Graphic by Keytron Jordan

It takes a certain type of player to thrive at Gonzaga. They pride themselves on their unpretentious basketball credos. There's an intangible quality to some of the best to ever go through the program. 

It's an ethos: He's just a Zag, man.

The Zags have made stars out of many over the decades; a special few have transcended the sport. Eccentricity is essentially a prerequisite if you're going to elevate there. Mark Few runs a one-of-a-kind hoops enterprise that's equal parts intensely competitive and incredibly loose. Some boosted their college careers by embracing this counterculture vibe and importing their offbeat personalities onto the basketball floor. They're all variations on classics of the bohemian form: Adam Morrison, Ronny Turiaf, Dan Dickau, Kelly Olynyk, Robert Sacre, J.P. Batista, Kevin Pangos.

And then there's Drew Timme. A category unto himself. The full-on embodiment and purest definition of what it means to be a Zag.

As the senior embarks on his final few weeks in a GU uniform, the time has come for reflection on a one-of-a-kind career.

The reigning two-time WCC Player of the Year is only the second Gonzaga star to pull off that feat (Blake Stepp, 2003-04). He's pacing toward a third straight All-American season. In Tuesday's WCC title game win over Saint Mary's, Timme became the the Bulldogs' all-time leading scorer (2,210) and fifth all-time in rebounds (859), all while compiling more than 300 assists and 100 blocks.

All together, no one in Gonzaga history has scored more than 1,500 points, grabbed more than 800 rebounds, dished upward of 200 assists and swatted more than 100 shots. And Timme's blown past those thresholds. He's played in 130 games, started 100, and never lost two in a row. Gonzaga has been ranked No. 1 across 30 of 74 weeks since he arrived with a record of 118-12 (.908) in games he played.

If anything, the totality of his run is somehow undervalued, and he's weeks away from capping off one of the strongest college careers of the past two decades. 

And yet, those amazing accomplishments still don't fully cut into the essence of Drew Timme.

"Off the floor, he's a legend in Spokane," Gonzaga assistant Brian Michaelson said. "He's lived every moment of a college life."

As many kindly reminded, there's only so much about Timme's time that can be shared on the record.

He's pulled off quite the feat. One of the greatest Gonzaga players ever -- compiling one of the proudest college résumés of the 21st century -- and he's done it entirely on his terms, overcoming an appalling fashion sense the whole way. The dude wears mismatched socks and would rather don sleepwear in public than rock everyday attire. He's got a carefree attitude that sidles right up against a killer competitive nature. 

Timme takes the best of all things afforded to him. He's a man of convenience over taste. His dad's favorite beer is Dos Equis, so it's his favorite too. His go-to food spot is Qdoba, not because he loves the food but because it's the closest to where he lives. He overthinks too much. 

"If I gave him $20 of my money, it would take him eight hours to make a decision," his mom said. 

"Drew is a notorious cheap-ass," Michaelson said.

Timme has nicknames for all of his teammates. Anton Watson is "Afro Joe." Nolan Hickman is "Sticks" because he wears No. 11. One of Gonzaga's graduate assistants is "Tinder" for reasons that went undisclosed.

"Drew's kind of like a God out there, and the ground he walks on is worshiped," former teammate Chet Holmgren said. "You're kind of expecting somebody to almost act like that, but that's not true at all. He's super laid-back. Like, not a care in the world for anything. Other than the Cowboys game tonight." 

The man gets his wild streak, quick wit and sense of humor from his mom, Megan. His dad, Matt, bequeathed the carefree attitude, Texas pride and casual confidence amid chaotic situations. Timme's competitiveness comes from both: Megan played tennis at Stephen F. Austin, Matt played basketball at SMU.

His career has brought him onto both the national championship stage in Indianapolis and an aircraft carrier in San Diego. He's starred in games in South Dakota and the Bahamas, plus Florida, Alabama, Arizona and multiple trips back to his home state of Texas.

