PROVO — Only one player’s name was chanted in the Marriott Center during Saturday’s showdown between sixth-ranked Gonzaga and BYU.

It wasn’t BYU favorites Elijah Bryant or Yoeli Childs. Not Gonzaga standouts Johnathan Williams or Josh Perkins, either.

Perhaps surprisingly, considering how last season went for the football team, it wasn’t even former star quarterback Taysom Hill, who received a loud ovation when introduced on the big screen.

To quote the 100 or so rowdy Gonzaga fans who were loud and proud high up in the packed arena during Bulldogs’ 79-65 win: “JES-SE WADE! JES-SE WADE! JES-SE WADE!”

That would be the Kaysville native, former Davis High hoops star, 2015 Utah Mr. Basketball and current Gonzaga freshman Jesse Wade — all of which is hard to get into a catchy chant than his three-syllable name.

“I heard them,” Wade said with a big smile in an upbeat visitors locker room. “They’re awesome.”

In addition to the Gonzaga loyalists, Wade said about 100 friends and family members were there to root him on, even some BYU students. He personally rounded up 10 tickets for loved ones — and all the better that he actually saw some rare playing time in front of them.

“It was really cool just to be able to play in front of a bunch of friends and family and against a bunch of my friends,” Wade said. “A really cool experience for me.”

The Zag contingent welcomed Wade to Provo midway through the first half when the freshman made his first appearance in three games and for only the second time in nine games.

The 6-foot-1 backup point guard played four scoreless minutes, missing his only shot from 3-point range but grabbing one rebound. He almost had a steal, but before he could establish possession it was ripped out of his hands. McKay Cannon then assisted …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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