
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Few said he didn't see the play and added that he didn't watch it on replay because it "was what it was." Timme said there was no sense speculating as to what might have happened if the foul hadn't been called.
"We can say, 'Well, what if,' right. 'What if they didn't call a foul?'" Timme said, "but the bottom line is they were the better team tonight. They made more shots, they got the 50/50 balls. So regardless of whether we want to say, what ifs, the refs did not control that game as unfortunate as it may have been. They were the better team tonight."
What Few did say was just how much Timme meant to the Gonzaga program. He called him "one of the greatest college players in this modern era." He praised the success the team has found under Timme and said this run to the Elite Eight would not have happened without him in the lineup.
"He's a bigger than life character. Like he said, he was himself the whole time here. It was a blast to coach him," Few said. "It was a hell of a good time walking out on the practice floor with him every time or hopping on a jet and I'm sure we're going to have a lot of good times moving forward. It's been quite a ride. I hope everyone remembers him for the great competitor he was and just the awesome player that he was."
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Timme has one remaining year of eligibility left, but lauded as an NBA Draft prospect and coming off his true senior year, he had already made clear he would be closing this chapter of his basketball-playing career when the season came to an end.
“I’ve done my four years,” Timme told The Athletic's Seth Davis in February . “I’m a senior, and I’m moving on.”
But while Timme might officially be leaving behind the small school in Spokane, Wash., he said he doesn't expect to be gone entirely.
"This isn't a goodbye. It's a see you later. I always want to be around the program, Coach [Few], like it's a special place. It's a special program," Timme said. "I wouldn't want to do this with anyone else. I loved it here."
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