But for the most part, Timme's legend was built in a place that, once upon a time, he could have never imagined he'd go to college: Spokane, Washington.

These are the sights, scenes, stories and only some (appropriate) anecdotes about a wild and crazy ride over the past four years in the life of Andrew Matthew Timme.

The oft-jesting Timme is, statistically, the greatest player in program history. Gonzaga Athletics

The purest definition of a Zag

"He's this unique individual. He's just got that aura about him." -- Mark Few

The way he carries himself, the crass tongue no matter the company he keeps, the stuff he gets away with -- only Timme could pull it off.

"He's in the top three funniest friends I have," former teammate Corey Kispert said. "He's a great dude. I'm honored to know him and still keep in touch." 

On Michaelson's first trip to meet Timme at Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas, Timme emerged from a hallway in pajama pants and his notorious UGGs, which he has worn anywhere, everywhere, since age 15.

"Looked like he had just rolled out of bed, despite the fact that it was mid-afternoon. Didn't have a care in the world," Michaelson remembered. "Didn't seem like it was even out of the ordinary for him to be dressed like that at that time of day in school, and I thought: This guy's a little bit unique. He's comfortable in his own skin. He doesn't have to conform to what others think or what the persona of the star basketball player might be."

"His sense of style, it's just not there, I'm sorry," Kispert said of a guy who dresses like a divorced dad on his fourth cup of coffee before 10 a.m. "I love the guy, but he just doesn't dress and he doesn't really care." 

The most diverse part of Timme's wardrobe is his collection of cartoon boxers: SpongeBob, Star Wars, Family Guy and more. Forget fancy compressed athletic gear: The dudeman plays in regular underwear, his favorite being orange Reese's Peanut Butter Cups boxers that show through his white shorts by halftime.

Timme's personality is an immediate click for some. For others, it takes time. Timme and teammate Anton Watson arrived at GU together; they are now best friends. In many ways, though, they're nothing alike. It just works.

"It's kind of a shock to me just to be around someone like that all the time who just says whatever that's on his mind and doesn't really care what other people think," Watson said. 

"It's part of his magic, but man, there were times he pissed me off so bad," Kispert said. "If I was playing against him, he was getting buckets, or he was on my team and I was trying to lock in and get focused -- and he's doing some dumb shit that kind of just rubs you the wrong way. But no denying it: He's obviously one of the best Zags to ever put on a uniform." 

Timme's a quick study for a semi-complicated man. Before long, most see his personality is hoisted by a big heart and kind intentions. What some mistake for unearned cockiness is instead a preternatural comfortability with people he barely knows. He has nothing to prove to anyone. And in no time, he has your back for anything. 

The best game of Kispert's career happened in no small part because of Timme. It was Dec. 26, 2021, with Gonzaga playing Virginia in Fort Worth, Texas. Kispert finished with a career-best nine 3-pointers and 32 points. Before the game, he gave a speech involving a made-up story about how Virginia coach Tony Bennett shunned him in recruiting.

"I totally exaggerated about how Tony Bennett hated me and didn't want me on his team and didn't think I was good enough," Kispert said. "And so, we should beat the shit out of these guys."

As Kispert is offering this manufactured diatribe, Timme is eating up every word, totally bought into the fable. The game starts, and Kispert starts immediately draining 3s. But after he passed up shots on a couple possessions … 

"He comes up to me, grabbed my jersey right in the middle, and he's like, 'If you pass the f---ing ball one more time, I'm gonna kill you,'" Kispert recalled.

For Timme, this was Kispert's revenge game. Every possession was his. Timme didn't want the ball in the post. Any entry pass was going right back to Corey. Timme saw what Virginia's defense was doing and set up Kispert multiple times. 

"It speaks to how cerebral a player he is, and he was so happy for me as I got going that night," Kispert said. "He was setting illegal screens to get me up and he was decking guys to try to give me an open look, just to see me succeed." 

Gonzaga won 98-75.

