During his workout with the Atlanta Hawks this morning, Zach Norvell Jr. told reporters that he has decided to stay in the NBA draft and will forgo his final two years of eligibility at Gonzaga.
Gonzaga's Zach Norvell said he's 100 percent locked into this draft and won't return to school.— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) May 9, 2019
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise if you’ve been following reports the last couple of weeks. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic posted recently that NBA scouts and GMs were under the impression that Norvell would indeed stay in this draft as opposed to the 2020 draft. He has since rocketed up Big Boards across the internet. Today, Vecenie had him 37th overall in his latest projections.
Norvell is one of the few Gonzaga players to ever score 1,000 points in his first two seasons in uniform. He provided us several incredible moments, from scorching hot halves, to incredibly big shots in the NCAA Tournament.
I would argue this was the biggest shot of the entire evening, and of course it came from Snacks. pic.twitter.com/0Ka9secvi4— Slipper Still Fits (@slipperstillfit) March 29, 2019
He averaged 13.8 points in his two years and shot exactly 37 percent from deep both seasons in Spokane. His defense and ball handling improved mightily throughout his sophomore season, and because he redshirted, he is already 21 years old and ready to make the jump to the NBA.
His shooting ability, if it finds more consistency, is a tantalizing prospect for NBA teams in need of a bench scorer. The Lakers desperately need shooting, and pairing him up with Johnathan Williams would be fun to see. The Atlanta Hawks play away from the basket a lot and are always looking for deep shooters. In all likelihood, Norvell has a chance to be selected early in the second round.
What that means for Gonzaga next season? Well, they’re going to be young. We knew this already. They have a clear weakness in the backcourt, not necessarily with talent, but with quality depth. Grabbing Admon Gilder will help alleviate that a little bit, but the other options are currently a true freshman in Brock Ravet and two fairly unproven commodities in Joel Ayayi and Greg Foster Jr.
Gonzaga could decide to go full monster next season. They can start Gilder, move Kispert to the “2” and start Anton Watson at the wing with Filip Petrusev and Drew Timme inside (or Killian Tillie if he returns). Having three starters at 6’9 or taller would be a match-up nightmare for opposing teams.
Gonzaga will still be in the hunt for at least one more guard option throughout the Summer. There will be another group of grad transfers declaring after the NBA combine like there is every season. There’s also the small possibility of 2020 commit Dom Harris reclassifying into the 2019 class, as he has jokingly (?) teased on social media. The other name that has been floating around is Daishen Nix, who is a top 20 player in the 2020 class. Gonzaga has been in on him for awhile and there are rumblings he may re-classify to 2019 as well.
In short, we are still a long way from October. The 2019-2020 roster is still in a state of flux. The one thing we do know is that is will not include Zach Norvell, who will be out there making money in the NBA. Good luck, Snacks!