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Mock Draft: Selecting Gonzaga’s Best Team

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Who wins GM of the year?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The calendar has turned to June, and it certainly looks like sports are going to make their way back into our lives at some point soon. With every outlet looking for content, most of them have resorted to mock drafts, rankings, and anything else they can think of. We already ranked all of Mark Few’s recruiting classes, so we figured why not draft the best Gonzaga roster possible?

Peter, Keith, and Steven got together to select their own rosters in our Gonzaga mock draft. Here are the rules: Each GM selected 10 players in a snake draft (Peter, Keith Steven is the draft order), for a total of 30 players. Every single player in Gonzaga history was eligible. If someone wanted to draft Kyle Wiltjer to play the wing for their team, they were allowed. They have the final say of their rosters and positions.

Round 1, Pick 1 - Brandon Clarke

Peter: Ok first off, I haven’t participated in a fantasy NBA league since the Supersonics left, which means I am probably butchering the position to draft first. But with the first pick I’m taking Brandon Clarke. For me, this is a no-brainer. The Zags have so many good point guards I can fill that in later. If it wasn’t for Zion Williamson, Clarke would’ve been basically one of the best players since Anthony Davis’ only season in 2012. I’m building around monster dunks and floaters.

Round 1, Pick 2 - Adam Morrison

Keith: For my first pick, I’m taking Mr. Adam Morrison. I can’t say no to having Morrison serve as the cornerstone of my team to fill up the buckets and bring an edge to the squad. I love his attitude. Also, he would be a social media content machine for my fictitious team.

Round 1, Pick 3 - John Stockton

Steven: With the first of my two picks, I will go with John Stockton. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 80s, the 90s, or today’s game, the man is a master when it comes to ball screens and I would love for him to lead my group of athletic bigs. Plus, he’s the all-time Gonzaga leader in steals, so his two-way game and his motor are the perfect assets to be my first choice.

Round 2, Pick 1 - Domantas Sabonis

Steven: With my other pick, I want to pair Stockton with Domantas Sabonis, one of the best pick-and-roll big men to come through Spokane. Those two would terrorize opposing defenses. He’s also a beast on the low block and a ferocious rebounder. Pair his work ethic and fire with Stockton’s and there’s no way any team will out hustle us.

Round 2, Pick 2 - Zach Collins

Keith: I’m going with a guy who didn’t even start when he suited up for Gonzaga. That’s right, Zach Collins, welcome to the squad big fella. He’ll serve as an elite defensive anchor for my team thanks to his length and athleticism. As a freshman, his footwork in the post was already quite advanced and he proved to be a capable scorer from the block who still had some range. His performance in the Final Four against South Carolina showed how much of a game changer he was.

Round 2, Pick 3 - Josh Perkins

Peter: Considering that I am essentially Josh Perkins fan #1, for my second pick, I’ll be taking Gonzaga’s career assist leader. If my team is oriented around alley-oops to Brandon Clarke, I’m going to pick Perkins for that role.

Round 3, Pick 1 - Matt Santangelo

Peter: I’m going to pair Perkins with another one of the Gonzaga greats — Matt Santangelo. He can help shoulder that scoring burden, and it will allow me to run a dual point guard offense with two of Gonzaga’s best.

Round 3, Pick 2 - Ronny Turiaf

Keith: I’m going to continue to fill out my front court with another stud and a true renaissance man—Ronny Turiaf. Imagining him paired with Zach Collins in the frontcourt is intoxicating, and he represents a significant piece of Gonzaga’s history both with his play and the fact his success opened the doors for Gonzaga to mine Europe for more talent over the next 15 years.

Round 3, Pick 3 - Dan Dickau

Steven: With Stockton as my facilitator in the back court, I need a scorer. Enter walking bucket Dan Dickau, the man who averaged 20 a game on 46 percent shooting from distance in his two years at Gonzaga. He also a knack for distributing the rock as well. Him and Stockton are an old school lethal tandem.

