The Gonzaga Bulldogs lost a lot of star power last season in Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert, Drew Timme didn’t even bother to flirt with the draft before declaring his intentions to return for his junior season, a possible national championship, and a potential Player of the Year award for the fireplace mantle.
After demonstrating his potential in his freshman year, Timme took the step ahead virtually everyone expected. He averaged 19 points and 7 rebounds per game, shooting almost 66 percent from the floor. In addition, he introduced a ridiculous mustache into his repertoire, and with it, an equally ridiculous mustached-themed celebration to make up for the lack of fans last season.
With Andrew Nembhard as the quiet leader and Chet Holmgren as the uber-hyped freshman recruit, Timme is holding it down as the public face of the Bulldogs. He will be the longest-tenured starter on the squad, and all offensive eyes will be on him.
Timme already “won” the Ken Pomeroy Player of the Year last season. However, with Luka Garza in the way, the major awards did not follow. He took home the Karl Malone Award and was a consensus second-team All American. So what does a player like that do when they come back for another year of college?
For Timme, the junior year is a time to show that he has evolved his game to fit better into the NBA. He is a dazzle to watch in the post, with nearly perfect footwork to get his opponents off-balance for easy looks at the hoop. That is where Timme works best. However, he hasn’t demonstrated a consistent ability to hit mid-range field goals (only accounted for 25 percent of his FGA last season) or three-pointers (shot just 28.6 percent on 0.7 attempts per game). NBA scouts will want to see more than his post skills.
There is also work to be done on the defensive end. Perhaps the greatest bump to Timme’s success in the NBA is on rim protection. For the most part, with Holmgren coming on board, the success of the Zags doesn’t necessarily rely on Timme being better in this area. However, for NBA scouts, more lateral quickness, better awareness, and an ability to alter drives to the paint will be required for a draft pick.
When we look at the Player Previews for the year, we can all expect more of the same from Timme. He is going to get his buckets and he is going to look like he’s having a blast. what we hope to see is the next step in his game, from an amazing college player to someone flashing that NBA skill level.
Timme was already one of the best players in the country last season. This year, we will get to see potential NIL endorsement deals in the mix. Most importantly, Timme will help anchor what should be one of the most impossible frontcourts to defend. He is a big reason for the Zags’ hype to open the season. Now let’s see him turn it into NBA chatter.