(Editor’s Note: this Gonzaga article is a re-post from a year ago; made to coincide with the National Championship game tonight)
For the Gonzaga Bulldogs, it’s now enter Zach Collins; as Damontas Sabonis exits. Today, we found out that Sabonis the Younger has entered the draft for good (by declaring an agent), and he’s looking like a lottery selection (more on him here). Some mock drafts have Domantas Sabonis as high as #8 overall and no one seems to have him lower than #19. So he could be on his way to beginning a storied NBA career like his father Arvydas Sabonis.
With a NBA Draft grade like Sabonis has, how can you not leave? For now, Gonzaga will fill their void in the low post with their first McDonalds All-American signee in history- incoming freshman seven footer Zach Collins (Kyle Wiltjer originally committed to Kentucky).
Collins comes in as the 41st ranked prospect nationally according to 24/7 Sports. Rivals has the Las Vegas native 37th. ESPNU ranks Gonzaga’s incoming class 20th nationally.
It just goes to show you how far Gonzaga basketball has come in a little over 15 years. They’re no upstart, or even “just” a regional power. Premium cable reality shows, Sweet 16s, lottery picks, McDonald’s All-Americans, Gonzaga basketball has arrived.
“I guess you could say that,” GU guard Eric McClellan said.
“It’s a great place to be.”
“This is not a mid-major program anymore.”
No it definitely is not. The Gonzaga basketball program is kind of like the song “only happy when it rains” by ’90s alt-rock band Garbage. This has nothing to do with the high amounts of precipitation that fall in the Pacific Northwest either. The program is at its best when the situation is less than optimal.
Projecting out to next year the Zags depth chart shapes out like so. This is an excerpt from our very early 2016-17 top 25. We’ve got the Zags ranked #20 right now. (See the rest here)
20. GONZAGA BULLDOGS
The Zags lose a ton inside but add two key transfers in Nigel Williams-Goss and Jonathan Williams III. Their guard play should be solid but the question mark is who mans the middle?
Projected Depth Chart
C: Zach Collins (Fr)/Ryan Edwards (Jr)/Jacob Larsen (Fr)
F: Jonathan Williams III (Jr)/Killian Tillie (Fr)/Rui Hachimura (Fr)
SG: Silas Melson (So)/Zach Norvell (Fr)
G: Josh Perkins (Jr)/Bryan Alberts (So)
PG: Nigel Williams-Goss (Jr)
Gone: PF-Kyle Wiltjer, F/C-Domantas Sabonis, C-Przemek Karnowski, SF-Kyle Dranginis, G-Eric McClellan
On to Zach Collins, we sat down with him for an exclusive at McDonald’s All-American Game Media Day. Here’s the Soundcloud file posted below, have a listen and enjoy.
The night after the interview, Collins took part in the #MCDAAG, scoring 9 points and gathering 6 rebounds in 12 minutes of game action.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and NBC Chicago.com, contributes to Chicago Tribune.com, Bold, WGN CLTV and KOZN.Follow paulmbanks