The dust hasn't even settled from the national title game for 24 hours, but the Internet keeps churning and #content needs to keep #contenting.
As such, many of the major news outlets have already released their way too early 2016-17 season projections. Do these mean anything? Obviously not. Are they fun to look at? For the most part yes.
For starters, most of the projections are assuming Domantas Sabonis hops into the NBA Draft and that Przemek Karnowski comes back for another year.
Here is what everyone is saying about Gonzaga.
The Zags may end up being better next season than they were last season, as Williams-Goss, Williams III and Collins may all end up being all-WCC players. They need Karnowski to decide to return for a fifth-year to anchor their defense.
This kind of seems like a big "duh" statement. Although we ended up good this year, this season's team was hamstrung by a small lineup. Next season, although there are a lot of questions marks coming into it, most of those question marks are of the good kind. Where as this season we hardly had enough food for the dinner party, next season it looks like we will have more than enough to go around.
If Domantas Sabonis returns, watch out. But he's probably gone. And that'll hurt. But transfers Nigel Williams-Goss and Jonathan Williams will ensure the Zags have enough veterans to make the NCAA Tournament once again.
Again, the sentiment about Gonzaga is less about the recruiting class coming in, and more about the instant ability to contribute from NWG and Williams. Losing Kyle Wiltjer, Kyle Dranginis, and potentially Sabonis will hurt, but we are able to fill in a couple of those slots right off the bat with really good players. Any other year, and that would make us wince, but it doesn't look like the case next season. What does make me wince in the CBS Sports rankings is Saint Mary's at No. 17.
While the graduation of Wiltjer and likely departure of Sabonis will be a blow to Gonzaga, it's possible the Zags turn out to be better next season than they were this year. That can happen if two transfers make the impact they're expected to and Karnowski returns for a fifth season and regains his pre-back injury form. One of Gonzaga's transfers is Williams-Goss, a former McDonald's All-American who averaged 15.6 points and 5.9 assists at Washington his final season with the Huskies. He and Perkins are likely to both start and share point guard duties. The other transfer is Williams, who averaged 11.9 points and 7.1 rebounds at Missouri during the 2014-15 season. Williams, Collins, Karnowski and Edwards would form a frontcourt good enough to ease the sting from the departure of Wiltjer and Sabonis.
Yahoo! is right in the sense that everything next year will be a lot better if Karnowski decides to return, and if he is just as good as he was before. These are a couple of big ifs. Without a healthy Karno in the center, we will have to rely on Ryan Edwards for sizeable minutes and Zach Collins to grow up quickly. For all of these rankings, you take out Karnowski from the mix and it can send the Zags tumbling down a few notches. That is how important he is.
If you are like me, you are wondering where Gonzaga is on the ESPN page. I see Saint Mary's, but I don't see Gonzaga. Apparently, ESPN is not nearly as high on the Zags as basically EVERYONE else in the nation is.