Round 4, Pick 1 - Killian Tillie

Steven: With Sabonis as a pure roller in the pick-and-roll game, I am going to take Killian Tillie to play alongside him because of his versatility. For my money, he is the most well-rounded big man in Gonzaga history. He can score inside, he can drive, he can step out and pop a three, and he has the quickness to defend all five positions if needed.

Round 4, Pick 2 - Nigel Williams-Goss

Keith: Nigel Williams-Goss, lead us to the promised land. I still need someone to pull the strings for my team, and it says a lot about the depth of Gonzaga’s talent at the point guard position over the years that he’s still available here. Not only was he a strong facilitator, but Nigel’s defensive work for the national championship squad was fantastic. Plus, he’s one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever seen.

Round 4, Pick 3 - Przemek Karnowski

Peter: Mark Few loves nothing more than his classic inside out game, so positionless-basketball be damned. For my next pick, I’m taking the big man Przemek Karnowski to man the post. Between him and Clarke, I expect zero opposing FG made within seven feet of the rim

Round 5, Pick 1 - Elias Harris

Peter: I’m debating between snagging a backup PG, but I already have two on the squad. So with my fifth pick I will round out the starting five with Elias Harris at the wing. He wasn’t the most prolific shooter, but he could stretch the floor and is one of the better all-around Zags out there.

Round 5, Pick 2 - Blake Stepp

Keith: Blake Stepp might be the perfect piece to round out my starting 5. Stepp was an absolute machine and owner of one of the prettiest jump shots I’ve ever seen. He’s second on Gonzaga’s all-time three-point field goals made, and was no slouch either as a secondary passer who averaged over 6 apg in his last two seasons in Spokane.

Round 5, Pick 3 - Zach Norvell Jr.

Steven: With two great bigs, an elite passer at point, and a top-level scorer at the off guard, I am in need of a knockdown shooter. So I am going to take Zach Norvell Jr. The Microwave had a tendency to knock down clutch shot after clutch shot in the NCAA Tournament and has good enough size to guard anyone on the perimeter. His defense improved drastically his sophomore season.

Round 6, Pick 1 - Rui Hachimura

Steven: As my sixth man, I am going to take a man who played that spot as a sophomore - Rui Hachimura. I could certainly start him at the wing over Norvell, but for now he is the sixth man. He gives me a ton of lineup versatility at the very least. Rui is a master at the mid-range jumper, has incredible touch at the rim, and is just a gifted scorer with a love for the game and his teammates.

Round 6, Pick 2 - Kelly Olynyk

Keith: Dang, I was really hoping to get Rui on the way back. But Kelly Olynyk will help me get over missing out on him. My team needs some flow, and Olynyk has no problem filling that role. Oh, he was also a pretty good scorer too after emerging from the clinic. You know you’e done well when the figurative “Olynyk Clinic” was named after you.

Round 6, Pick 3 - Kyle Wiltjer

Peter: For my sixth pick, I’m going to take Kyle Wiltjer to slot in the post. Wiltjer’s ability to stretch the floor is on level with Olynyk’s, and although his defense sometimes was a bit lackluster, with Shem or BC lurking around, he should do totally fine.

Round 7, Pick 1 - Jeremy Pargo

Peter: For my seventh pick, I’m going to take the only player who might have a more intense scorer’s mentality than Zach Norvell — Jeremy Pargo. I need some defense and a guy you always feel comfortable with taking the last shot no matter what the circumstances are.

Round 7, Pick 2 - Kevin Pangos

Keith: That one hurt. I love Jeremy. But I’m happy to have Kevin Pangos on my team. Dude is a gamer. 5th on the program’s all-time scoring list, 6th on the all-time assists list, and first in three-pointers made. Pretty good player.

Round 7, Pick 3 - JP Batista

Steven: I will go with JP Batista as a bruising big off the bench. Batista was a walking double-double his senior season and with a lot of finesse from my bigs, I need a punisher.

Round 8, Pick 1 - Matt Bouldin

Steven: Then I will go with Matt Bouldin. A four-year starter has a ton of versatility and does a little bit of everything. He averaged 14 points his final three seasons, but also had 4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals.

