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Denver • Gonzaga coach Mark Few can relate to what BYU coach Dave Rose is going through this year in relation to having a superstar on the team that dominates the basketball on the court and the headlines off of it.

The Bulldogs' 2006 team featured Adam Morrison, who didn't quite reach the same rock star status that BYU's Jimmer Fredette has, but was close. Morrison won three national Player of the Year awards.

"Well, Dave's got it made dealing with Jimmer as opposed to dealing with Adam," he joked. "Jimmer is a nice, smooth, paved road as opposed to Adam, [who is] like something you travel in the Baja 500, or whatever that race was called."

Few later clarified that he was joking about Morrison and said he would coach Morrison "every year, if I could."

Fredette said he has never met Morrison, but is very familiar with what he did at Gonzaga.

"He was a great offensive scorer," Fredette said. "He was very, very aggressive [doing] that. That's the way I try to be, as well."

As the NBA Draft approaches and Fredette's possible future in that league is the subject of nationwide debate, BYU's star is often compared to Morrison, who is now out of the league.

Rose expressed appreciation for Fredette if Saturday's game is the last time he gets to coach the leading scorer in school history.

"What he has done for our program and what he's done for our university, just our ability to bring BYU's brand to everyone across the country [is noteworthy]," Rose said. "I mean, he's a special player. It has caught the hearts of the country. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to coach him."

Favorite sign

OK, now it can be told. Of the dozens and dozens of signs made about Fredette this season, the BYU senior's favorite is: "Fredette About It."

Asked about that Friday, Fredette said the experience has been "fun."

"There's been so many great signs, clever things that people have done this year," he said. "I always like the phrase 'Fredette About It.' That's funny, me being from New York, knowing a lot of Italian people."

Later, he added: "Even opposing teams will make up stuff that's kind of funny, too. It's been fun; We've had a lot of fun with it."

Familiar faces

Rose will see some familiar faces on the Gonzaga bench. Besides being friends with Bulldogs coach Mark Few, Rose opposed former Utah assistant Donny Daniels when he was a BYU assistant and went against former Utah coach Ray Giacoletti as BYU's head coach.

In Daniels' 11 seasons at Utah (1989-2000), the Utes were 16-9 against BYU, counting three games in conference tournaments. In his three seasons (2004-07), Giacoletti went 4-3 against BYU.

They will be involved in the first meeting between BYU and Gonzaga.

"Kind of crazy," Giacoletti said.

A national power

Gonzaga is playing in its 13th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

"It's not a birthright," said Few, endorsing the program's achievement.

The Bulldogs' No. 11 seed is their lowest in 10 years. Gonzaga has played in five Sweet 16s since 1999, three times as a No. 10 seed or lower.

Stockton a source of strength

Gonzaga redshirt freshman David Stockton, the third of four sons (and six children) of Jazz legend John Stockton, is listed at 152 pounds. He quarterbacked Gonzaga Prep's football team as a 130-pounder, running an option offense.

Stockton wears No. 11; his father's No. 12 is one of only two numbers retired by Gonzaga University. Frank Burgess' No. 44 is the other. Burgess was an All-American in 1961.

Plenty of praise

Most people here are heaping praise on Fredette. But Gonzaga's Few said the under-appreciated aspect of BYU's 31-4 season is Rose.

"I think all of you and America is getting to see just how good a coach Dave Rose is," he said. "Those of us in the profession have known forever, not ony how good a guy he is, what an incredible story it is with him going through the cancer scare and all. But also, he's a heck of a basketball coach, and has been for quite a while."

Seats available

Tournament officials announced Friday that a limited number of tickets have been made available for Saturday's third round session in Denver. Approximately 350 seats were released for the session that also includes the Richmond-Morehead State game. Single session tickets are $64 apiece.