I have some troubling news. We are about seven months away from the next edition of Gonzaga basketball. After you pick yourself off the floor in depression, the good news is that we should have a plethora of content to bridge the gap. Yes, it will be full of what ifs and projections but, it is still Gonzaga basketball and that is good enough for me. With that said, literally seconds after Connecticut won the national title, national writers across the country were releasing their projections for next season. Let's take a look at some of the early indications:
Notable players definitely gone: Sam Dower, David Stockton, Drew Barham
Others expected to leave: None
Notable players expected to return: Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell, Przemek Karnowski, Angel Nunez, Gerard Coleman, Kyle Dranginis
Notable newcomers: Kyle Wiltjer, Josh Perkins, Silas Melson, Bryan Alberts
When Przemek Karnowski arrived at Gonzaga, he was little-known outside international circles, and his early struggles didn't earn him much fanfare. The 2014-15 season may be his coming-out party. He was excellent down the stretch for Gonzaga this past season. Next year's Bulldogs will keep Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. andKyle Dranginis on the perimeter, with the 7-foot-1 Karnowski as the featured post player, and they'll add former Kentucky forward Kyle Wiltjer. It's easy to see Mark Few playing a four-out, one-in configuration, with Wiltjer occasionally rotating into high-low and post sets with Karnowski. The results could be devastating.
Gonzaga: Transfer big man Kyle Witjer was a very good shooter at Kentucky, but his defense was suspect.
There will surely been hundreds more of these prognostications and even more iterations as draft intentions are made. That said, I think we can feel very confident that barring some massive shakeup on the current roster, the Zags will once again be a top-20 team when the rankings come out next year. If Domantas Sabonis joins the fold, talks of a preseason top-10 could be legitimate but we will cross the bridge when we get there. As for the rest of the country, all bets are off depending on what happens at Duke. Coach K may have assembled his best recruiting class in his tenure and if Jabari Parker actually decides to return (which is highly improbable) than they will be the extremely overwhelming favorites.
Let the fun begin!