With the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, it feels like transfer portal has started to heat up earlier than usual this off-season. With no games to watch, there is nothing else to do but speculate on where Gonzaga fits in with the numerous players they’ve already been connected to. With the rapid pace of the portal, you may not have caught every connection, so we’re here to update you. As always, these things change on a daily basis.
Erik Stevenson - Wichita State
Stevenson is a traditional, sit one, play two transfer guard originally from Lacey, WA. He has already narrowed his list to Gonzaga, San Diego State, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington. Stevenson averaged 11 points and 4.7 rebounds a game this season, but was inconsistent, and inefficient at times. But he also has the ability to go off in any game, as evidence by his 27 and 29 point outbursts this year. With Joel Ayayi, Corey Kispert, and potentially Jalen Suggs all likely gone heading into the 2021-2022 season, Gonzaga will need more guards in the program. With a year to develop and learn the system, Stevenson can be a solid role player in two years.
Wichita State transfer Erik Stevenson tells me that he has cut his list to the following schools (in no particular order):— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 18, 2020
San Diego State
Bryce Aiken - Harvard
Mike Smith - Columbia
Aiken and Smith were the first two graduate transfers to be linked to Gonzaga. Both Ivy League guards averaged 30+ minutes and were two of the best players in the conference. Aiken averaged 22 points a year ago and Smith averaged 23 this season. Typically, Gonzaga would have no problem taking them into the program, but with the assumed return of Ayayi, and the arrival of Suggs, it seems hard to imagine these transfers could get more than 15-20 minutes a game at Gonzaga. If they are willing to take that hit, Gonzaga would gladly welcome them with open arms because they are tremendously talented.
Jordan Bruner - Yale
A 6’9 grad transfer forward, Bruner has all of his options available to him. He’s been in contact with many major programs and will also enter his name into the NBA draft process. Gonzaga seems behind several other programs in his recruitment, but if Filip Petrusev leaves, there are minutes to be had in the front court. Bruner averaged 10.9 points, nine rebounds and three assists this season.
Yale graduate transfer Jordan Bruner talked with @Stockrisers. He said Baylor, Arkansas, Alabama and Maryland are amongst the programs on him hard.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) March 23, 2020
Plus, Gonzaga, Memphis and St. John’s are recently involved. And, the NBA still an option. | Story: https://t.co/kUEGjhIeDN pic.twitter.com/R2B0JOF7NP
Darius Perry - Louisville
For my money, this feels like the most likely fit of the grad transfer guards so far. Perry started 26 games at Louisville this year and averaged 20 minutes. He’s not an explosive scorer by any means, but is a very capable point guard and brings plenty of experience. Gonzaga has a huge needs for an experienced guard on the roster. With an assumed lineup of Suggs-Ayayi-Kispert-Watson-Timme/Petrusev, that would leave a bench of Dominick Harris, Julian Strawther, and Oumar Ballo. That’s three freshmen. A grad transfer point guard that can spell Suggs for 10-12 minutes a game and provide leadership would be a tremendous value. Perry fits this mold. Plus, it can keep Ayayi and Harris at the off-guard spot, where both are stronger.
Justin Turner - Bowling Green
Turner came out on Sunday and said he is transferring and has already been in contact with several schools. He is a 6’4 guard who played mostly off the ball at Bowling Green and is a tremendous scorer. He was a two-time first-team player in the MAC and is the seventh leading scorer in BGSU history. He averaged 18 points each of the last two seasons, adding four rebounds and just under three assists.
EJ Anosike - Sacred Heart
The latest news coming out Tuesday is that first-team All-NEC forward EJ Anosike has Gonzaga in his final seven, along with Tennessee, Louisville, Georgia, Boston College, Georgetown, and Wake Forest. The 6’6, 245 pound wing/forward hybrid averaged 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds game this season. He says his announcement will be coming this Friday. He is not a threat from outside, but his freakish strength and athleticism make up for it. Gonzaga is the only West Coast school listed, Anosike is a New Jersey native, and his sister played for Tennessee where she won two National Titles for Pat Summit.
If I had to guess, Gonzaga would love to add a veteran point guard to next season’s roster. Ryan Woolridge was the only true point this season and he was playing 38-40 minutes in some games, which is not ideal long term, and certainly not ideal or fair for a true freshman in Jalen Suggs. If everyone returns next season, Gonzaga has two open scholarships (or one if Matthew Lang has his permanently renewed). If Petrusev leaves, they have a third open spot and possibly look at a grad transfer big along with a guard. And of course, more names will become available as time passes. Maybe the next Nigel Williams-Goss or Johnathan Williams is still waiting in the wings.