Rond 8, Pick 2 - Richie Frahm

Keith: I need another wing, and Richie Frahm is the guy. A great shooter from all over the floor who averaged over 40% from the three-point line in all four years of his Gonzaga career. He was one of the key players in starting Gonzaga’s current tournament run and another strong piece off the bench for my team.

Round 8, Pick 3 - Casey Calvary

Peter: I need another big guy on my bench, so I am going to go with Casey Calvary. He is freaky athletic in the vein of Brandon Clarke, and should be able to provide me some minutes at both the four and five spot.

Round 9, Pick 1 - Steven Gray

Peter: I’m going to stock the backcourt with the ninth pick of Steven Gray. Fantastic shooter, defender, and alongside Josh Perkins will be keeping the hair game of my backcourt running strong.

Round 9, Pick 2 - Cory Violette

Keith: I was hoping to get Calvary on my way back, but Cory Violette will do the job as well. He was so consistent and reliable during his last three seasons, and a solid free throw shooter for a big man!

Round 9, Pick 3 - Frank Burgess

Steven: Since he’s still available, I have to go with the great Frank Burgess. He averaged 30(!!!) points a game over his three seasons at Gonzaga and has is number retired in the rafters. No matter what era he payed in, those are insane stats.

Round 10, Pick 1 - Corey Kispert

Steven: I will also take Corey Kispert as a knockdown shooter off my bench to round out my squad of 10. His size is the perfect fit for the wing and there’s always a need for another 3 and D player on my team.

Round 10, Pick 2 - Jim McPhee

Keith: For my final pick, I’m going with Jim McPhee who played for the Zags from 1986 to 1990. He’s second on Gonzaga’s all-time scoring list behind only Mr. Burgess and averaged over 20ppg twice (!!) in his career.

Round 10, Pick 3 - Mike Hart

Peter: I’m going to mix it up. For my final pick, I am choosing the irreplaceable Mike Hart. No player in college basketball has had a higher ORtg (168) in the past decade while playing as many minutes as Hart (16.9). Granted, that is because he never saw a shot he liked. But when it comes to glue guys, the Zags haven’t had one quite like him since his senior season in 2013.


Peter’s Team

Starters: Josh Perkins, Matt Santangelo, Elias Harris, Brandon Clarke, Przemek Karnowski

Bench: Kyle Wiltjer, Jeremy Pargo, Casey Calvary, Steven Gray, Mike Hart

Peter’s Summary: I think my starting five can probably beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. Clarke and Karno have to be one of the most dominant defensive frontcourts in the country, and as long as the rest of my shooters can hit their shots this teams wins a natty. Wiltjer and Calvary can sub in for either of my positions down low. I’m a bit worried about the wing, the only real bench option there is Steven Gray (and Mike Hart for spot minutes)

Keith’s Team

Starters: Nigel Williams-Goss, Blake Stepp, Adam Morrison, Zach Collins, Ronny Turiaf

Bench: Kelly Olynyk, Kevin Pangos, Richie Frahm, Corey Violette, Jim McPhee

Keith’s Summary: I love my starting five. I’ll put them up against anyone. Nigel Williams-Goss and Blake Stepp are a sick duo in the backcourt, and I’m equally pumped about the tandem of Ronny Turiaf and Zach Collins down low with Olynyk in the mix. Throw in Adam Morrison who can score from anywhere on the floor and doesn’t need any help in getting his shot and there’s an incredibly high ceiling for this team and they could score with anyone in the country. My bench also allows for a lot of lineup versatility and my guards could all be interchangeable.

Steven’s Team

Starters: John Stockton, Dan Dickau, Zach Norvell, Killian Tillie, Domantas Sabonis

Bench: Rui Hachimura, JP Batista, Matt Bouldin, Frank Burgess, Corey Kispert

Steven’s Summary: I love my lineup versatility options. I think there’s a good mix of scorers, facilitators, and shooters. I think this group can just run pick and rolls exclusively and win every game they play. They have multiple guards who can play the point, three bigs who can all score in different ways, and an absolute bruiser in Batista. My shooting could set records. Individual perimeter defense may be a small concern, but I love how I built this group.


What say you, friends? Let us know who should win General Manager of the Year and which players got royally snubbed.