By: Kevin Lucas
The No. 1 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs kicked their season off with a bang as they put up 102 points against a Bill Self lead Kansas squad on Thanksgiving Day. Mark Few has always had a well-balanced attack on offense with a good blend of both perimeter shooting and a dominant inside attack. With the makeup of this Zags’ roster coach Few’s offense caters to this team almost perfectly. It all starts with Drew Timme, a 6 ft 9 forward who has excellent footwork and even better post moves. From Przemek Karnowski to Domantas Sabonis to Rui Hachimura and now Timme, Gonzaga offense starts inside-out and rarely the other way around. As a true freshman last year Timme was the 6th man but also had the opportunity to learn from Filip Petrusev and Killian Tillie, so it was only right that he stayed patient and waited for his time as he was the Zags’ leading scorer versus Kansas putting up 25 points. Timme very well has a chance to be both this teams’ leading scorer and leading rebounder by seasons end.
Now, where Gonzaga has the most depth is at either one of their guard spots. Corey Kispert is the perfect leader and best shooting guard in the country who is a knockdown shooter but barely needs the ball in his hands because of his basketball IQ and his ability to stretch out defenses. Plus he is an elite defender and when he does have the ball in his hands he never wastes a dribble as he is always in attack mode trying to get to his spots. Then you have the last head of the 3-headed snake in 5-star recruit/former dual-athlete Jalen Suggs. Suggs’ first collegiate bucket was a dunk off of a lob pass and honestly set the tone in the game against Kansas where he added in 24 points and 8 assists while getting to the rack almost at will. You can make the case that Jalen is the most dynamic and NBA-ready guard that Mark Few has ever recruited to play in Spokane. Luckily for all college hoop fans, this is only the beginning of what should be a stellar season for Mr. Suggs.
Those 3 are only the tip of the iceberg for Gonzaga as they also still have Joel Ayayi, who was their starting point guard from last season, who by the looks of it, has made some necessary improvements to his jumper. Andrew Nembhard was close to sitting out this season as a transfer from Florida but the NCAA, fortunately, approved his waiver just 2 days before the KU game and that gave the Zags yet another boost as they will have one of the best lead guards in the country coming off their bench for the entire season. Anton Watson is their starting small forward but he’s really out there to do the little things like rebounding, shooting when the right time comes, and being able to guard the opposing teams’ best player, which he is very capable of doing regularly. The one and only area of improvement this Gonzaga team will face is having depth in the frontcourt but we should all expect for that to change as Oumar Ballo will see his role expand as the season progresses and gets his feet wet in Mark Few’s offense. As of now, Gonzaga is the most complete team in all of college basketball and it will be no surprise if they are cutting down multiple nets around March time.