Gonzaga Bulldogs sophomore guard Zach Norvell Jr. ultimately did not hear his name called during the 2019 NBA Draft, and will now face a steeper climb into the NBA.
The Chicago-born Norvell came into Spokane with ice water in his veins, and immediately demonstrated his scoring prowess, averaging 12.7 points per game as a freshman, second-highest on the squad. He opened eyes in the NCAA Tournament, and after that point, the sense was his Gonzaga career would always be shorter rather than longer.
This past season, Norvell upped those percentages a bit, averaging 14.9 points and shooting 37 percent from long range.
Norvell’s primary value in the NBA will be his ability to space the floor and be a constant threat for an offensive burst. Although we in Spokane are well versed in Norvell’s mathematically provable first-half shooting struggles, his ability to shoot his way through any slump is admirable, and on a professional level, desirable.
It is a heartbreaking outcome for Norvell tonight, but it is hardly the final gasp. Norvell, alongside Josh Perkins, should have no issues snaring NBA Summer League spots. There is the possibility of a team signing Norvell to a two-way contract, similar to what Johnathan Williams III signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, in the near future as well.
Although there is sure to be a legion of Gonzaga fans ready to expound on how tonight is proof that Norvell should not have left Gonzaga early, this is just one setback in what can be a very productive offseason. And everyone here at TSSF is rooting for that success, because we know it is in you.