College Basketball
Drew Timme Q&A: Talking with Gonzaga basketball's All-American senior
College Basketball

Drew Timme Q&A: Talking with Gonzaga basketball's All-American senior

Published Sep. 29, 2022 7:15 a.m. ET

By John Fanta
FOX Sports College Basketball Writer

His return to Gonzaga was one of the biggest stories of the college basketball offseason. There’s the All-American package of talent on the court. There’s the extremely profitable and marketable mustache. There’s his cool persona, but a badass personality that kicks his team into another gear when they need it.

Drew Timme represents everything that is right with college basketball in 2022, and his decision to return to the Bulldogs for his senior season should be celebrated. The 6-foot-10 superstar made his decision official in a simple tweet with just 46 minutes to spare on the June 1 NBA Draft decision deadline day.

Averaging 18.4 points, 6.8 boards and 2.5 assists per game, Timme's return will lock Gonzaga into the No. 1 or 2 spot in the preseason polls. During his time in Spokane, the Bulldogs are 90-7, but Timme has unfinished business on his mind: Winning the elusive national title for Mark Few.


That's not the only element behind his return, though. Timme is the poster child for the impact of NIL. He will make significantly more money while playing college basketball and getting a degree this season than he would have had he gone pro. He can stay in school, complete his education, seek out a championship and benefit from his name and image. That’s a total win-win situation, and Timme’s personality checks every box for him to cash out in a major way. 

Combine that with the fact that the Richardson, Texas product genuinely enjoys being at Gonzaga, not to mention the chance he could be a part of history, and Timme is on top of the world.

We caught up with the All-American this week in our latest FOX College Hoops Q&A.

How did the events unfold for you to come to a decision on June 1?

The whole thing was a cluster. There were a lot of phone calls. I had just gotten done with my final workout with Golden State the day before. I just had a lot going on, and a lot to digest and process. I really just needed a break. I needed a minute to relax, just to recharge my batteries and not make an impulsive decision. My parents gave the pros and cons of the situation. I determined that coming back was what I wanted to do. I felt it was the best thing for me. Once I figured that out, I went to the fridge, grabbed a couple beers, hit the Xbox, and de-stressed.

Favorite beer? 

Well, in Texas, it’s not a contest: Dos Equis. But they don’t have Dos Equis out here in Spokane, which sucks. But I’m not too picky. Whatever’s out there.

So, when you say your parents weighed the pros and cons, how did that work, and what were they saying? 

What we do in our family is, my parents lay out all the information when there’s a decision. They don’t care what I do as long as it makes me happy. They tell me their opinions. At the end of the day, it’s my choice. Your life, your journey, your take. That’s what they say. We’ll give you all the right ideas and provide some input, but they want me to know, "You’re a grown-up, and it’s your decision." I feel like I’ve had to make choices in my life. It may not always be easy, but it’s something I’m used to doing.

In an interview this summer, you called your mother Megan a "kick-ass mom." What makes her unique? 

I can’t think of any choice in my life, or any major event in my life without her. She’s always loving, and always helps me when I’m down. She’ll punish me. She holds me accountable. She will call me out, but she does it the right way. She’ll joke around with me, too. At the end of the day, she’s always been there for me through it all and has always put me first. That’s something I’ll always appreciate.

What makes Gonzaga a place you want to stay? 

It’s truly a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. We are the city’s pro team. You feel the love from the community. I think the other big thing for me is this: I definitely have a different personality when I’m playing and Coach tells me, "Be yourself, be confident." That’s not the case around the country for a lot of players. 

And another thing about Gonzaga … I like to go out and have a fun time, just be a normal person. I can go out around here, and there’s no cameras in my face. It’s not a spotlight at every single moment, we actually can enjoy ourselves. The people around this campus and community, they treat me like I’m a regular dude and I appreciate that.

What’s an early encounter with Mark Few that really established your relationship? 

One of the first times we furthered our bond, we’re working out in freshman year. Coach comes up to me and goes, "I only want you shooting right-handed because your right is much better than your left." I looked at him, and I was like, "Yeah, no." (chuckles)

In a game that season, I made a left hook shot, and he just looks and me and goes, "You jackass." I responded to him, and we started laughing about it. That was a pretty big moment for us. It established a trust. 

What makes Mark Few special?

He’s just different, man. The competitiveness that he brings out of us in practice every single day, that’s what makes him special. Our team is loaded. We have 9-10 starting players. Every day I walk into that practice facility, I still feel like I’m fighting to keep my spot. That’s Few. He makes the game easier to read, and it makes it much easier to read when you’re going against the guys that we have every single day.

How do you feel about playing Michigan State on an aircraft carrier in San Diego this November? 

I’m excited, but I’m a little nervous, too. You hope the sun will be out, I wonder what will happen if it’s windy. I don’t know how it’ll go, but I love Coach Izzo. He’s a super-good dude. He always has a great program, and it’s always great to play a program like that with a Hall of Famer. (I’m) looking forward to that matchup.

How did the mustache start? 

It all started around junior year of high school. I was tired of shaving and being told I looked like I was 12 years old. That s--- got tired for me. So I said, "F--- it. I’m doing a goatee or mustache before I shave again." It just stuck. I wore a goatee to a game one time and ended up having a pretty good game. It’s stuck with me ever since.