The unexpected decision

"He was brash. He had swag. He wasn't afraid." -- Mark Few. 

Timme becoming a Gonzaga legend was made possible because of a weird burp in the 2017 coaching carousel. Then-Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood overperformed in Year 1, making the NCAA Tournament. OSU didn't offer him a restructured contract, so Underwood made the rare move of leaving one high-major for another (Illinois) after just one season.

What's Timme got to do with this? A year prior, in a back gym at Oklahoma State team camp, current Gonzaga assistant Stephen Gentry was working for Underwood. A young Timme (rocking a headband, natch) caught Gentry's eye with his old-school game, above-average footwork and proclivity for trash talk. Gentry, who played at Gonzaga, couldn't resist the thought that came to mind after watching him for the first time: Oh my gosh, he's a Zag.

Timme's first offer came from OSU. When Underwood left, Gentry went back to Gonzaga to be director of basketball operations. Few asked Gentry if there were any guys he should have on his recruiting radar. Gentry vouched for Timme, and Michaelson took the lead on his recruitment. 

They had no idea what was to come. 

Timme gleefully kept his recruitment priorities a secret. Drew's parents allowed him one unofficial visit as a birthday present; he chose Gonzaga. They felt he had GU as his favorite after that visit, though he didn't want to like the place as much as he did. 

"He is a Texas guy," Megan said. "I think he really was trying to find all of these ways not for it to be GU, but it always was always the best place for him. Partially because they live in regular dorms, they eat regular food, they're like regular kids on campus. … It just wasn't the same at any other school."

Timme would've almost certainly played in or closer to Texas had any other program given off Gonzaga-like vibes. But Gonzaga, like Timme, is a genre of one. The pairing was inevitable. 

On his official visit, in typical jovial Zags fashion, players put Timme "through the wringer." 

"Had him out in the streets of Spokane. We were going to parties, and he was all about it," Kispert said.

Young Drew got more than he expected. Years later, he told Kispert and others the morning after that night out was maybe his worst hangover ever. Which is to say: It was perfect.

Timme's carefree attitude has been vital to his epic career. Getty Images

"He was up for anything," Kispert said. "Joking, laughing, trying his best to be social with guys four, five years older than him. It's tough to do. He was awesome. I remember that being a good visit. When you're a 20-, 21-year-old guy, the last thing you want to do, really, is try to entertain a high school recruit who may or may not even come to the school. You're using up one of your nights to entertain somebody, and Drew was a pleasure to have."

Said Timme: "The more I drink, the friendlier and more outgoing I get."

The remarkable relationship

"Drew's one of those players where sometimes he might step up to the line between what Coach trusts him to do and what he's just gonna go do." -- Chet Holmgren

There's nothing like a solid butt slap to let a coach know you love him.

The player-coach dynamic is built on a number of factors, one being a healthy level of respect. There might not be a more eccentric, respectful, trusting relationship between star player and head coach than Timme and Few. 

Kispert sets the scene. 

"I was the stereotypical Gonzaga player: play your role your first two years and then grow a bunch your second two years and give the NBA a shot," Kispert said. "But as I got older, I took responsibility of the team. And anybody who came in with a big social media following or hype coming out of high school, my default was to not trust them. It was no fault of Drew's, but he was one of those guys. One of the first couple of days, he walked right in and slapped Coach Few on the ass and was like, 'What's up, Coach?' walking into practice. That shook me for sure. As a freshman, I was scared out of my mind. I was scared shitless of Coach Few. So, that made me think: This guy might be a little bit different."

Timme's jocular nature with Few has been on public display since his sophomore season, when he decided to induce Few into an undesired chest bump prior to pregame introductions. Now it happens all the time.

"Everybody else just either daps or high-fives Coach Few," Michaelson said. "Drew came over and made Coach Few give him a chest bump. I don't think anybody else would ever have the balls to even think of that. … That was one of the times where I was like, 'This dude is fearless, and that is actually pretty funny.'"

