Fanbo Zeng, the top Chinese basketball prospect who committed to Gonzaga months ago, will be decommitting and joining the NBA G League Ignite.
Feng was originally supposed to be a part of the Class of 2022. Recently, he had shown up on the Zags’ Class of 2021 roster. 247 Sports rates Zeng as the No. 71 prospect in the Class of 2021.
With Zeng eyeing a basketball future in 2021, it was pretty clear from the outset that he would not receive those minutes at Gonzaga. Even with the departures of Oumar Ballo and Pavel Zakharov, the Zags 2021 frontcourt currently consists of Drew Timme, Chet Holmgren, Anton Watson, and Ben Gregg. That isn’t counting fellow 2021 incoming big man Kaden Perry. There is a high likelihood that Zeng wouldn’t receive a single minute next season.
According to The Athletic, Tommy Lloyd was a big driver of Zeng’s recruitment, and hence, a major factor in his decision to leave. Zeng will be the second 2021 prospect to join the G League Ignite team, alongside Michael Foster.
Overall, it is still an interesting decision on Zeng’s part. No recruiters envisioned him as a one-and-done college player, and although the G League Invite is all about the development, Zeng might have been better served getting that development in college, either at Gonzaga or elsewhere.
That said, Zeng is also a Chinese prospect. There are currently no Chinese-born players in the NBA, which means that Zeng has the marketing opportunity of a billion people plus more. In terms of making money, he would not have been able to immediately leverage that in the college level.
It is an interesting situation to say the least. Even without Zeng, the Zags will be totally fine in the near future. He was slated as more of a pure power forward, and the Zags already have multiple instances of that in the form of Timme, Watson, and Perry.