Second wave, 2002-2006 seasons
The Cinderella darlings of the NCAA tournament continued to overachieve and allowed the casual fan to root for America’s underdog. Another band of Bulldogs led to the next dynasty that college basketball has yet to appreciate. The 2002-03 team was led by Stepp and Turiaf and again this team superseded to reach the second round of the NCAA tournament losing to the Arizona Wildcats in double overtime 96-95.
Freshmen Adam Morrison and Derek Raivio joined the 2003-04 team led by Stepp and Turiaf. They won another WCC title and once again reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. The 2004-05 underdogs saw the same results as before a WCC title and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
Zags fans remember the 2005-06 team led by Adam Morrison, Derek Raivio as well as future Gonzaga stars Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs, and Jeremy Pargo. Those Bulldogs were given a third seed that reached the Sweet Sixteen and lost to the eventual champions UCLA Bruins 73-71.
Third wave, 2007-2009 seasons
The third wave of a Zags dynasty, we tend to forget about, was led by sophomores Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs, and Jeremy Pargo. The 2006-2007 team won its seventh straight WCC regular season title and another WCC tournament to receive an automatic bid to reach their ninth consecutive NCAA tournament.
These three Zag stars reached the NCAA tournament three years in a row ending their run in 2009 by losing to eventual NCAA champion North Carolina in the program’s fifth trip to the Sweet Sixteen.