How many companies have contacted your agent seeking endorsement deals related to your facial hair? 

It’s been quite a few. My agent does a great job sifting through a bunch of stuff. Dollar Shave Club reached out last March and that was super cool.

How has NIL impacted college basketball? 

I would just say this: Look at all the dudes that came back because of it. Without NIL, Oscar (Tshiebwe) and I aren’t back. There’s a huge benefit of this. We’re able to get more money here by doing it than heading elsewhere. Look at the big matchups because of stars returning. I can’t wait to face Oscar and Kentucky this season. It raises the level of college basketball. I’m not in this position, but sometimes people have had to leave college basketball just to go make any sort of money for their families to make ends meet. NIL gives people a chance to stay in college, get better and develop while making money and earning a degree. Sometimes we’ve seen situations where people leave early, and what if they come back for one more year? What could it do for them? NIL opens up more doors in college sports. 

Let’s just say you went pro. How much would you have made this season? 

If I had to ballpark it, I would say $200,000-$500,000. If I could have been drafted where some better projections had me, it’s more.

How much will you make this season while staying in college?

I won’t get too far into specifics, but it’s going to be more. It will be more than that. 

What would it mean to deliver a national championship to Gonzaga?

It would mean the world to me. This program. Our coach. We would love to win it for everyone involved. It’s one of the last things this program needs, and it’s the only thing I want. It’s the only thing I dream about. That’s certainly easier said than done. You have to win one game, five or six times. It’s crazy. It’s something that’s obviously the goal. We want that more than anything else, but people take for granted how hard it is to actually win that (championship) game. It’s something that doesn’t define us though. If you end up just selling out for that, you take away everything good you have done. While it would be the cherry on top, it’s not the icing on the cake for us. If you look too far into it, you’re taking away so much of the things you’ve done to achieve success.

What differences will we see in Drew Timme’s game this year?

I hope you all will see a better defender. People like to scrutinize that part of my game, and I’ve listened. I’ve heard all that. I want people to see improvement on defense and rebounding. People have been on my case to stretch the floor a little more. I think the other thing is being more locked in for every single game. There are just some games where I don’t have to play as much because it’s not required. I want to change how I look at those scenarios.

With that in mind, what do you make of Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference as opposed to a Power 6 league? 

Obviously, conferences like the Big 12 and the Big Ten are two of the best in America and obviously, we’re not as good (in the WCC) but our conference is tough. It’s hard for us. It might not be as hard as what those teams in those other leagues deal with, but it’s still a challenge. We do play a hard non-conference schedule. Last year, the WCC had tournament teams. That was a great step for the conference. I don’t know, it’s pretty hard if you ask me. 

People will say, "You guys get a cupcake to the tournament." 1. That’s not true. 2. IF that’s really what people would think, so be it. Let them think that way.

What will determine just how much success this Gonzaga team has? 

I think our young guys are crucial. Nolan Hickman and Hunter Sallis could definitely have started last year. They were in limited roles just by virtue of the other guys we had on the team. Nolan learned a lot from Andrew (Nembhard) all year. He’s due for a breakout season. As for Hunter, the leaps and jumps from him this summer to now are impressive. He’s really had a great offseason and I think he could do big things for us. The (LSU) transfer, Efton (Reid), is huge for our program. He’s such a great player and a big help for our team. We have a combination of young guys and a foundation set. That’s huge.

Six-time NBA All-Star Jermaine O’Neal is your agent and was your coach in Dallas for AAU ball at one point. What kind of impact has Jermaine had on your life? 

So much. Jermaine has meant a lot to me. I played for him, and it’s so refreshing to have someone who genuinely cares about you and wants something for you. Look, coaching AAU and being a representative for us, it’s not the best investment for him because he could be doing something else. But that’s not Jermaine O’Neal. He loves the game. He loves to give back. Being my agent, he and his team (which includes Tracy McGrady) have been nothing but perfect. I trust those guys with everything that I have. Jermaine can kick my ass, hang out and tell me the truth always. He’s like another father figure to me.

What is the health and stage of college basketball in your mind?

I think we’re in a good place. I don’t think it’s perfect. NIL does have good and bad, but I would say it’s definitely going in the right direction. You see all the talent it brings in and keeps in the sport. Players want to stay more. There’s more good than bad. And for me, college is a pretty fun time. They say it’s the best four years of your life, and I can honestly say I love it. I love being a college kid. Not for 20 years or eight years like some people may think when they talk about me, but four.

Best concert you’ve ever been to? 

I love going to JMBLYA. It’s a hip-hop music fest in Texas. It’s awesome.

Who do you love listening to? 

Young Thug, Future and Young Nudy. 

Who would play you in a movie? 

Ben Stiller when he’s White Goodman in "Dodgeball."

Anything else? 

Yeah, the Cowboys are 2-1 now. Can you tell everybody at FOX to give my team some more love? I need some love for the Cowboys, man. We’re going to be OK. It was a rough Week 1 loss, but we’ve bounced back.

Read more:

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- Q&A: Tom Izzo is a constant in an era of change

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.


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