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Our First Pro Zags Update of the Season

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Ten Zags will suit up in the NBA, and many more are still going strong overseas.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA preseason gets underway this week, and many overseas leagues have already begun their schedules. That means it’s time to check in again with our Zag alums in their professional careers. All in all, there are ten former Bulldogs on NBA preseason rosters, with many more plying their trades around the world.

Domantas Sabonis: The two-time all-star is in the second year of a four-year extension with the Pacers, and is coming off his best NBA season to date. He set career highs in points, assists, blocks, and triple-doubles in 2021-22.

Rui Hachimura: Rui is entering his third season in the league, fresh off his Olympic appearance with Japan during the Tokyo games. Hachimura posted 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season.

Kelly Olynyk: Olynyk signed a three-year contract with the Pistons in the offseason, and will be suiting up for his fourth NBA team in 2021-22. He tied a career high with 13.5 points per game in 2020-21 while splitting his season between the Heat and Rockets.

Brandon Clarke: Clarke, like Hachimura, is beginning his third year in the NBA. Despite similar numbers to his rookie season, BC started a career high 16 games last year, finishing the season with 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game.

Killian Tillie: Tillie will be returning to the Grizzlies on a two-way contract this season. Thanks to injuries and an abbreviated G-League season, Tillie saw just 18 games of action in 2020-21, finishing with 3.2 points per game and shooting 10-33 on three pointers.

Zach Collins: Collins signed a three-year deal with the Spurs in August after spending the first four seasons of his NBA career in Portland. A rash of injuries kept Collins off the court for the entirety of last season, and unfortunately, recovery from ankle surgery likely means he won’t make his return for a few months.

Jalen Suggs: The fifth pick in this year’s draft, Suggs averaged 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals in the Summer League. He will likely get significant minutes for the Magic this season if all goes according to plan.

Corey Kispert: The second of Gonzaga’s two lottery picks this year, Kispert averaged 9.5 points and 2.5 rebounds during Summer League action. He’ll be teaming up with Rui in Washington, and hopefully will be able to work his way into the rotation.

Joel Ayayi: Ayayi signed a two-way contract with the Lakers after going undrafted in August. With the G-League returning to a full schedule this season, Ayayi should get plenty of minutes and opportunities to develop his game.

Kevin Pangos: After six seasons overseas, including four in Europe’s top league, Pangos is finally getting an NBA chance after signing a two-year deal with Cleveland. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 assists while shooting 39% from three for Zenit St. Petersburg.

Nigel Williams-Goss: Williams-Goss is now playing for one of the top teams overseas after inking an offseason deal with Real Madrid. He is averaging 8.5 points and 1.8 assists through five games in EuroLeague and Spanish Liga Endesa action.

Filip Petrusev: Petrusev is also playing in EuroLeague this year after signing with Turkish squad Anadolu Efes. He has averaged 15 points and three rebounds over his first three games, including 17 points against Williams-Goss and Real Madrid. He is still on the NBA radar, with the Sixers retaining his NBA rights after drafting him in the second round this summer.

Johnathan Williams III: Williams is also finding his way with a new team after signing with Italian squad Trento. He has 11 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in the first week of Serie A action.

Kyle Wiltjer: Wiltjer moved from Turkey to Spain after signing with Tenerife. Through four games in Liga Endesa, he is averaging 8.3 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 54.5% from three.

David Stockton: After playing in last year’s G-League bubble, Stockton has returned to Guaynabo in the Puerto Rican league, where he is putting up some solid numbers. His 21.4 ppg and 7.6 apg lead the team through 29 games.

Josh Perkins: Perkins is one of three former Zags playing in Italy, suiting up in his first season for Brindisi. He has averaged 15.5 points, five rebounds, and four assists in his first two games.

Austin Daye: Daye is the third of the Italian Zags, as he returns for his fourth season with Venezia. He has 6.5 points and three rebounds per game in the first week of play.

Micah Downs: Downs is the lone player on this list who won a championship last year, and he’s back to help defend the Portuguese LPB title with Sporting Lisboa. He had 14 points, six rebounds, and two assists in the season opener last weekend.

Geno Crandall: The reigning MVP of the British Basketball League, Crandall returns for his second season with the Leicester Riders. Through two games this season, he is averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 assists, and four rebounds per game.

Silas Melson: Melson has joined Estonian squad Kalev/Cramo for the 2021-22 season. He is averaging 15 points and 3.3 rebounds per game on 61% shooting in the team’s first week of play.

Ryan Woolridge: Woolridge has moved from the G-League overseas, suiting up this season for Iraklis in the Greek A1 League and FIBA Europe Cup.

Ira Brown: Brown, now 39, is back with Osaka in the Japanese B1 League after making his Olympic debut for Japan in the inaugural 3x3 event this summer. He is averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds to start the season.