There's also the occasional Timme tousling of Few's hair at the end of games. How's mom feel about all this?

"He takes his giant palm on the back of his head," Megan said. "I was so horrified the first time he did it. He said [Few] was way too uptight, and he thought he needed to loosen up. So, he just went in for the chest bump, and you can see Few visibly shrinking away from him. I really thought he was never gonna play again. I really did. I thought: That's it. He's done."

They've had their tête-à-têtes throughout. Timme gives Few lip in practice, and Few gets on his ass over defensive effort. But Timme doesn't cross the line of authority.

"We've had it out pretty good, even a couple of weeks ago." Few said. "And he gets up and gives me a big hug." 

"We fight. You could call us a married couple," Timme said. "We've cussed each other out before at practice. He goes at me and then I'll snap right back at him, and we have this relationship where he can push me, but I can also go back at him. And obviously, in a way that's not totally disrespectful, but we butt heads. At the end of the day, we both want the same thing. We both care about each other." 

Timme knows when to be serious. Most importantly, everyone understands Drew by this point. When he needs to get focused, it's an immediate switch-flip. A real love and trust exists amid a rare dynamic. Timme knows who's boss and doesn't disrespect the staff; in return, the staff gives him the longest leash.

"Every day, you come to practice, I mean, even if I'm pissed at him about usually his defense or ball screen coverages or rebounding effort, he'll just say something that'll make me laugh or smile," Few said.

"He's also comfortable in his own skin," Michaelson said. "He loves to have fun, and that's a priority to him. It's a unique balance for a guy that can have as much fun as any college student could possibly have to enjoy the 'traditional college experience,' but also have this side of him that allows him to be elite on the court. It's a unique balance that I'm not sure how often you see in college basketball."

Few and Timme have a relationship that could only exist at Gonzaga. Torrey Vail

The absurd sprained ankle treatment

"If you ever sprain your ankle, you just stomp your foot really hard and you're better." -- Drew Timme

Timme isn't ultra-athletic. No one would describe his figure as "sculpted." But the coaching staff considers him as tough as any player to come through Spokane. Timme's never missed a game or practice due to injury. 

"He's crazy resilient," Few added.

"He doesn't get hurt," Michaelson added.

Timme's twisted his ankles badly a few times in the past four years. Alert the medical community, however: He's evidently determined the cure for sprained ligaments.

"All he does is stomp his foot," Michaelson said. "He just starts stomping his foot on the ground. And I still remember the first time he did it, and I looked at the trainer, and the trainer looked at me like: 'What the hell is going on?'"

"He'll come down on somebody's foot in practice, which usually sends everybody else on our team howling, limping, laying down in the training room, out for a week," Few said. "And he has this thing where he gets up and he takes his size 18 foot or whatever the hell it is, and he just stomps it as hard as he can. That's his remedy for a sprained ankle. I don't know why every trainer in America isn't looking at it." 

Being chill off the floor doesn't normally coincide with this level of toughness. It came by learning how to play through physicality with assistant/big-man coach Roger Powell. Gonzaga's rugged jester was hardened in practice by Powell in his first two years. Powell even sacrificed his own health for Timme earlier this season.

"The worst fall that I've ever had in my career was like a month and a half ago," Powell said. "I went for a rebound and I jumped in the air and I realized I jumped a little bit too high. And I was either going to fall on Timme, or I was going to have to sacrifice my body."

So Powell dropped onto the hardwood in brutal pain. Timme was spared, and Gonzaga still has 2023 Final Four aspirations.

If anything, Timme's competitiveness is underrated. Torrey Vail

The career catapult

"It was kind of his coming out party." -- Mark Few

The most overlooked catalyst to Timme's icon status is the way he got his butt kicked in practice as a freshman playing behind Filip Petrusev, the 2019-20 WCC Player of the Year and one of the best interior scorers ever at Gonzaga. Timme came off the bench that season with just four games of 17+ points. The last was his most meaningful: Timme scored 17 in the WCC title game against Saint Mary's. 

