There aren't enough superlatives that I can use to laud the season that Domantas Sabonis produced in his sophomore year at Gonzaga. Last year it was pretty evident that Sabonis was an immense talent. However, once Przemek Karnowski went down for the season, we all got to see just how good of a player Sabonis truly is.
Sabonis averaged 17.6 ppg and 11.8 rpg, and the first thing you notice when you watch him is his dominance on the glass. Domas is an elite rebounder, and his numbers reflect just how gifted he is at cleaning up missed shots. Sabonis amassed 426 rebounds on the season, which gives him the 4th best total in the nation, and the 3rd best rebounding total in the history of the Gonzaga program. His defensive and total rebound percentages also rank among the nation's Top 20.
Sabonis isn't just a rebounding virtuoso. His skills extend to the offensive end where a .618 effective field goal percentage again places him in the nation's Top 20. Sabonis finished the year with a player efficiency rating (PER) of 29.3, tying him for the 16th best mark among D1 players. Befitting his standing as one of college basketball's most complete players, Sabonis had a win share of 7.5 which was good for 8th in the nation, ranking ahead of guys like Denzel Valentine, Grayson Allen, Tyler Ulis, Malcolm Brogdon, and Jakob Poeltl. In the last 10 seasons for Gonzaga, only Kelly Olynyk (36.2 in 2012-13) and Kyle Wiltjer (30.7 in 2014-15) posted better PERs, while Wiltjer's 7.5 win shares in 2014-15 is the only figure to match Sabonis during that same period.
Setting aside Domantas's awesome numbers, it's simply a joy to watch him play. Sabonis was never shy about displaying his emotions on the court. You could always count on getting his best effort, and he never shied away from a battle in the post, even when opposing teams resorted to mugging him at every opportunity (see game against BYU in the WCC tournament). As the son of a basketball legend, Domantas has to deal with the gift and curse of his last name. But you'd never know it by how he seamlessly fit into the team's culture on and off the court.
Domas is a beast, and it was a pleasure to watch him play for the Zags. I'll be a fan of his regardless of where he lands next. Although he has not yet officially hired an agent, thus preserving his NCAA eligibility, that's simply a formality at this point. He will enter the NBA and make an instant impact, of this I have no doubt. I'm certain Domas will be a great pro. Whatever his ceiling is as a basketball player, he'll absolutely reach it.
Few on Sabonis: "He’s as impressive of a person and player as I’ve ever coached. Insatiable desire to get better."— Jim Meehan (@SRJimm) April 6, 2016