Ben Gregg put in the work in the weight room over the last six months. That was my first thought about the super-sophomore forward when I saw him in pictures and videos from Gonzaga’s social media accounts. It’s not always the case that you can see the outward evidence of a player’s offseason work, but Gregg clearly looks stronger and more physically mature. That work is going to pay off this season.
Last week during WCC Basketball Media Day, Rasir Bolton named Gregg when he was asked who improved the most during the offseason. A few days later, during Kraziness in the Kennel, the new and improved Gregg easily finished in traffic at the end of the scrimmage session to secure the win for the White team.
Ben Gregg converts the winning basket for the White team, which wins 38-36. pic.twitter.com/s35cibdw1z— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) October 9, 2022
Gregg played much more aggressively during Kraziness, and perhaps most notably, assistant coach Brian Michaelson shared comments which suggest that Gregg is in line to have a bigger role this season even if he’s the fourth big on the depth chart.
This is all good news for both Gregg and Gonzaga. Gregg has had to bide his time over the last 1.5 seasons and waited patiently while playing a few spot minutes here and there thanks to Gonzaga’s never-ending abundance of riches in the frontcourt. Gonzaga is still stacked in the frontcourt, even after losing the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft in Chet Holmgren, but the Zags are in need of a big who can fill some of the void left by Holmgren.
Gregg isn’t the rim protector that Holmgren is, few are, and is not expected to be though he can certainly contribute in that aspect. But Gregg has the right skillset to play the stretch big role that features prominently in Gonzaga’s offense. Importantly, we’ve seen enough from Gregg to know he can play complementary basketball alongside each of Drew Timme, Efton Reid, Anton Watson, and even Kaden Perry whom Gregg played alongside regularly in the brief stretch that Perry was available.
The arrow has been pointing up for Gregg ever since he showed up at Gonzaga early in December 2020m, during what should have been his senior year of high school, and got on the floor for a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country and on its way to the national championship game. Since then, Gregg has made incremental improvements but the 2022 offseason looks like it may be the catalyst to Gregg’s collegiate career taking a big step forward.
It’s up to Gregg to build on the last few months and not rest on his laurels so he can compete with Gonzaga’s other bigs for the coveted minutes available and reap the rewards for the sweat equity he has put in.