I have had over a week to reflect and think. That outcome was obviously not the goal but the best part about sports is that there’s always next season and next season is looking to be another special group. I’m counting down the days until the 2021-2022 season tips off.
Gonzaga looks to be the preseason’s #1 ranked team and a national championship contender once again. This is in part to my educated guess that Drew Timme will return for his junior season while chasing the NPOY award and that Chet Holmgren will decide to take his talents to Spokane. Picture a starting lineup looking like this:
This would also include contributions off the bench from Dominick Harris, Julian Strawther, Ben Gregg, Kaden Perry (maybe even Aaron Cook or a potential transfer). All of college basketball is looking at that roster and rolling their eyes. “Are we seriously having to deal with this again?” - the rest of the nation.
Best part about the upcoming campaign is that Mark Few has put together another spectacular non-conference schedule, one can even argue better than this past year’s. The Zags will be tested and no one can disagree with that.
Duke is loaded and the showdown in Las Vegas is about to get rowdy. A revenge showdown with Texas Tech for the 2019 Elite Eight loss is going down. A trip to the Big Apple for the Empire Classic should be fun. Chris Beard and Texas grabbed a ton of talent in the transfer portal for a potential Top 10 showdown in the Longhorn State. Depending if Tommy Lloyd does head down to Tucson, a matchup between Gonzaga and Arizona in his first season as a head coach? Sign me up.
And don’t forget that the WCC is going to be STACKED! Loyola Marymount, San Francisco, San Diego, and Santa Clara have all hit the portal hard. Look for a huge jump in talent from all four of those schools. Of course, you can never sleep on Saint Mary’s and BYU if you play in the West Coast Conference. This is yet again a multi-bid league and should be ranked right behind the “Power 6” conferences.
The future of this Gonzaga program continues to shine bright and next season, the Zags are out for blood. The quest for that first national championship begins now.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho