Gonzaga’s Rem Bakamus, Dustin Triano, and Connor Griffin have all been named as finalists for the Wooden Bench award.
GONZAGA UNIVERSITY, SPOKANE, WA– Gonzaga’s success continued Thursday as three Zags were named as finalists for the coveted Wooden Bench award.
Many believe that Rem Bakamus, Dustin Triano, and Connor Griffin have combined to make one of the most powerful benches in program history, but does one of them really have a shot at finally bringing home the most prestigious bench award in college basketball? ESPN analyst Gary Fordham believes so.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” Fordham tweeted on Thursday after the finalist list was revealed. “The Zags’ bench is too good. All 3 have a real shot. #WoodenBenchWatch”
After an impressive bench performance on Saturday against Iowa, it’s difficult to disagree with Fordham. Some are going as far as to call the trio the “John Stocktons of the bench.” Not all Gonzaga players are happy with the level of success the three have been seeing, however.
“It’s hard to watch three of your teammates become finalists for the Wooden Bench award when you’re stuck with nothing except being a finalist for the John R. Wooden award,” Commented teammate Kyle Wiltjer. “I mean, I’m happy for them, but it’s tough being so overshadowed.”
Of the three superstars, Bakamus has been viewed as the most likely recipient. While most remember Bakamus being a top 25 contender last year after an unbelievable air guitar performance, he was unfortunately cut from making the final list. This year, however, Bakamus has gone all-in trying to prove himself as the Michael Jordan of bench players, coming up with new ways to cheer on his teammates and even starting a “Walk-On Fraternity” for fellow bench players around the nation. His leadership hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Bakamus, the apparent leader of one of the most talented and deep benches in Gonzaga history, has played 16 minutes and scored 4 points, which are exactly the type of numbers we look for,” The Wooden Bench selection committee said in a written statement. “He not only stands up when a three-point shot goes in, but sometimes he does other things as well. That’s a large part of what we look for.”
When asked to comment on Bakamus, Mark Few declined an interview, saying he still had “no idea who the hell” that was.