Over the last few seasons, Gonzaga has developed a reputation as a place where high profile players can transfer, play immediately if they are good enough and almost assuredly play in the NCAA tournament. That wasn’t the case six years ago when 3 players transferred before the start of the season. Some thought the transfers were a natural progression for a team reaching elite status, others thought the strict, regimented environment created by Mark Few was beginning to take its toll. Regardless of your feelings on the issue, Gonzaga has been blessed with a stable environment with relatively few players choosing to transfer. Those that have transferred over the past decade or so have certainly had varying levels of success.
I thought about naming an all-transfer team a few months back but never got around to it. BMD23red’s about “The one that got away” spurred me to get back to the keyboard. So without further ado, here’s the “All-Transfer Team” along with the honorable mentions:
Ryan Spangler: Really a power forward at 6’8” 230, Spangler has spent the past three seasons in the post at Oklahoma averaging about 30 minutes a game and close to a double-double. Exceptionally tough, the former high school quarterback is a banger makes up for his lack of size with aggressive, intelligent play. He would have been a great Zag but would have lost minutes as soon as Sabonis arrived. The transfer was probably best for all involved.
Andy Poling: Highly recruited out of Westlake High in Portland, the 6’11” Poling suffered a bacterial infection his freshman season and lost over 50 lbs. By the time he’d recovered enough to play, he’d become infamous for air-balling back-to-back free throws and looking more lost on offense than this article’s author at a Drake concert. He transferred after his freshman season to DII Seattle Pacific, bulked up to over 250 lbs and had a solid college career.
Angel Nunez!!!: No player caused more heated discussions on the TSSF comments section than Angel. He had all the tools; 6’8”, great leaper, tremendous wing-span, nice jumper (although he’s shooting 25% from 3 at USF on 78 attempts), unfortunately he never looked comfortable or confident in the offense. Probably his most telling statistic; he played 175 minutes his first season at GU, took 60 shots (making 26) but didn’t have a single assist. Angel transferred to the University of South Florida where he starts, plays 30 minutes a game and averages 10 points and almost 6 rebounds per game. Good luck in the future Angel (and you too Eric Martinez).
Luke Meikle: Luke was an old-time Gonzaga recruit; raw talent, potential, needs time to hit the weights and develop. Sadly for Luke, after his freshman season GU recruited Wiltjer and Sabonis to play the same position. Luke showed promise against Arkansas at Maui where he was forced to play the post for 8 minutes and scored 4 pts with 2 rebounds and 2 blocks. He transferred to Cal Poly SLO where he’s spot starting, averaging 20 mpg with 9 pts and 3 rebounds per game.
Theo Davis: Better known as Josh Heytvelt’s wing-man during Josh’s run-in with local law enforcement, the 6’9” 200lb Canadian logged only 12 minutes on the floor for GU. He played high school ball in Canada, NYC and Philadelphia but was ineligible upon graduation due to questionable courses. After leaving GU, he went to the University of Binghamton who soon thereafter received the NCAA death penalty for numerous issues. He finished his college career at NAIA Rogers State skipping his senior season to play pro ball in Canada. He’s currently playing for the Windsor Express.
Manny Arop: Long, athletic, a good rebounder from the wing at 6’5” 215, Sundanese (via Canada) Manny started 8 of the first 16 games during his sophomore at GU before losing his starting spot to Marquise Carter. As the season progressed, his minutes decreased to the point he was an afterthought during the WCC and NCAA tournaments. Manny transferred to Indiana State where he averaged double digits in scoring for two years and had some great games.
Gerard Coleman: Possibly more controversial than Nunez, GU fans salivated for the chance to see a Big East’s team’s leading scorer on the floor for GU. He averaged over 15 minutes and 11 points per game during his first 9 games at Gonzaga including 19 points against Chaminade and a spectacular 21 against New Mexico State. Coleman was an incredible slasher to the hoop and unstoppable in the open court. Coleman’s strengths were the antipathy to a Mark Few offense, i.e. individual play versus working the ball to try and get the best shot. Gerard tried to adjust his game to dish more after a drive, but the damage was done, the fact he was driving was the problem. He transferred after a single year at GU to NAIA Georgetown College where he was averaging 21 ppg before losing his academic eligibility.
