In Keith’s recent profile of Julian Strawther, he mentioned the second year jump we can anticipate from the Zags guard. The same type of case can be made for Ben Gregg, except it’s a little different. The 6-10 forward is entering his first full season in Spokane, not something you hear much regarding college athletes. But thanks to his early graduation and early enrollment in 2020-21, Gregg was able to get some valuable experience within the program as they made their Final Four run. Gregg still has his freshman eligibility as well, thanks to the extra year given by the NCAA due to COVID. So what can we expect from him in year 1.5?
Gregg, like Strawther, was highly ranked in the ESPN 100, and showed some flashes of his potential in his court time last season. He played mostly mop up duty, but the coaching staff showed their confidence by sticking him out there in some competitive games, mostly in WCC play. Gregg didn’t look overmatched on the court, despite playing in what should have been his senior season in high school. That characteristic alone means as much as any statistic for Gregg going into this season.
The extra experience for Gregg, combined with his overall talent and shooting ability, means we will likely see a lot more of him in 2021-22. The Zags will have a rather deep frontcourt this season, as he joins the likes of Drew Timme, Anton Watson, and Chet Holmgren. Even if he doesn’t start (which won’t be surprising given those names), Gregg could be one of the first men off the bench for Gonzaga. A big man who can shoot will always be a valuable asset, after all, and especially so on a team where outside shooting is a weakness.
Ben Gregg showed a lot in a small time period last season, and there are reasons to believe he can make that big leap forward in the coming months. If he is able to do so, it will undoubtedly make the Zags’ much better, and certainly increase their chances of returning to the Final Four.