Ben Gregg showed up to the start of fall practice looking noticeably more muscular and physically mature. It made me optimistic about his ability to contribute in the season ahead. Fast forward six months later and it seems that optimism was well-placed!
After an inauspicious start to the season that featured a DNP in the loss to Texas, Gregg came alive in his hometown of Portland during the Phil Knight Invitational Tournament. While the Zags lost to Purdue in the second round, that was the breakout game that earned Gregg a larger role in the rotation as he provided energy and production off the bench when Gonzaga looked listless.
Efton Reid got the first crack at giving Gonzaga reliable minutes off the bench from the frontcourt, but it was Gregg who seized the opportunity and didn’t give it up for the rest of the season. Good for him, and good for Gonzaga as his profile in the frontcourt is exactly what the Zags needed as a stretch-4 to complement the Timme and Watson duo.
The work that Gregg put in last offseason was self-evident in his level of preparation when the season tipped off. He’ll need to be just as productive of a summer to put himself in the best position possible to be one of Gonzaga’s go-to players next season on what could be a vastly different looking team.
Gonzaga will be turning over the large majority of its frontcourt this offseason with Timme and Watson unlikely to backtrack on their intentions to depart without using their COVID bonus years and Reid in the transfer portal. Julian Strawther might be off to the NBA and Hunter Sallis is in the transfer portal as well. As such, Gregg will be leaned on more than ever.
Based on what he showed us this season, I fully expect Gregg will be ready and able to rise to the challenge and be one of Gonzaga’s core pieces next season. This season should have been an excellent confidence boost considering how well he played in some big moments, and that should spur him on as he continues his development. He has all the talent to be the next one in the line of Gonzaga’s great, skilled big men.