Hunter Sallis’ recent entry into the transfer portal has made this piece a little different than what was expected. A defensive stalwart throughout the past season for Gonzaga, Sallis looked primed for a starting role heading into his junior year. Whatever his reasons may be, he decided to move on from Spokane, but that doesn’t change the impact he had on another successful year for the Zags in 2022-23.
Outside of maybe Anton Watson, Sallis was the Zags’ most important defensive player this year, anchoring a backcourt that otherwise drew its fair share of criticism for its play on that side of the ball. With a consistent rotation gig in his sophomore season, Sallis was able to make more of an impact with his on-ball skills, athleticism, and energy, regularly being responsible for the other team’s best guard while on the court and racking up more than a few steals and charges. Even as the team defense improved over the course of the year, he was still a standout, brought in when the team needed stops.
Sallis’ transfer decision surprised many, and it does leave some question marks in terms of his time in Spokane, as well as the outlook for the team going forward. His relative lack of production offensively kept him from more time on the court this year, but the two-guard spot looked to be his for the taking heading into the fall, and there’s no reason to believe his offense wouldn’t take the next step with more development, court time, and responsbility. Hunter Sallis will nonetheless continue his college career elsewhere, but that doesn’t take away from his contributions over the last two years.