Ryan Nembhard (junior, guard)
2022-2023 stats (w/ Creighton): 12.1 PPG on 43.2 FG% and 35.6 3P%, 4.8 RPG, 4.0 RPG
One of the most important transfer moves in the portal this past offseason, quite possibly the best. Nembhard will be taking over the lead guard position for the Zags as Nolan Hickman makes the move to the 2. This is honestly the better fit for both of them as the duo in the backcourt.
If you didn’t catch on already, Ryan is the brother of Andrew Nembhard who played for the Zags from 2020-2022 and is now with the Indiana Pacers. Both are elite at controlling the offensive pace.
Nolan Hickman (junior, guard)
2022-2023 stats: 7.7 PPG on 42.0 FG% and 35.4 3P%, 3.1 APG, 2.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG
A breakout candidate in college basketball with the pressure of leading the offense off of him and acting more as a scoring threat. I’d like to think a major jump in his confidence and abilities from his sophomore season to now will occur because of this position change. Hickman will be given more opportunities to show of his deep offensive bag instead of acting as a facilitator for others all the time.
Steele Venters (junior, guard/forward)
2022-2023 stats (w/ Eastern Washington): 15.3 PPG on 45.7 FG% and 37.1 3P%, 2.8 RPG, 1.5 APG)
The former Big Sky Player of the Year reminds a lot of Corey Kispert. Shoots well from the perimeter, is always moving without the ball, cutting towards the rim. I was worried the wing spot at Gonzaga was going to take a drop in talent with Julian Strawther now with the Denver Nuggets but Venters is up for the challenge.
He’s had some clutch moments throughout his career so this move to a high-major program should be a smooth transition for him. I’m not afraid of having the ball in his hands with the shot clock dwindling.
Anton Watson (senior, forward)
2022-2023 stats: 11.1 PPG on 60.8 FG% and 33.3 3P%, 6.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.8 SPG
The Mayor of Spokane. The Swiss Army Knife. Big man on campus. The new face of the program. I got a ton of nicknames for the 5th year senior.
He’s stepping into big shoes to fill with Drew Timme moving on but if their was any one up for the challenge, it’d be Watson. Anton really can do everything on the floor and has improved stretching out the floor over his span at Gonzaga. He’ll be the most impactful (both on offense and defense) when he’s out there.
Watson may not be the most vocal on the court but don’t get it twisted, he’ll be acting as a leader through his play.
Graham Ike (redshirt junior, forward)
2021-2022 stats (w/ Wyoming): 19.5 PPG on 51.0 FG%, 9.6 RPG, 1.3 APG
The big man is finally healthy and ready to get back out on the court after having to sit out all last season with a right foot injury. Before that occurred, Ike was one of the top presences around the rim in college basketball. Reminds you a lot of Julius Randle not only based on both being lefties but both being built like bulldozers. A man amongst boys. Once he gets that post positioning, it’s game over for his defender.
As long as he can keep himself near 100% and on the floor, the Zags will be more than fine.
Ben Gregg (junior, forward)
2022-2023 stats: 5.1 PPG on 50.4 FG% and 37.7 3P%, 3.0 RPG
The Energizer Bunny is back and acting as the sixth man for this year’s squad. This is the perfect role for him to be the first off the bench and pick up the slack wherever it is missing. Whether that’s diving on the floor for loose balls, stretching out the floor with his three-point shooting (which has been improving each season), or just acting as a bully/being aggressive when protecting the rim.
Fouls may be an issue for Gregg throughout the season, something to keep an eye on.
Dusty Stromer (freshman, guard)
2022-2023 stats (w/ Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks High School in California): 17.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG
The highly-touted recruit is acting as an x-factor for this season. Depth in the backcourt is an issue but Stromer can be the solution. He’s very active on both ends of the floor which is what you expect and want from a guy at his size/length. Stromer can act as a pest on defense when getting his hand in the passing lanes or annoying on offense with his ability to score on all three levels.
What nickname should we give him?
Braden Huff (redshirt freshman, forward)
2021-2022 stats (w/ Glenbard West High School in Illinois): 16.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.3 SPG
Think off all the greats who had quite the bounce back year after redshirting (my mind immediately goes to Kelly Olynyk). Braden Huff should be following in those footsteps as the prototypical Gonzaga big man. It helps that he put on some weight this offseason, about 7 pounds to be exact.
The stretch/post big is is extremely versatile and long. He isn’t afraid to put the ball on the deck and direct the offense at times (ran point in high school). His role will grow and grow as the season goes along.
Jun Seok Yeo (sophomore, forward)
2021 stats (w/ South Korea in the FIBA U-19 World Cup): 25.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG
A scoring machine that does it in a multitude of ways. Seok Yeo’s smooth jumper at 6’8” is like art and at that size, he isn’t afraid to bump bodies down low. He has been a sleeper since he’s stepped onto Gonzaga’s campus. With the depth in the frontcourt this season, it’s going to pretty tough for him to move up the depth chart but who knows?
Luka Krajnovic (freshman, guard)
2022-2023 stats (w/ Bosco Zagreb in Croatia): 17.9 PPG on 52.7 FG% and 35.4 3P%
A young international talent with a lot of potential. Krajnovic has solid size/skill for his position. He’s very patient when creating shots for himself and others. Gonzaga really has an embarrassment of riches off the bench but because of that, it’s also going to be tough for him to crack the rotation this season. Definitely has lead guard of the Zags written in his future.
Pavle Stosic (freshman, forward)
2022-2023 stats (w/ Levitic Huesca in Spain): 3.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG
Stosic provides even more depth and size for a Gonzaga squad that’s loaded at the wing/forward position. The 6’8” forward is going to soak up everything around him in his first season with Gonzaga. It’s going to be important for a young player like himself who just recently moved over the states. The American game is all brand new to him.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho