Location: Spokane, Washington
Conference: West Coast Conference
Head Coach: Mark Few
Overall Record: 31-6
Conference Record: 14-2 (1st in WCC)
NCAA Tournament: Yes
Lost in: West Regional Final to Connecticut
Monday, November 20th, 5PM @ Maui Jim Maui Invitational on ESPN2
Head Coach: Mark Few
Overall Head Coaching Record: 689-135
Seasons with Gonzaga: 24
Gonzaga Record: 689-135
Starters Not Returning From ‘22/’23 Season
SG - Rasir Bolton - Pts: 10.1 - Reb: 1.9 - Ast: 2.4
SF - Julian Strawther - Pts: 15.2 - Reb: 6.2 - Ast: 1.3
C - Drew Timme - Pts: 21.2 - Reb: 7.5 - Ast: 3.2
Starters Returning From ‘22/23 Season
PG - Nolan Hickman - Pts: 7.7 - Reb: 2.4 - Ast: 3.1
PF - Anton Watson - Pts: 11.1 - Reb: 6.2 - Ast: 2.1
Bench Returning From ‘22/23 Season
PG/C - Ben Gregg - Pts: 5.1 - Reb: 3.0 - Ast: .7
F - Braden Huff - RS
C - Efton Reid - Pts: 2.1 - Reb: 1 - Ast: .1
G - Hunter Sallis - Pts: 4.5 - Reb: 2.2 - Ast: 1.4
PG - Dominick Harris- Pts: 1.5 - Reb: .6 - Ast: .5
PG - Ryan Nembhard - Pts: 12.1 - Reb: 4 - Ast: 4.8 - Previous Team: Creighton
SG - Steele Venters - Pts: 15.3 - Reb: 2.8 - Ast: 1.5 - Previous Team: Eastern Washington
C - Graham Ike - Pts: 19.5 - Reb: 9.6 - Ast: 1.3 - Previous Team: Wyoming
SG/SF - Luka Kranjnovic - Pts 17.6 - Previous Team: Bosco (Croatian Premier League)
*All Recruiting Rankings From 247 Composite
SG - Dusty Stromer - 4*(93) - Natl: 62 - Pos: 12
*this is a guess
PG - Ryan Nembhard
SG - Nolan Hickman
F - Steel Venters
F - Anton Watson
C - Graham Ike
The post Drew Timme era of Gonzaga basketball starts in 2023 after what seems like a decade of Timme dominating the paint for the Zags. Of course coach Mark Few provides the foundation for this team, and he’s back for his 25th season.
Few only returns two starters from last season’s squad. In addition to losing 3 starters, Gonzaga’s bench took a hit in the portal. Backup center Efton Reid stayed one year in Spokane after transferring in from LSU. He’s now at Wake Forest. Joining him on the Demon Deacons is Hunter Salis, a former 5* guard out of Nebraska who couldn’t find enough court time to live up to his lofty reputation. Former 4* point guard Dominick Harris is also out the door, and headed to Loyola Marymount. There will be some new faces for the Zags this season.
While the portal sucked some serious talent out of the Zags roster, it also provided some fire power. Creighton point guard Ryan Nembhard, little brother of former Zag and current Indiana Pacer Andrew Nembhard, adds much needed star power to the back court. He averaged 12 points and 5 assists for the Bluejays last season as a sophomore and will run the show for Mark Few this season. He was one of the better players in the portal after last season.
Steel Venters was a star at Eastern Washington. The 2023 Big Sky MVP is a 6’7” wing with a diverse skill set. Last season he averaged 15 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and hit 37% of his 3 point attempts. He’s in line to start, but will need to show his slender frame (he’s 195 pounds at 6’7”) can handle the rigors of major college basketball.
Ike was a stud at Wyoming, but much like Venters, it’s a question of if that translates to Gonzaga. He’s shown the ability to play against upper level competition. He put in 17 points and pulled down 9 rebounds against Indiana in a losing effort in the NCAA tournament (if you consider them upper . He also put up 17 and 4 against Arizona early last season. He was the go-to-guy at Wyoming, but won’t be for the Zags. He’ll need to pick his spots on offense and cut down on his turnovers. It will be interesting to see how his game translates to this level of basketball.
Power Forward will once again be held down by Anton Watson, who is back for his 5th season in Spokane. He stepped up and averaged 11 points a game last season and the Zags could use another bump in production from the veteran this season. He should have more room around the rim without Timme dominating the paint.
The bench oozes talent, but it’s mostly untested talent. Ben Gragg played well last year as a reserve forward/center and he’ll play that role again this year. He’s a stretch 4 or 5 with deep range hitting 37% of his 3’s last season. He’ll be one of the first players off the bench and brings much needed experience with him. Jun Seok Yeo and Luka Krajnovic both have solid reputations on the international level, but will need to translate that into NCAA basketball success. Dusty Stromer is a consensus 4* wing and Braden Huff was a 4* forward in the 2022 class, and a former Illinois Mr. Basketball.
Mark Few has options, but it might take him a while to fine tune his rotation and cement his starting lineup. They’re a team that should get better as the season advances, and Purdue catching them early could be a good thing.