"He had a good freshman year to the point where we were like, 'This guy's good, probably even better than we expected,'" Michaelson said. 

It wound up his final game that season on account of COVID-19 canceling the NCAA Tournament. Petrusev leaving earlier than expected (as a sophomore) opened a path for Timme's legendary run.

"Internally, we thought that we were better protected if Filip were to leave than most on the outside probably thought," Few said. "Losing a conference player of the year is a big deal. And obviously, that just opened the window that year [for Timme]."

In 2020-21, Gonzaga embarked on a historic season. It beat Kansas, Auburn, West Virginia, Iowa and Virginia to open 7-0. It tore through the WCC: 15-0, then 20-0, then 26-0 heading into the NCAA Tournament. As this was happening, Timme's relentless production was at the center of what made the team a historically elite offense. It's where Timme's inner competitor really started to show. It's when he began to understand how he could carry a team -- and be a great teammate. That 31-1 GU squad was so supportive of each other, it reached a point where the only stats they tried to outdo each other on were assists. 

"They had a really great bond and brotherhood and they literally would rather see each other do really well than themselves," Megan said. "The most unselfish group ever."

It reached the point where they would watch film and grade whose passes were better. 

"He is one of the most highly competitive people out there when the ball gets tossed up on game night," Few said. "People always talk about toughness being about defense. To me, the toughest guys are the guys -- the Stephs and LeBrons and Giannises -- when you have to deliver night in and night out, when every defense is out to shut you down. I mean, the amount of mental toughness and physical toughness that you have to have is off the charts. This guy has just delivered night after night after night. And big moment after a big moment." 

The Cowboys obsession

"Last year, we watched the season opener when Dallas played Tampa Bay, and it was his birthday, so unfortunately, his birthday was ruined because Greg the Leg wasn't able to save the day." -- Chet Holmgren

When Timme moves out of his Gonzaga abode later this spring, the only things that will need to come off the walls are his Lone Star State identifiers: flags of the state of Texas, the Cowboys, the Rangers and the Mavericks. 

"Obviously, the Cowboys thing is crazy," Michaelson said.

In the middle of Seahawks country, Timme takes every opportunity to wear Cowboys gear in defiance of the same fans who show up and scream his name at The Kennel. 

"He's definitely the most literal representation of Texas: Dallas born and raised, and it bleeds through his skin. He almost dies every time the Cowboys lose," Holmgren said.

"Drew has always been a ride-or-die Cowboys homer," Matt said.

Timme even called out the Seahawks in 2021 at a Gonzaga presser.

"He just came in and basically started his own press conference, not about basketball, but about making sure that the media understood how good the Cowboys were and how shitty the Hawks were -- and that needed to be addressed," Michaelson said. 

He's asked, and been cleared, to move Gonzaga practice or film study because of Cowboys games. Sometimes those decisions got made weeks in advance. 

Perhaps most astoundingly, Timme has managed to trudge on and build a successful basketball career despite the Cowboys' perennial disappointments. 

The Memphis moment

"That run against Memphis in the NCAA tournament last year was unbelievable. They had us on the ropes, and he literally just saved us." -- Mark Few

Timme's epic performance kept Gonzaga's Sweet 16 streak alive. Getty Images

Timme's had some outstanding performances. A career-high 38 points this season vs. Pacific (topping 37 vs. Texas in November 2021). His MVP-type showing in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament vs. Oklahoma. His favorite play: the charge he took with four fouls to help Gonzaga get to OT with UCLA in the 2021 Final Four. But the second-round game against Memphis in the 2022 NCAAs is what Timme and others around the program consider his best moment.

"All great players have that, where it's like, you know, f--- you, I gotta go do what I gotta do to go help win this game," Holmgren said. "Drew has that."

