#1 Gonzaga Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Gonzaga Bulldogs
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 West Coast
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Gonzaga came so close to a perfect season. The Bulldogs won 31 straight games on their way to the national title game. And most of those games were not even close. Few teams have dominated like the 2020-2021 Gonzaga squad. Unfortunately, they fell short of their ultimate goal. With three starters gone, it seems like Gonzaga should take a little step back this season. Even if this group turns out not to be quite as good, they could still be the best team in college basketball.
2020-21 Record: 31-1, 15-0
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mark Few
Coach Record: 630-124 at Gonzaga, 630-124 overall
Key Departed Players:
Corey Kispert, Forward, 18.6 ppg
Jalen Suggs, Guard, 14.4 ppg
Joel Ayayi, Guard, 12.0 ppg
Aaron Cook, Guard, 4.2 ppg
Oumar Ballo, Center, 2.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Drew Timme, Junior, Forward, 19.0 ppg
Andrew Nembhard, Senior, Guard, 9.2 ppg
Anton Watson, Junior, Forward, 6.9 ppg
Julian Strawther, Sophomore, Forward, 3.4 ppg
Dominick Harris, Sophomore, Guard, 3.0 ppg
Ben Gregg, Freshman, Forward, 0.9 ppg
Key New Players:
Rasir Bolton, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Iowa State
Colby Brooks, Sophomore, Forward
Abe Eagle, Sophomore, Forward
Joe Few, Freshman, Guard
Nolan Hickman, Freshman, Guard
Chet Holmgren, Freshman, Center
Kaden Perry, Freshman, Forward
Hunter Sallis, Freshman, Guard
It all starts with Drew Timme. The 6-10 junior will get plenty of attention as the National Player of the Year favorite heading into the 2021-2022 campaign. Timme averaged 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds last year and shot an impressive 65.5 percent from the floor. He is looking to expand his shooting range this year and that will make him even more impossible to defend. Anton Watson started 17 games during his sophomore season and he will continue to provide versatile defending in the frontcourt. Watson likely will not getting too many starting opportunities this season though, thanks to the addition of incoming freshman Chet Holmgren. The seven-footer and five-star recruit is a great rim protector, a piece the Bulldogs were missing last year, and can score from anywhere on the floor. The backcourt will be led by Andrew Nembhard, who averaged 9.2 points and 4.4 assists. He will be the full-time point guard this year after splitting those duties with fifth overall NBA Draft selection Jalen Suggs. The biggest question is who is ready to step up next to Nembhard and play on the wings. Rasir Bolton is the most experienced option. The Iowa State transfer averaged 15.5 points, 3.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds with the Cyclones last season. Sophomores Julian Strawther and Dominick Harris got a little bit of playing time and they can both score inside and outside. Freshmen Hunter Sallis and Nolan Hickman have the ability to play a big role right away. While there may be some questions when it comes to experience, there is little doubt that Coach Mark Few has a great crop of talent to play at the two and three spots. If that talent can fit in with the more experienced players, Gonzaga will be poised for another shot at the national championship game.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 91.0 (1st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.7 (158, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 54.9 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.2 (107, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (143, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.8 (44, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.1 (92, 4)
Rebound Margin: 6.8 (21, 2)
Assists Per Game: 18.8 (2, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (89, 4)
Madness 2022 NBA Draft Rankings:
#1 Chet Holmgren
#16 Hunter Sallis
#43 Andrew Nembhard
#47 Drew Timme
#49 Nolan Hickman
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#1 Chet Holmgren
#21 Hunter Sallis
#23 Nolan Hickman
#53 Kaden Perry