One is a wily veteran whose NCAA Tournament appearance was a long time coming, and the other is tasting his team's major success right away. Both are former Canyon County standouts playing on college basketball's biggest stage.
Will Bogan, a Vallivue High grad, is a fifth-year senior for Valparaiso, which opens against Michigan State at 10:15 a.m. MDT in Auburn Hills, Mich. Kyle Dranginis, a Skyview High grad, is a redshirt freshman at top-seeded Gonzaga, which faces Southern at 2:10 p.m. MDT in Salt Lake City.
Bogan, who redshirted and played two seasons at Ole Miss, transferred to Valparaiso prior to last season. As a senior, he's averaging 6.5 points per game in 33 games (29 starts). He scored 14 points in the Horizon League championship game March 12, a 62-54 win over Wright State.
Dranginis has averaged 3.0 points and 10.5 minutes per game for the Bulldogs. He's flashed the scoring touch he had at Skyview, where he scored 24 points per game as a senior, getting 30 points Nov. 29 against Lewis-Clark State and 11 against Pepperdine on Feb. 7.
"He's progressing really well," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "He's come in and helped us in some big games. I think he's got a great future."
Dranginis has played in 32 of the Bulldogs' 33 games. Few noted that the guard has played behind some experienced seniors on a "very good team, but is still making a good contribution." He's made just 29.4 percent of his 3-point attempts (10-of-34), but Few said being a key shooter from long range is a role he envisions for Dranginis in the future.
"We've put him in some tough positions, like not playing him in the first half but getting him in there down the stretch, and he hasn't been afraid at all," Few said. "He can be a real good 3-point shooter, and I definitely see him improving that."
WILL BOGAN, G, VALPARAISO
Former schools: Vallivue High, Ole Miss
Year: Fifth-year senior
Measurables: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds
Stats: 33 games (29 starts), 6.5 ppg, 41.1 3-point percentage (53-of-129), 90.6 free-throw percentage (29-of-32)
Bio: Bogan transferred to Valparaiso before the 2011-12 season after playing two seasons and redshirting one at Ole Miss. He scored 7.2 ppg last season. Was the Idaho Statesman's 5A player of the year as a senior after the 2007-08 season at Vallivue, where he averaged 16.7 ppg and led the Falcons to a state title.
KYLE DRANGINIS, G, GONZAGA
Former school: Skyview High
Year: Redshirt freshman
Measurables: 6-foot-5, 175 pounds
Stats: 32 games (one start), 3.0 ppg, 49.3 field-goal percentage (37-of-75)
Bio: After redshirting last season, the two-time Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year has only missed one game this season. Scored 24 ppg as a senior, leading Hawks to 4A final. Also had winning basket in OT of 2009 4A state championship against Pocatello.