The 2022-2023 Big Sky Player of the Year from Eastern Washington and Gonzaga transfer was announced out for the season with a torn ACL. Steele Venters was planning on starting for the Zags out on the wing but just two days before the season opener against Yale, the gut-wrenching announcement by Jeff Goodman.
BREAKING: Gonzaga’s Steele Venters, a key offseason addition via the portal from Eastern Washington, is out for the season with a knee injury, source told @TheMessenger.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 9, 2023
The 6-7 wing averaged 15.3 points and shot 37 percent from 3 last season and was the Big Sky Player of the…
Gonzaga does have depth in the frontcourt but very little out on the wing/backcourt positions. The biggest question now is who steps up in place of Venters in the starting lineup?
My answer is Ben Gregg due to that aforementioned lack of depth in the backcourt. You have very minimal ball handlers in the 2nd unit so Dusty Stromer should be the first one coming off the bench. Gregg has the ability to stretch out the floor and has the length to guard out on the wing. Does he have the footspeed for the job is the biggest argument. The game is positionless now, just keep that in mind as well.
I totally see the reasoning for Dusty Stromer moving into the starting lineup. He has a similar frame and skillset to Venters. Just be aware that you’re then being forced to bring up Luka Krajnovic into the rotation as the lone guard off the bench.
The Zags are going to have some shooting woes and it will get rough at times. No doubt about that. One point is for sure, Jun Seok Yeo is getting minutes off the bench now. He has moved up in the depth chart and into the rotation which I’m not sure Mark Few was neither expecting or even wanting before the start of the season. At times like this, it makes you wish that Hunter Sallis was still a Zag.
I wish Steele Venters a speedy recovery but it’s the next man up mentality now.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho