Three weeks after removing his name from consideration for the NBA Draft and announcing his intent to leave Florida and finish out the remainder of his collegiate career elsewhere, Andrew Nembhard announced he is transferring to Gonzaga as reported by Corey Evans of Rivals Portal.
Nembhard, who averaged 11.2 ppg/5.6 apg/3.0 rpg/1.1 spg as a sophomore, will need to sit out the upcoming season and will be eligible for two more seasons beginning with the 2021-22 campaign. Based on his comments to Evans, Nembhard appears to be prepared to sit out the year and will not be seeking a waiver. The sit one, play two timeline makes a lot more sense for Gonzaga’s roster needs.
Considering Gonzaga’s success and deserved reputation for player development, a redshirt season where he can focus on addressing the feedback he received during the draft process and improving his professional prospects had to be one of the primary selling points for Nembhard when considering his transfer options. When you take into account the possibility of COVID-19 negatively impacting the season, along with the present backcourt logjam of Joel Ayayi, Jalen Suggs, Dominick Harris, and Aaron Cook, a redshirt season seems like the way to go.
Nembhard also cited the success that other Canadians have had in the program, and specifically cited feedback he received from Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos that reassured his decision to head to Gonzaga. Nembhard can also look to the success that Nigel Williams-Goss had at Gonzaga after transferring midway through his collegiate career as a positive template for what may be in store for him.
Nembhard chose Gonzaga over Duke, USC, Memphis, Georgetown, and Stanford. A top-25 recruit in the 2018 class, the Zags were in the mix all the way to the very end for Nembhard when he came out of high school before he ultimately chose to play for Mike White and Florida. Nembhard proved he has great vision and the passing ability to adeptly operate an offense during his two years in Gainesville. However, there’s definitely more to be unlocked. He shot 30.8% from the 3-point line as a sophomore and 34.7% as a freshman. In addition, last season, he averaged 38% from the field on 2-point jumpers and only 26.8% of his shot attempts came at the rim. If he can improve his shooting and explosiveness over the next year he has the chance to greatly improve his professional stock while being a major force for Gonzaga.
Assuming that Suggs, Ayayi, and Petrusev leave for the pro ranks after the 2020-21 season, this is the starting lineup we might see when Nembhard is eligible to play again:
G - Nembhard
G - Dominick Harris
F - Anton Watson
F - Drew Timme
C - Oumar Ballo
That’s a pretty good starting 5 (understatement) with talent like Julian Strawther, Martynas Arlauskas, and Pavel Zakharov on the bench along with what could be an excellent freshman class if Mark Few hits on Paolo Banchero and/or Chet Holmgren to join Kaden Perry who is already committed.
No matter who is around, it’s safe to say that Andrew Nembhard is going to be playing on some excellent Gonzaga teams. It’s going to be fun.