Gonzaga trailed 41-31 after 20 minutes. Timme had four points in the first 20 minutes, then scored 11 straight out of halftime.

"He's pretty legendarily competitive," Megan said. "Drew comes out of that tunnel at halftime, he looked up at me and gives me a head nod. And I knew right in that moment, I could see it in his eyes, like it was over, like he was gonna win that game. I knew it. He decided."

Said Few: "A lot of guys talk here and there, at halftime or whatever, but there's only a select few that can go out there and get it done."

Timme dropped 21 in the second half to finish with 25 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and no turnovers while showing off his most impressive trait: footwork. It goes back to his youth when he was a left-footed soccer player.

Growing up, Matt also pulled up YouTube videos of Zach Randolph and Hakeem Olajuwon so his son could understand how footwork was his way to being a great player. His lesson? "If you have the right IQ out there, you can play better than anybody."

The oddest of odd quirks

"His locker is legendary." -- Brian Michaelson

Timme hates the cold of Spokane, but only one thing really gets him angry: someone touching his locker.

"He loses his mind," Michaelson said. "If we make the managers pick up his locker at all, and I say 'pick up his locker,' that's [an instruction to] just make it so it can be closed."

It's not a locker so much as an area over which Timme's claimed eminent domain. He has a classic college slob's sense of organization. This is also why his locker, which doubles as a dorm room, is flanked on each side by those for walk-ons -- not scholarship players. Touching any of his stuff will "make him mad in a heartbeat." Should anyone touch anything, they "messed up" his stuff. 

ESPN's "College GameDay" visited Spokane in late February. Timme had to be convinced to allow his mother to organize his locker so it was presentable for the cameras. It took three conversations to be persuaded. 

"Man, he barely tolerated me touching his things," Megan said. "He was like, 'Now you're making me mad,' every time I touched something. It was hysterical."

An incomplete list of what was in or around the locker: approximately 12 pairs of size-18 shoes, nearly 30 T-shirts, another 30-or-so pairs of socks, 20 pairs of shorts, warmup gear, underwear, never-been-used laundry straps, sweatshirts, multiple pairs of headphones and, no big deal, just some All-American plaques tossed in there after his junior season.

As bad as the locker may look, home base is worse.

"It's a legendary room, but it goes down as one of the messiest rooms on Gonzaga's campus," Watson said. "Sometimes, I think we would just clean the living room and take our trash out. But that was like probably once every two months. Which is pretty gross."

The dirty mouth

"It's a good combo word, you can throw a lot of other cuss words in 'f---' and it goes really well together." -- Drew Timme

To no surprise, Timme's favorite curse word is indeed four letters long, starting with F. There is an art to his profanity, and he puts it on display daily. Drew is Drew because of his rapier wit. Michaelson said the only other Zag ever that meets Timme's level of cleverness is Robert Sacre. 

"When Sacre left, I was like, that was one in a billion. I'll never meet another human being like that ever," he said. "And now Drew's here, and it's like, these two were separated [at birth]. Like, our program couldn't function if they were both here at the same.

"They remind me a little bit -- and this is a weird analogy -- to Bill Walton where they're, like, really funny guys. But they're so f---ing smart that they can, like, recall shit off the top of their head and say it and it's just so off-the-wall. But it's actually, like, how the f--- did you come up with that that quick? Now, unfortunately with Drew and Rob, it's extraordinarily inappropriate."

Timme and Gonzaga sports information director Barrett Henderson have battled over the years about his cursing in media settings. He did it out of nowhere as a freshman, then continued to drop foul language to the point where it began to exasperate Henderson. Timme did it on Zoom calls, in-person pressers, everywhere. 

"We heard a few things from general fans like, 'Hey, you got a student-athlete who's cussing on the air, it's not cool,'" Henderson said. He tried to corral Timme to little avail. During one Zoom presser, Timme said "shitty" and Henderson again pleaded for him to stop. Timme's response? "I didn't think that was that bad. I didn't say the F-word."

