You have to hand it to Zach Norvell. The redshirt freshman came from Chicago as the star of Simeon High School, only to arrive at Gonzaga and sit for a year on a championship level team.
Then Norvell took a backseat at the start of the season to Corey Kispert in the starting lineup. Norvell still got a lot of quality minutes, but it wasn’t until an ankle injury to Kispert gave room for Norvell to enter the starting lineup.
Perhaps, though, his most impressive trait is that he is willing to shoot his way through anything—literally. Zach Norvell has some pretty wild shooting splits establishing themselves this season. In the four games he has started (excluding last night against IUPUI), Norvell has shot 24 percent (6 for 25) from the field in the first half, and 76 percent (22 for 29) in the second half.
Those shots haven’t necessarily come in garbage time either. Against Villanova, the Zags spent the entire game battling back. Against Creighton, the Zags had to rally for the win. Against North Dakota, the game remained competitive all the way into overtime. Against Washington, well, Norvell still had to shoot his way out of the slump.
Norvell is still taking good shots, that is what the interesting thing about all this is. Against Creighton, he started out the game 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. All of his misses came on good looks. Like the shooter he is, Norvell plowed right through it.
It is no secret that Norvell is a high volume shooter. He has the highest number of field goal attempts per 40 minutes on the entire squad at 16.5. Johnathan Williams, the team’s leading scorer, shoots 14.5 shots per 40 minutes. Josh Perkins, the second-leading scorer, shoots 12.3.
On the post game interview after the game against North Dakota, assistant coach Donny Daniels joked, saying Norvell missing his first four shots is something he just has to go through for some reason. If Norvell is able to start hitting those first four shots, opponents will have to be on watch, because the freshman is a beyond talented scorer.