PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Friday, Nov. 25th, 2022, is a day Ben Gregg will never forget.

With 11:30 left in the first half while trailing Purdue, Gonzaga coach Mark Few called Gregg’s name earlier than he ever had in his career.

“I never knew it was going to happen. They didn’t tell me or anything. They just kind of threw me in there,” said Gregg, a Portland-area native and Clackamas High grad. “I was ready to go. I always stay ready or try to, but it definitely was like, ‘Oh, dang, I’m going in there, and I’ve got to guard Zach Edey, who’s a big dude.’”

Gregg held his own though and became a bit of a storyline for the Zags through the PK85 Tournament, as he had not been in Gonzaga’s rotation prior.

The fact that his breakthrough moment in college basketball happened in his hometown isn’t lost on Gregg.

“Being able to get the first real shot at it in Portland was really special,” said the sophomore. “In the Moda Center, I was always going to games there and stuff like that. I went to the PK80 as a fan, so even to be playing in that tournament was really special.”

Gregg hasn’t relinquished his spot in the Bulldogs’ rotation ever since, even if he’s had to morph his game into doing a bit more of the dirty work.

“It’s a cool role to have. It’s definitely different than any other role I’ve had before. High school, growing up, I’ve always been the scorer, but I love it,” said Gregg. “I have a role on the team now, which is what I’ve always wanted. It’s not scoring or anything, but it’s a role, and I can’t complain. I’m getting on the floor, and I’m getting playing time, so it’s been good.”

And for the Zags, it’s been great.

What Gregg has brought the team off the bench is hard to quantify on a box score.

“He usually almost always helps us with his energy and his effort when he comes into games so it’s huge,” said Few.

“It’s been huge,” said teammate Julian Strawther. “He’s always coming in and making a play as soon as he touches the court whether it’s an offense rebound, a put-back, a three. I feel like it’s always huge and everybody really loves to see his success.”

With his role now carved out, Ben hopes for more of the workload down the road.

But for now, he’s living his dream exactly how he dreamed it up.

“This has been my dream school, and I’ve always wanted to go here,” said Gregg, who was born in Spokane and grew up a Gonzaga fan. “I’m very blessed. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and having a lot of fun doing it.”