There is no censoring Drew, though he did famously edit himself after that Memphis masterpiece. Following the heroic win, Henderson and Timme hugged on the court prior to Timme's live interview on TBS where his, "We're not going out as no, uh … soft guys" sound bite went viral. 

"Immediately, he comes over to me and is like, 'Man, you would have been so proud of me. I didn't even cuss!'" Henderson remembered. 

Not exactly. 

"Over four years with him, I've learned that I don't want to change Drew Timme," Henderson said. "Drew Timme is one of the most genuine people I've met. I think a lot of people love that side of Drew. … Anytime that he does something like that interview, it's never malicious, and it's never negative at anybody." 

"That's so Drew," Megan said. "He wants to do the right thing, but he still has to say what he has to say. I bet you I had 300 texts from that because I'm constantly on him about watching his mouth in public and on TV."

Timme's mouth has also built a reputation for his in-game, oddball conversation starters with opponents. He's not so much a trash-talker as he is a conversationalist. 

"Sometimes he be talking smack, and then sometimes he'll just be having just friendly conversation," Watson said. "And if I was an opponent, I think that would get in my head a little bit." 

Timme will ask opponents what they ate for dinner or how school's going. Henderson recalled Timme once getting ready to check back into a game when, at the scorer's table, he asked a few opponents if they had time to stop by Jack and Dan's (one of Spokane's most famous bars) for a beer before they flew back home. A ridiculous inquiry.

"He goes out there and makes friendships every game," Henderson said. "It's not trash talk. It's, 'Man, can you believe the referee made that call?' or 'Hey, hell of a basket on that end.' ... And it's not always received the same because the other person isn't always trying to have that same relationship." 

His on-court banter has made Few batty the point where he's yelling at Drew to shut up and focus on the next play. Timme will even extend his chitchats to opposing coaches. Earlier this season, Xavier's Sean Miller was barking at his players to get ready for Gonzaga's press, just laying into them. Timme looks over at Miller and goes, "Hey, man, lighten up. We're not even going to do that." 

It halted Miller, mid-yelp. After an awkward beat, they looked at each other and laughed right as the ball was about to be inbounded. (The two have a history dating back to when Miller tried to recruit Timme to Arizona out of high school.) 

"It's what makes him who he is," Miller said. "He does it in a good way. Funny thing about that is, it's not like they were up 20 at that point in the game." 

Gonzaga won, narrowly, 88-84.

The villain and his mustache

"When you get thrown into the spotlight -- and I have an outgoing personality -- people are either gonna hate you or love you." -- Drew Timme 

Long before he took his mustachioed look to the college stage, Timme used to playfully threaten his mom that he'd go to high school with a 'stache.

"He would get this complete rise out of me, which was his entire intent," Megan said. "He would send me this picture and then he would never text me again or tell me anything. And so, I would think he would go with this monkey tail where it's like going around his mouth." 

On Dec. 21, 2021, Timme finally did it for real. Gonzaga was preparing to play Northwestern State. At pregame shootaround, he's still got the beard. A couple hours later, he returns to The Kennel and everything is gone except some lip fur.

The infamous mustache celebration was created that night. Gonzaga won 95-57. 

"He literally just wanted to have fun," Megan said. "He knew it would make everybody laugh. Nobody on the team knew. He just showed up one day and acted like nothing was happening. Anytime he feels like things are tense or whatever, or everybody's too serious, it's a deterrent. He'll do something ridiculous like that."

"The moment I guess where I knew Drew was Drew and I really, fully relaxed around him was the day that he showed up with his mustache," Kispert recalled. "It was a normal day. And he comes walking in with a mustache and a big, big smile on his face." 

Kispert called it Timme's superpower, telling him he had to keep it. Timme not only listened, he grew it out. It became part of his character. Opponents even got in on it.

"The legend of Drew grew from there," Kispert said. "And I mean, I always really liked him, it wasn't anything against him personally, we just play the game and we carry ourselves in the court so much differently and you need players like that."

