In a curious twist, Ben Gregg played more games for Gonzaga during the COVID-abbreviated 2020-21 season when he should have been finishing out his senior year of high school than he did in 21-22 during his true freshman campaign. Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story about Gregg’s development arc.
Mark Few was locked into a frontcourt rotation of Drew Timme, Anton Watson, and Chet Holmgren from the outset of the season, but Gregg is further along from where he was at this time last year and almost certainly a better player now than he otherwise would have been had he not had the bonus semester the year prior.
It’s easy to allow that extra semester to affect the perception of Gregg and feel a little bit of impatience or uncertainty about his ability to fulfill a significant role next season. However, Gregg showed very promising flashes in his “pre-freshman” campaign, and in his appearances sprinkled throughout last season, demonstrated a more well-rounded game that is better equipped to handle the demands of his position at this level. He played with greater physicality, particularly on the offensive boards, than the year prior. Gregg also mixed in more shots around the basket—increasing his percentage of shots at the rim by over 8%—proving he can be more than a stretch forward who only camps out on the perimeter.
With Holmgren earmarked as a top-3 pick in the NBA Draft this June and Drew Timme seemingly committed to going pro, there are major minutes up for grabs in the frontcourt. Anton Watson will be leaned on heavily, but Gregg is in prime position to seize a bigger role and is a natural fit to play alongside both Watson and Kaden Perry should the latter be past his back troubles. The opportunity is there, but for Gonzaga to achieve its goals next season, Gregg and his frontcourt cohorts will need to take yet another step forward to make up for the production lost with Holmgren and Timme’s anticipated departures.
This will be a big summer for Gregg as he works with the staff for a second offseason on further developing his game. The gains that he makes over the next few months will have a significant impact on Gonzaga’s prospects next season.