The Gonzaga men’s basketball team returned to campus Tuesday afternoon, one day after losing the national championship game to Baylor.
In non-Covid years the players and coaches might have returned to a boisterous welcome. This year, though, the response was muted as the university restricted public access to avoid the potential spread of the virus.
The first loss of the year in the season’s final game may still sting. Coach Mark Few addressed that Monday night in his post-game comments.
“You just, as a coach, try to give them as much perspective as you can and, as usually is the case with everything, time will lend them the best perspective. They’ve just been an amazing, unbelievable group and I just told them they’re so easy to coach and so easy to travel with and so easy to deal with all this Covid stuff that we dealt with all year," he said.
That Covid stuff forced a two-week interruption in the first half of the year. Several games were cancelled and added.
The pandemic also changed the dynamics of this year’s tournament. Players spent more than two weeks cloistered in Indianapolis, their movements and access to fans restricted.
With the season over, the question is now which players that still have eligibility to play next season will come back and which will decide to pursue professional careers.