Bol Kong: Another Sudanese via Canada, 6’7” Bol was a star in Canada who had to get immigration issues resolved before coming to GU. Very long and a sharp-shooter, Bol played a single season at GU and looked like he would be able to give the team a solid offensive threat from the perimeter for a couple of years. Sadly, he lasted only a single season before being dismissed from school. After leaving GU, he bounced around a couple of colleges in Canada and unsuccessfully tried to play Canadian pro ball.
Mathis Monninghoff: A one trick pony trick, Mathis was a 3-point specialist who unfortunately shot .316 from behind the arc during his sophomore campaign at GU, his final season. He transferred after that season and is currently playing B-league pro ball in Germany.
Grant Gibbs: After a redshirt season, the 6’6” Gibbs looked to be the heir apparent to Matt Bouldin. He even started in Bouldin’s place against Davidson in a Battle in Seattle scoring only two points but grabbing 8 rebounds in the 103-91 GU victory. Things got a little murkier for Gibbs the following summer as GU secured transfer Marquis Carter and successfully recruited two other guards named Pangos and Bell. Gibbs left, “to be closer to his mid-western roots” and went on to play three successful seasons at Creighton (after a second redshirt season) alongside Doug McDermott. At Creighton, Gibbs averaged a little over 7 ppg and 5 assists (mostly tossing the ball to McDermott) and was able to make the NCAA tourney’s sweet 16 for three straight years.
Mathis Keita: Big, athletic but raw, Mathis earned three starts his freshman season with the highlight being a solid 12 point outing on 5 for 7 shooting in a Wake Forrest victory. Already a good defender, one could only think Mathis’s offensive skills would have improved with time and practice. When Pangos and Bell arrived during his sophomore season, Mathis saw David Stockton become the first guard off the bench and he knew his playing time would be severely limited if he stayed at GU. Keita transferred to DII Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he had a solid collegiate career.
Chris Sarbaugh: The 2011 MVP of the Washington State 4A Tournament while playing for Gonzaga Prep, Matt Bouldin look alike Sarbaugh spent a walk-on redshirt season at GU before transferring to North Idaho Community College. Thanks to the Bill Grier connection, Sarbaugh transferred to San Diego for his junior and senior seasons and saw quality minutes against Gonzaga. After graduation, Sarbaugh still had a year of D-1 eligibility and was a graduate transfer to the University of Idaho for his final season.
Demetri Goodson: Meech will always have a special place in GU fans hearts for his coast-to-coast lay-up to secure the tourney victory against Western Kentucky. As starting point guard for two seasons, Meech had incredible athleticism, was a great penetrator and a superior defender. His downfall, a career 20% three-point shooter and averaged only 2 assists per game during his three years at GU. In the middle of his junior season, as freshman David Stockton started getting more and more minutes the team looked better and better with a point who could distribute the ball. I lost a lot of respect of Meech after he trashed Few and the program in the Seattle Times after his departure and gave a revisionist history of why he left the program in a Green Bay radio interview. You do have to respect a guy who could not play college football for three years than make it in the NFL.
G.J. Vilarino: Vilarino was signed at Kentucky before Calipari took over. When Calipari arrived, he told the 5’11” Vilarino he preferred big guards and G.J. should look to transfer. Coach Cal then signed 6’0” Eric Bledsoe so it appeared Vilarino just wasn’t in Cal’s future plans. G J transferred to GU and like his fellow undersized, Texan, point guard companion Meech proved more adept at going hard to the basket than shooting from the outside or distributing the ball. Like Gibbs he saw his playing time limited when Carter, Pangos and Bell were recruited to he transferred to Appalachian State. He played there for one season before falling off the map and disappearing from college basketball.