GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY

Dan Majerle on GCU basketball: ‘I hate being average’

Feb 11, 2019, 7:44 AM | Updated: 10:04 am
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)...
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Grand Canyon was a buzzer-beater from starting off WAC play 8-0. Then, the Antelopes fell in three-point losses to UT Rio Grande Valley and New Mexico State this past week. While a 14-9 overall record might not appear to be progress, the context of playing in an improving conference remains important for the Antelopes.

Within the state of Arizona, there’s this: GCU ranks immediately behind the Arizona Wildcats in NET rating at 85th in the nation and 13 spots behind Arizona State at 72nd.

Maybe calibrating the Antelopes’ success next to a down year for the Pac-12 isn’t proof of improvement, but head coach Dan Majerle feels this GCU squad, in its sixth year of Division I basketball, is his most talented team yet.

Still, Majerle is fighting for his team to take a leap. He wants to shed the average label.

“I think moderation is for cowards, I really do. If I do something, I do it all out,” Majerle told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station during Doug & Wolf’s Newsmakers Week.

“I hate being average. I don’t want to be average. I said right now, this weekend after we lost on Thursday, we had a chance to not be average. Our NET ranking was all the way up to 75. You know, we win on Thursday, we win on Saturday, maybe we’re top-60, 50, right there.”

Majerle, who has led GCU from the start of its Division I inception, hasn’t gone away from coaching with the same intensity that helped him become a first-round pick by the Phoenix Suns in 1988 and three-time All-Star.

He coaches with honesty and emotion. On the recruiting trail, he puts all of his cards on the table, telling high school kids that he’ll push them, even if it comes across brutally at times.

Average basketball? Majerle isn’t here for it.

“There’s plenty of times when I go home and I hate myself because I got great kids. I think I got too nice of kids. Really, really great kids and then I go home and I’ll have yelled and screamed and went off … I’ll go home and feel bad about it,” he said. “Like, that kid didn’t deserve that. And then I come to my senses. Yeah, he did. He did.

“I’ll come back to them … it’s not so much how I’m saying it … it’s just, ‘Listen to what I say.’ The biggest thing I say to these guys is, ‘When I stop yelling at you, when I stop caring and I’m (not) on you, that’s when you really should be in trouble because you know I don’t think you have it in you anymore.'”

QUOTABLE

Majerle on how college-aged players are different than his generation: “They’re different in the fact that they’re entitled. They think it should just happen. They don’t understand: Why I’m not playing well, or why am I not starting or why am I not getting it done? Why is this not happening to me? Because you’re not putting in the time.

“Don’t come up to my office and say this because you don’t know what I did to get where I went. I’m not impressed that you came here for an hour-and-a-half and practiced and then was the first one out of the gym and went and played Fortnite and woke up in the morning and played Fortnite again and walked in five minutes before practice started, took one shot, practiced … you have to put in the time.”

Grand Canyon University

Keegan Murray #15 of the Iowa Hawkeyes fouls Asbjorn Midtgaard #33 of the Grand Canyon Antelopes du...
Austin Nicholson

Report: GCU’s Asbjorn Midtgaard to play NBA Summer League with Magic

The Athletic's Shams Charania reported on Thursday that Grand Canyon center Asbjorn Midtgaard will play in the NBA's Summer League with the Orlando Magic.
2 months ago
NCAA President Mark Emmert. (AP Photo/Matt York)...
Associated Press

NCAA President Mark Emmert: It’s time to decentralize college sports

In a 30-minute interview with a small group of reporters, NCAA President Mark Emmert stressed he was not putting forth a mandate or even a recommendation.
2 months ago
Arizona's Ryan Holgate fields a hit by Vanderbilt's Dominic Keegan during the first inning of a bas...
Arizona Sports

All the Arizona-linked players selected in the 2021 MLB Draft

A trio of Arizona Wildcats outfielders, led off by Ryan Holgate, were selected in the early portions of the 2021 MLB Draft.
2 months ago
FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pi...
Associated Press

NCAA’s NIL era arrives, some athletes are ready to cash in

Athletes at the highest levels of college sports will be permitted to be compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness starting Thursday.
3 months ago
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

NCAA moving toward hyperlocal solution to NIL as placeholder

The NCAA is lurching toward a temporary, patchwork solution in addressing name, image and likeness compensation for athletes.
3 months ago
The Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)...
Associated Press

High court sides with ex-athletes in NCAA compensation case

The Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday that the NCAA can’t enforce rules limiting education-related benefits that colleges offer to student athletes.
3 months ago
Dan Majerle on GCU basketball: ‘I hate being average’