2022 Record: 31-6 (14-2)
Head Coach: Mark Few (Career Record 689-135)
PG: Ryan Nembhard (Creighton 12.1 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 4.8 Ast)
SG: Nolan Hickman (7.7 Pts, 2.4 Reb, 3.1 Ast)
SF: Steele Venters (Eastern Washington 15.3 Pts, 2.8 Reb, 1.5 Ast)
PF: Anton Watson (11.1 Pts, 6.2 Reb, 2.4 Ast)
C: Graham Ike (2021-22 Wyoming 19.5 Pts, 9.6 Reb, 1.3 Ast)
6: PF Ben Gregg (5.1 Pts, 3.0 Reb, 0.7 Ast)
7: SG Dusty Stromer
8: C Braden Huff (RS)
9: SF Jun Seok Yeo
10: SG Luka Krajnovic
11: PF Pavle Stosic
Gonzaga returns starters from last seasons team Nolan Hickman and Anton Watson. Hickman made strides from his freshman to sophomore season and he’s poised to make another big jump going into his junior season. Hickman should take a step up and average double figures this upcoming season. He’s a good passer for his role and also takes care of the ball really well. Anton Watson averaged double figures for the first time in his career last season while starting all 37 games. He’s a great finisher around the rim who shot 61% from the floor this past season. He’s also been developing a three point shot over the course of his career and shot 16-48 from beyond the arc last season. Watson is also an incredible interior defender making a name for himself on that side end of the court. Ben Gregg who should have an elevated role also returns for the Bulldogs. The rising junior will likely be the first player off the bench. Braden Huff who redshirted this past season also returns and it’s likely he earns minutes early in the season.
The Bulldogs went into the transfer portal and were able to sign guards Ryan Nembhard and Steele Venters. Nembhard, a transfer from Creighton, comes to Gonzaga after starting 64 games with the Blue Jays the past 2 seasons. Nembhard is a very sound point guard who gets his teammates involved and could also score at a high level. He averaged nearly 5 assists per game this past season. He is the brother of former Gonzaga + Florida guard Andrew Nembhard who currently plays for the Pacers. Ryan Nembhard’s play this season will be key in dictating what type of year Gonzaga will have. Venters brings great size and length to his position. He is moving up a level in play but has that knack for scoring that should carry over to Gonzaga. He shot 46% from the field last season overall and is also a career 40% three point shooter.
The final transfer that Gonzaga added was former Wyoming big man Graham Ike. He missed the entire 2022-23 season due to injury, but was a very productive player during his Cowboy career when healthy. He has big shoes to fill taking over for Gonzaga legend Drew Timme at the center position. There isn’t that much difference between the talent level of the Mountain West and WCC so Ike will likely transition well to the new league. Ike averaged nearly 20PPG and 10RPG shooting 51% from the floor with Wyoming. He’s a solid defender and rebounds at a high level. Jun Seok Yeo from Korea also returns for the Bulldogs. He joined the team midseason and took a redshirt year. The Zags also added 3 freshman as part of the class of 2023. The class is headlined by SG Dusty Stromer who was ranked as the #47 prospect in the class and will play a big role on this Zags team. The other 2 additions were international prospects. They are 6-9 Serbian forward Pavle Stosic and 6-5 Croatian guard Luka Krajnovic.
Gonzaga has made the tournament every year that Mark Few has been the head coach and this season will be no different. The Bulldogs did a solid job in the transfer portal and also returned some talent from last seasons team that will guide them this year. It won’t be a cakewalk in the WCC this season. Some outlets have Saint Mary’s as the #1 team in the conference and it will be a battle to the end between the Gaels and Zags. Despite being a powerhouse program for 25 seasons, Gonzaga has never won a national title. There have been more talented Gonzaga rosters in the past but maybe this is finally the year the Zags breakthrough.