If you’ve been to the spiffy new GoZags.com page within the past week, you might have noticed something odd about the Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team roster—specifically, expected North Dakota grad transfer Geno Crandall wasn’t anywhere to be seen.
It turns out that we are entering a fingers crossed nothing is going wrong scenario, as Crandall still has some NCAA transfer requirements to sift through before he is eligible to join the Zags squad.
North Dakota transfer Geno Crandall is not currently listed on GU's updated roster.— Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) August 30, 2018
From a GU spokesperson: Geno Crandall is continuing to work on his NCAA transfer requirements, and we are excited for him to become a Zag.
Now, that is the positive spin on the situation from a GU spokesperson, and hopefully, there won’t be too many issues that come from it. At the time Crandall announced he would be attending Gonzaga, he hadn’t technically graduated from North Dakota just quite yet. He was still short a couple of classes to fulfill his degree, and therefore, become an instantly playable grad transfer.
Considering that classes for Gonzaga started this week, it is a bit ominous that Crandall has not ironed that situation out quite yet. Jim Meehan of the Spokesman Review reported that neither Crandall nor Mark Few returned messages for comment.
The importance of Crandall to the squad cannot be overstated. The Zags, with all of their hype, are entering the season with one primary ball handler—senior point guard Josh Perkins. Crandall was expected to help take some of the load off of Perkins as an experienced guard and playmaker himself.
Without Crandall in the picture, the Zags have a backcourt consisting of Perkins, Zack Norvell, Corey Kispert, Greg Foster Jr., and Joel Ayayi. Although Norvell and Kispert saw plenty of time last season, neither saw any time at the point. Both Foster and Ayayi are new to the college game, with Ayayi redshirting last season and Foster as a true freshman.
One of the biggest issues offensively the Zags had last season was any game that required Perkins to get a breather, a game he had foul trouble, or a game in which he struggled. The Zags offense tended to sputter during those times, and Crandall would have provided a huge lift in that realm.
The Zags are probably entering the 2018-19 season as a top-5 ranked team, and the offense will still pack a huge punch thanks to the likes of Rui Hachimura, Killian Tillie, and Norvell. But, if Crandall is not in the picture, the hype train hits a little speed bump, and it will be interesting to see how Few, the coaching staff, and Perkins respond.