Gonzaga’s Tommy Lloyd finds fulfillment in watching son win state title after Bulldogs’ victory at Saint Mary’s

March 3, 2019

MORAGA, Calif. – Tommy Lloyd may have been the only one to beat the millennials on Gonzaga’s basketball team to a cellphone Saturday night after a comfortable win for the Bulldogs over Saint Mary’s at McKeon Pavilion.

As Mark Few’s top assistant was on the bench guiding the top-ranked Zags to a 69-55 victory over the Gaels that clinched an unbeaten WCC season, Lloyd’s high-school-aged son was preparing for a meaningful basketball game of his own way up north in Tacoma.

Not long after the Zags got done with the Gaels in Moraga, Liam Lloyd and Gonzaga Prep were tipping off against Mount Si in the Washington 4A state title game. As GU players were filing out of the visitors’ locker room, Lloyd was holed up in the coaches’ dressing room, glued to an NFHS stream of the championship tilt.

“They’re going to have to delay the flight so I can see as much as possible, or hopefully we get off to a good start and I feel good about it by the time we take off,” Lloyd laughed. “Got the game taped at home, so I’ll watch it later.”

He’ll like what he sees: G-Prep rode a strong surge in the second half to run away with a 69-43 win that gave the Bullpups their second consecutive state title.

GU’s coaching staff held a makeshift viewing party at the lobby of the team hotel in nearby Walnut Creek to watch Liam, Zags signee Anton Watson and G-Prep fend off Federal Way 61-53 on Friday night. Liam Lloyd paced the Bullpups with 21 points, on four 3-pointers.

Dad’s assessment? Good, for the most part.

“He played really good,” Lloyd said. “Got hot, made some 3’s early. Maybe had a couple questionable decisions getting a technical foul that kind of hurt him and hurt his team. But overall, it was pretty awesome.”

Liam, a junior at G-Prep, is slowly becoming one of the top high school prospects in the greater Spokane area. He holds an offer from Eastern Washington and has interest from a variety of other Division I programs, including Air Force, Northern Colorado, Idaho State, Grand Canyon and UC Santa Barbara.

“I think this spring and summer it’ll start heating up a little bit more, and we’ll see what level he is,” Lloyd said. “He’s got a little bit of interest, but our focus is just on him having a great experience, which is getting better, and we’ll figure out the next step.”

Hours before the Bullpups claimed the golden ball in Tacoma, Lloyd compared the experience of watching his son win a potential title to riding on Gonzaga’s bench amid another historic season.

“Obviously it’s different when it’s your son, but you love these guys like your own kids, too, so when you’re watching your son you don’t have as much direct impact,” he said. “When you’re coaching the game, it’s hard to get emotional. When you’re watching your son play, the ebbs and flows are a little tougher.”

Either way, dad got the best of both worlds Saturday night.

“I’m proud of him no matter what, but I know what their goal is,” Lloyd said. “It’s been the goal since day one last year, so I’m hoping for him he can create a great life memory today.”

And it happened, just as scripted.