In light of yesterday's not so fun what if, let's take a look at a more enjoyable what if. Specifically, what if Kyle Wiltjer had come to Gonzaga for a full four years? What if we just took his career numbers and said none of that happened at Kentucky and it all happened at Gonzaga?
Immediately, right off the bat, Kyle Wiltjer would have been one of the all-time great scorers in the Gonzaga record books. Wiltjer finished his career with 1,909 points scored, which overall would have landed him third in the Gonzaga books behind Jim McPhee and Frank Burgess.
He grabbed a total of 670 rebounds over his career, which would have landed him No. 10 in the record books, right behind Robert Sacre at 679 total rebounds.
In fact, let's just take a look at how well he would've done across the board.
What is most impressive about this is that all of these numbers incorporate his years at Kentucky as well, specifically his freshman year where Wiltjer only averaged 11.6 minutes per game.
We can't hypothesize if any of those numbers would have been higher had he been at Gonzaga the whole time. Wiltjer averaged five points per game his freshman year and only took four shots per game. His sophomore year, he averaged a healthier 10.2 points per game. Originally, I figured if Wiltjer had arrived at Gonzaga his freshman year, he would have had a chance at passing Burgess as the all-time leading scorer in team history.
Burgess scored 2,196 points over his Gonzaga career. Wiltjer's career point total leaves him 287 behind Burgess, however, if Wiltjer had also started his career at Gonzaga, I'm not sure he would've seen much more playing time than 11.6 minutes per game. The 2011-12 Gonzaga Bulldogs featured Robert Sacre and Elias Harris taking a lion's share of the minutes. Sam Dower filled in most of the rest with Ryan Spangler cleaning up the scraps. Assuming we had Wiltjer, and not Spangler, there still weren't too many minutes to go around.
Which then goes into the 2012-13 season, where the Zags debut Przemek Karnowski a bit at center. They also have Harris' senior year campaign and the debut of the new and improved Kelly Olynyk. Again, Wiltjer would have had plenty of room to fit it, but he most likely would not have made the offensive impact he did the previous two seasons.
So instead of thinking what if, we can enjoy what Wiltjer did provide. He helped take Gonzaga back to the Elite Eight for the first time in forever, and also helped lead the team to an improbably Sweet 16 run as well. Now, hopefully, he can carve out a life for himself in the NBA. He only spent two years at Gonzaga, but they will go down as two of the better years a GU player has had.