Gonzaga Basketball: An Early Look to the Offseason


Mar 23, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Kevin Pangos (4) yells out to his teammates in the first half of the game against the Wichita State Shockers during the third round of the NCAA basketball tournament at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulldogs had a fabulous season. In fact, it was their best season ever. However, when it was all said and done, the Zags felt unsatisfied with the ending to such an incomparable season. This empty feeling stems from yet another early exit from the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga fans are obviously crushed by the defeat, but their are also some serious question marks going into next season for the Bulldogs. Here are some things the Bulldogs need to address in the offseason.


It was exposed the whole game, especially with their backcourt. Part of the reason the Shockers shot so well from deep was that the Gonzaga guards sagged off heavily on the Wichita State shooters. Out of Pangos, Stockton, Draginis, and Bell, Bell is the only one athletic enough to man up without giving the offensive player a great deal of space. Of course Stockton, Pangos, and Draginis have other capabilities that they excel at, but the Zags defense is vulnerable with these three on the floor. When Bell went down with that ankle injury in the second half, Mark Few was forced to play a combination of Pangos, Stockton, and Draginis. As a result, Wichita State got a myriad of good looks in the waning stages of the game that they ultimately knocked down. The Bulldogs couldn’t respond, and they lost.

Now this is a tough thing to instantly improve on, considering athletic ability is not coachable. Some will claim that Gonzaga’s inability to defend the 3-point line is a result of coaching, but that is not the case. However, it can be solved with recruiting. In fact, the Zags have already taken steps in the right direction in that aspect with transfer Gerard Coleman. Granted, Coleman is more of a small forward, but he will improve the Zags overall athleticism immensely, especially on the wing. Mike Hart was a great defender, but Coleman could be just as good, if not better. He will also bring a toughness to this team that they lacked in years past. On top of Coleman, coach Mark Few will need to scour the class of 2014 and recruit one or two athletic guards.

Replacing the front court

One thing is for sure, Elias Harris and Mike Hart will not be returning next season. The German and the Walk-On unfortunately have played their last game in Gonzaga jersey, which leaves the program with the hefty task of replacing these two extremely important players. Hart might be easier to replace than people think, since Coleman is transferring in. Although Coleman might not have the hustle or heart (pun intended) that Hart possesses  he has a lot more talent and overall skil than Hart has. The offense could be even more potent with Coleman in the lineup next season. However, replacing Harris will be much more of a challenge. There is no guy currently on the Gonzaga roster that can replace the 14.6ppg and 7.4rpg that Harris is leaving behind. The most likely candidate to do so is Sam Dower. The junior forward averaged 6.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game this year for the Bulldogs. He has shown the potential to be a deadly scorer, but is a liability defensively and is not the proven rebounder that Harris is. He also is not as nimble as Harris, and more athletic power forwards could expose this.

Not only will Gonzaga lose these two guys, but there is a high chance that Kelly Olynyk will leave Spokane for the NBA draft. The potential lottery pick averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. Olynyk’s possible departure would likely force Przemek Karnowski into a high capacity role. The freshmen from Poland showed flashes of ability, but couldn’t sustain it throughout the whole season. Although his future is very bright, he has not shown he can be a consistent starter on a division one basketball team yet.


A more in depth analysis of Gonzaga’s offseason, as well as other teams will be coming out in the next week or two.