As Timme got better, the mustache got bigger. The celebrations got more brash, and the haters arrived. He basked in the role.

"At the end of the day, we're playing a game. It's not life or death," Timme said. "This game brings me so much happiness and joy that I think I show appreciation for the game by celebrating good plays, but also being able to flip a switch and get laser-focused."

Gonzaga had its own malefactor, someone who fans either found themselves instinctively either cheering on or rooting against.

"Perceptually, I'm easily unlikable," Timme said. "I've kind of had this chip on my shoulder my whole life just because a big white guy, especially in basketball, you're kind of the outcast a little bit. It's pretty annoying when someone kicks your ass and tells you about it. It's kind of been that way, but on the whole, I'm really loved and everything from the people I care about. That's all that matters to me."

Timme's array of mustache looks was his 'superpower,' Kispert said. Gonzaga Athletics

Timme's 'stache celebrations and bicep flexes all initially started because he was uncomfortable playing in quiet arenas with few-to-no fans. 

"That all started during COVID when there was nobody in the stands and it was quiet and they had a pump and fake crowd noise," Matt said. "He's like, 'I just gotta start doing stuff to get my teammates up and pumped up.'"

It was inspired by WWE wrestlers Timme watched growing up. And in no time, the cocky white guy from Gonzaga became an easy target for villainy in college basketball. 

"He's always embraced that role," Matt said. "He loves going into hostile, competitive environments and playing in it. Go ahead and tell Drew he can't do something. Go ahead and have somebody else talking smack. He might not start it, but he's definitely going to finish it, and he'll tell you about it too and have fun doing it." 

"Obviously at times, it is a lot. Sometimes, I'm like, 'Damn,'" Timme said. "But at the end of the day, I'd rather have that than not have it, because if people are hating on you and people are shitting on you, you're doing something right."

The long, strange trip

"It's like playing with your big uncle. He's got this swagger that keeps you light and not too tense. Our younger players, and even our staff, rallies around that." -- Stephen Gentry

No matter what transpires in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Timme's place in history is secure. He'll likely be a three-time All-American, and he's already been the face of the program (and college hoops) for more than half his career at Gonzaga. 

"lf I wasn't having fun playing this game, I would have no problem walking away from it," Timme said. "But I have so much fun. It's like a drug to me. I love it."

In an era of clout-chasing social media posts and performative rise-and-grind workout videos produced to elevate players' images, Timme is a converse to that. It's not that he doesn't care; he just won't conform. He plays too many video games, stays up way too late and falls asleep to "South Park." 

"You just hear Cartman laughing the whole time," Watson said. "I'm like, 'Bro, I can't listen to this. Put on some Animal Planet so I can actually sleep."

Timme, purely, is a dude. A throwback. Even his preferred entertainment brand debuted more than 20 years before he was born. Timme is obsessed with the Star Wars universe, listing "Revenge of the Sith"' as his favorite movie and "Clone Wars" as his favorite show.

"He's like, old-school college kid in the modern times, right?" Kispert said. "He loves throwing a few back and loves socializing and loves the social part of college. That's right up his alley. But he's a f---ing really good player. Anybody who knows Drew knows that for a fact."

He could've played somewhere else and been great. He would've still been Drew Timme, one of the best big men in college basketball. But he probably wouldn't have been this. There is more than a career to his name, there's a waggish legacy that will last forever in Spokane. 

"There is one theme for Drew. He wants to be happy doing the things he invests his time in, and he wants that for others," Megan said. "He believes basketball is a game, a game to win, but ultimately it should be fun. He seeks joy."

Timme may or may not make it as an NBA player, but as he and Gonzaga turn toward one last March push, it's worth remembering and celebrating the indelible legacies made solely on the strength of amazing college careers.

Timme is an all-time college great in any era … or, as he would put it: That's good shit, boy.

Drew Timme: One of one. Gonzaga Athletics