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Deep Dive: Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga is off to a great start this season with big wins over Creighton, Arizona, and even Duke. Let’s take an in-depth look at everyone in the Zag’s rotation.

Point Guard – Josh Perkins

In Josh Perkins, a 5th year senior because he redshirted his freshman season, the Bulldogs have one of the better two-way (offense and defense) guards in all of college basketball. His ability to shoot threes and defend the opposing teams best guard is indispensable in the backcourt. His season averages are 11.6 ppg (points per game), 3.1 rpg (rebounds per game), and 8.6 apg (assists per game) per sports reference.

Shooting Guard – Zach Norvell

Zach Norvell continues to develop into the best shooter in college basketball. With this being his sophomore year, many expected him to take a leap and he has. He’s shooting a career high 45% from the three-point line along with 50% from the field and just under 90% on free throws. And none of this speaks to his high-level play on the defensive end where he gets multiple steals by jumping through passing lanes. His season averages are 18.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 3.4 apg per sports reference.

Small Forward – Corey Kispert

The 6’7” forward didn’t play much at all last year due to the presence of Silas Melson. But now that Melson is gone, Kispert has landed the small forward job and thrived. He’s shooting just under 40% from three and his rebounding as a wing is quite rare (wings generally don’t rebound well). His averages on the year are 8.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 1.4 apg per sports reference.

Power Forward – Rui Hachimura

Rui Hachimura has distinguished himself as the best player on Gonzaga with his leadership and overall basketball ability. Overall the NBA prospect recalls a shorter and stockier Anthony Davis. Another of head coach Mark Few’s foreign recruits (Rui’s originally from Japan), Rui’s ability to score at will and control the paint with his frame on both sides of the ball can only be matched by one other player in college (Reid Travis of Kentucky). His season averages are 21. Ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 1.5 apg per sports reference.

Center – Brandon Clarke

Brandon Clarke has been a godsend for the Bulldogs. Coming into the season, the 6’11” center Killian Tillie was slated to be the starter at center. But after Tillie had surgery on his foot after breaking it this offseason, it was Brandon Clarke’s job to lose. And his impact has been felt. Offensively he can jump out of the gym, so he’s a perfect alley-oop option for Josh Perkins. And defensively he’s averaging nearly four blocks per game, proving he can be an elite rim protector. His season averages are 17.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 1.4 apg per sports reference.

Backup Point Guard – Greg Foster Jr.

Originally the backup point guard was going to be transfer from North Dakota Geno Crandall. But Crandall’s recent broken foot has forced Greg Foster in the rotation. Though he doesn’t share the same athleticism as Crandall, Foster’s ability to shoot threes and defend opposing guards with ferocity is more than serviceable as a backup point guard. His season averages are 3.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg, and 1.8 apg per sports reference. guards with ferocity is more than serviceable as a backup point guard. His season averages are 3.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg, and 1.8 apg per sports reference.

Backup Power Forward – Jeremy Jones

Jeremy Jones hustles. He is what Shawn Livingston is to the Warriors to Gonzaga. Someone who doesn’t shy away from any assignment. There’s no defensive assignment Jones will back down from and his rebounding is indispensable off the pine. His natural athleticism allows him to play any of the three positions in the front court. His season averages are 4.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 1.0 apg.

Backup Center – Filip Petrušev

Petrušev is a 7-foot rebounding machine. No team in all of Division I basketball can say they have a better backup big. He can score faceups from 15 feet and on the low block with his back to the basket. He’s also a very good rim protector with his 7’6” wingspan. His season averages are 8.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, and 0.2 apg.

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