2013-14 College Basketball Season Preview: Gonzaga

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Year: 32-3, 16-0 in WCC)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Przemek Karnowski (Soph)/Ryan Edwards (Fr)

PF: Sam Dower (Sr)/Luke Meikle (Fr)/Angel Nunez (Jr)

G/F: Gerard Coleman (Jr)/Drew Barham (Sr)

SG: Gary Bell Jr. (Jr)/Kyle Dranginis (Soph)

PG: Kevin Pangos (Jr)/David Stockton (Sr)

Gone: C-Kelly Olynyk, F-Elias Harris, SF-Guy Landry Edi, SF-Mike Hart

2013-14 Outlook:
Despite winning a school-record 32 games and earning the program’s first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, last season ended in disappointment as the Gonzaga Bulldogs were bounced in the second round by eventual Final Four team, Wichita State. Even though Mark Few must replace three starters, his team will once again be the team to beat in the WCC and a factor on the national stage.

The luxury for Few is that he does return his experienced starting backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. The duo has been a staple in the starting lineup since both players were freshmen. Pangos is a savvy floor leader who can really light it from deep, while Bell is an undersized, but very aggressive, off guard also capable of stroking it from the outside. They go from being valuable role players to the main attraction for the Bulldogs.

Few gets a boost on the wing in Providence transfer Gerard Coleman, who should start right away, giving Gonzaga a three-guard look. Coleman averaged 13 points and five boards a game during his sophomore season with the Friars and might end up leading Gonzaga in scoring this season. Three-point threat Drew Barham and glue guy Kyle Draginis provide depth on the wing with scrappy point guard David Stockton giving Few an energetic, experienced backup to Pangos.

The frontcourt faces the losses of Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, who combined to average more than 32 points and nearly 15 rebounds per game last season. Big things are expected from 7-1, 305-pound Przemek Karnowski, who takes up a ton of space inside. He isn’t just a stiff big man though as the Poland native is fairly skilled on the block but still has room for growth. 7-1, 300-pound freshman Ryan Edwards adds even more size behind Karnowski.

After spending the past three years as a key reserve, Sam Dower finally gets his crack at the starting lineup. He provides some versatility to the frontcourt due to his athleticism and ability to knock down mid-range jumpers. Dower is capable of playing the five as well when Few decides to utilize a smaller, more athletic lineup.

Luke Meilke will be the primary reserve at the four until Louisville transfer Angel Nunez becomes eligible after the first semester. Meilke is a face-up four who can stretch defenses with his outside shooting, while Nunez is at his best off the bounce. Nunez can also play the three when the Bulldogs choose to go with a longer look.

Few picked up another key transfer in Kentucky stretch four Kyle Wiltjer, who just never seemed to jell with the talented recruits John Calipari was bringing in. Gonzaga is a much better fit for the 6-10 shooter, and by having to sit out this season, he should be able to add needed strength and improve on his many defensive deficiencies.

In his 14 years as head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Few’s team has averaged nearly 27 wins per season. Expecting a repeat of last season would be foolish, but the Bulldogs still have the talent to win another West Coast Conference title and be a fixture in the top 25.

Player to Watch: Przemek Karnowski, C
Due to his pure size and soft touch on the block, there simply aren’t many college players who can guard the “Polish Power.” He should see consistent double-teams, which will leave shooters open on the perimeter. Karnowski’s conditioning is worth keeping an eye on this season since Gonzaga needs him to play extended minutes and he tends to lumber up and down the floor.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/11 vs. Colorado State
  • 11/21 vs. Washington State
  • 11/25 vs. Dayton (Maui Invitational)
  • 11/26 vs. Baylor/Chaminade (Maui Invitational)
  • 11/27 vs. Syracuse/Minnesota/California (Maui Invitational)
  • 12/10 at West Virginia
  • 12/21 vs. Kansas State (in Wichita)
  • 2/8 at Memphis

  • Predicted WCC Finish: 1st

    2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 16

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12