The Gonzaga Bulldogs are coming off the most memorable and successful season in school history. Ever since the squad burst onto the national scene in 1999, the Bulldogs have become a perennial name in March, to the point of the old saying, ‘death, taxes, and Gonzaga.’
It took nearly 20 years, but Gonzaga finally overcame that long sought after hump: their first Final Four appearance. The squad built on that immediately, playing the North Carolina Tar Heels in the title game. But all good things have to come to an end. Zach Collins, one of the top freshmen in the game, left for the NBA Draft. Same with his All-American teammate Nigel Williams-Goss. Przemek Karnowski graduated as the winningest player in college hoops history.
When the dust settled, the Gonzaga Bulldogs lost a lot of the production from last year, but they retain just as much, if not some more intriguing prospects. Zach Norvell and Jesse Wade are primed to be the next pair in a long run of fantastic Gonzaga guards. Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie demonstrated their stand out abilities over the summer in the U-19 World Cup. Johnathan Williams, Josh Perkins, and Silas Melson will have to provide the stabilizing presence for an otherwise young team.
There are just so many questions, we tried to answer them for you. We probably got a lot of it wrong, but hopefully we got enough of it right.
The Starting Five (or maybe we should just call it the Starting Seven)
Unless you are a palm reader and have insight into the future (or are a member of the Gonzaga coaching staff), predicting the starting five of the Bulldogs as it stands right now is a rather fruitless exercise. The Zags might run out Jacob Larsen, Williams, Hachimura, Melson, and Perkins...or maybe it will be Williams, Tillie, Norvell, Melson, and Perkins. Or how about Larsen, Williams, Norvell, Melson, and Perkins. It is really impossible to know at this point, but we tried to break down who we thought would be the starting five, and who the impact players coming off the bench will be this year.
Get excited for the PK80 (and the rest of that non-conference schedule)
The eagerness surrounding the Gonzaga Bulldogs non-conference schedule each year is awesome. The Zags made a name for themselves as the team that would play anyone, anywhere, at any time. Things don’t need to be so drastic now, but Mark Few and company still love to put some fantastic games on the schedule. We break those down for your right here.
Previewing the West Coast Conference in two digestable posts
Did you know that Saint Mary’s is the best team in the WCC? Who would’ve thought? Either way, the WCC is pretty much set up like it always is—with a growing gap between the top half of the league and the bottom half of the league. Either way, the Zags will have a few tests during the conference slate, and this year, we probably shouldn’t take the WCC for granted.
What if this ends up being 2015-16 all over again
Remember that sickening feeling? The hype was immense going into the season. The Zags were going to roll out a three-headed front court monster the likes of college basketball had never seen in their lives before. Then everything bad happened, and the Zags almost missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time, in the most serious manner. With so many question marks on this squad to open the season, there is room for a lot of error.
Let’s not think negatively though, let’s think about what happens if it all goes right
Sometimes, we might be a bit too much of a realist around here, but we like to have our fun as well. Before last season, there probably weren’t too many people who could have said “The Gonzaga Bulldogs will be in the title game” with a straight face that weren’t either A) a player, or B) a player’s relative. Last year, everything went right. And what happens if everything goes right again? One can dream!