Two Gonzaga players were in COVID-19 protocols following testing after Thursday’s win over Kansas and weren’t on the bench for Friday’s game against Auburn.
After the Bulldogs’ 97-60, GU coach Mark Few confirmed one player had tested positive. The two players were isolating in their hotel rooms in Fort Myers, Florida. Medical staffs from all four schools — Gonzaga, Kansas, Auburn and St. Joseph’s — deemed Friday’s games would be played as scheduled, according a GU statement.
Shawn Harris, father of Gonzaga freshman guard Dominick Harris, tweeted that his son was in quarantine after being in close proximity to a player that tested positive. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported that freshman Julian Strawther wouldn’t play in Friday’s game.
“Everything was handled through the tournament,” Few said after Gonzaga’s 90-67 win over Auburn. “Everything was followed exactly how it was supposed to be followed per the tournament, per Lee County and per the Florida health department.”
On Wednesday, one non-student-athlete in Gonzaga’s travel party tested positive and two other non-student-athletes identified through contact tracing were required to isolate in their hotel rooms.
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said the determination to play Friday’s game was based on the two schools’ medical staffs.
“Just leave that up to the doctors, whatever the doctors decided,” he said. “Both medical teams got together and felt like whatever testing protocols we had that Gonzaga had tested their players and the guys that were on the floor did not have COVID. We had tested also so you just do the best you can. I’m glad we worked together and glad we got the game in and I hope that nobody gets infected by it.”
COVID concerns have caused numerous cancellations and schedule changes with the season just three days old.
“It’s just kind of how the preseason has went. You just wait to get the news on testing and then you have to react and you have to stay agile,” Few said. “Guys have been incredibly diligent about following all the rules. We’re taking PCR tests, the gold standard. We react to whatever happens after the tests. I think it’s going to be like that all year.”
Harris played 3-plus minutes and Strawther played about 2½ minutes in Thursday’s win over Kansas.