Former Liberty High School basketball star heading to Sweet 16 with Gonzaga Bulldogs

Former Liberty High School basketball star heading to Sweet 16 with Gonzaga Bulldogs

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Gonzaga Bulldogs will take to the court Thursday and joining them is a former Liberty High School basketball star.

Julian Strawther, jersey No. 0, still has an impact on his alma mater.

Ashlee Vaness was Strawther’s favorite teacher at Liberty High School and she reminisced on how Strawther would go out of his way to talk to everyone at school.

“Julian added to that culture of this is somewhere that kids want to be,” Vaness said. “We keep in touch he’s busy but I love following his success and I love seeing everything that he is doing.”

Liberty head basketball coach Kevin Soares saw Strawther from the opposite side of the court, and now he is coaching Strawther’s former team.

“He was definitely a problem for us,” explained Soares. “He’s gotten a lot bigger and a lot stronger. He can shoot the ball a lot better from when I saw him in high school. His game has just improved drastically. I thought going to Gonzaga was a very good fit for him.”

Strawther’s lasting impact keeps the student body as well as his former teachers inspired.

“I’m just so grateful that we had so many of those moments here at Liberty and that Julian has been a part of bringing those moments and it’s not only him. What he does, brings it to the entire student body,” Vaness said.

And of course, they will all be watching the game.

Thursday only on Channel 8 you can catch the West Region Sweet 16 matchups. At 4:15 p.m. Arkansas will take on UConn and then at 6:45 p.m., you can catch Strawther and Gonzaga taking on UCLA. Both teams are playing at the T-Mobile Arena and after the games, you can catch a special edition of Sports Wrap on Channel 8.

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