Here are the things we know: the 2015-16 Gonzaga Bulldogs are going to be very good. They have one of the best front courts in the country and will make a deep run in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Here are the things we don't know: a lot.
The Bulldogs have three sure-fire things in the way of Przemek Karnowski, all-american favorite Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis. Kyle Dranginis adds to that layer with his ability to those desirable glue guys. However, that is only half the team. There has been a lot of hype surrounding many of the other players, but at this point, all we can do is offer conjecture as to how it will all work out.
1) How will this guard situation shake out?
Josh Perkins is the heir to the Kevin Pangos throne, and everything points to him thriving at the position. In quite limited time last season, Perkins demonstrated his notion as a pass-first point guard. With the front line that Gonzaga will be throwing out there, this will work out perfectly for Perkins. He won't necessarily be depended on to lead the offense in scoring, and can hone his skills directing traffic while dishing out down low.
That leaves the two-spot, and that is where the question mark hops in. Few has three legitimate starters at the two-spot, and depending on if (or how long) Few decides to start Sabonis, Karnowski and Wiltjer, the game plan will change. Silas Melson seemed like the defacto starter, but Few's comments about Eric McClellan seem to suggest otherwise.
Few: "Eric McClellan is a phenomenal defender. He's really, really good. He could be one of the top defenders in the country."— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) October 29, 2015
McClellan can definitely spell Perkins at point, but the Gonzaga defense will sorely miss the presence of Gary Bell Jr. If McClellan's defensive awareness is as Few advertises, he might be forcing his way into the conversation a bit more. Melson was no slouch on defense, by any means, but he often times over committed on gambles. At the same time, Melson, in his limited time last season, showed himself to be a fearless and tenacious scorer. The Zags will need Melson's input on offense to keep defenses honest, but they might also need McClellan's defense to shore up holes at the same time.
2) Where does Ryan Edwards fit into this mix?
If it is easy to forget about Edwards when you list out Karnowski, Sabonis and Wiltjer out in the same sentence. The Zags have yet another big body to bring in off the bench, but no one is quite sure what this big body can provide. Edwards definitely showed that he belonged on the team at points his freshman season, and he was smart in taking a redshirt to hopefully hone some of those skills. Considering the establishment of the Olynyk Clinic Gonzaga Bulldogs Redshirt Program, expectations are high for the young Montana man.
Credit has to be given to the Gonzaga program for helping shape the games of Olynyk, and Wiltjer, to a certain degree. But the big difference between Edwards and Olynyk/Wiltjer is that the latter two came in as more heralded recruits -- Wiltjer, especially. Unfortunately, when you are a big guy, the old saying of "You can't teach seven feet," comes into play. Remember Will Foster? He was a Gonzaga Bulldog, who you could say was solely on the team because he was 7'5 and might pan out. He never did.
Will Edwards pan into something worthy of minutes? We shall see. The Gonzaga staff has said encouraging words about his progress, but that is what they are supposed to say.
3) Who is public enemy #1?
Tyler Haws has gone onto greener pastures, or something, and no one in the Gonzaga community is going to miss him. Brad Waldow took his vampire teeth and is trying to make it in a professional league somewhere. Once again, it leaves a huge hole in the lore of Gonzaga basketball. So the most important question of the season: who do we get to turn our collective hatred and vitriol on for the season?
My money is on Kyle Collinsworth of the BYU Cougars. Collinsworth, in case you forgot, basically played like a NBA player many times throughout last season, posting a NCAA record six triple-doubles last. He probably won't do that again, but after BYU lost its main scoring threat, there is a good chance that Collinsworth steps up into that role.