Gonzaga basketball is looking to have a fantastic 2014-2015 season. They recruited well, scheduled well, and kept existing players on track. This upcoming season shows promise for the Zags, and they are already predicted to be a Top 25 team.
Przemek Karnowski, Kevin Pangos, and Kyle Wiltjer will hopefully be part of the success that is expected to come from Gonzaga. These three players also show the most promise to move on and enter the 2015 NBA Draft.
When Przemek Karnowski joined the Gonzaga squad in 2012, very few people knew anything about him. Fans saw his 7-1 body on the bench and wondered what that guy could do. In the 2012-2013 season, Karnowski played a modest 10.7 minutes per game, and averaged 5.4 points per game. He didn’t play much that season because the Zags already had two players (Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris) who were near his height, experienced, and ready to play.
In the past two years as a Zag, Karnowski has made a name for himself. After Olynyk and Harris entered the draft, Karnowski was forced to step up his game.
In the 2013-2014 season Karnowski showed everyone up. He no longer looked confused and he found strength in his size. This past season, Karnowski played on average 25.3 minutes per game and averaged 10.4 points. Karnowski also averaged 7.1 rebounds per game.
He is a terrific defender due to his size. Karnowski would be a great addition to any NBA team in 2015.
Problem: Karnowski gets fouled by opposing players constantly, but when taken to the line he only shoots 50 percent. If Karnowski is able to continue using his size to his advantage by going up strong and getting fouled he will have a great junior year with the Zags. If Karnowski is able to go up strong, get fouled, and make even 70 percent of his free throws he will have an exceptional year and have a much greater chance of getting drafted a year early.
Out of all of the players on the Gonzaga 2014-2015 roster, Karnowski has the greatest chance of going pro because he has the potential to be the total package.
Kevin Pangos is another strong Gonzaga player who is NBA worthy. The Canadian Pangos started his career at Gonzaga in 2011 and has started for the team every game since the beginning.
Pangos has potential to be drafted in 2015 due to his consistency. In the 2013-2014 season, Pangos played on average 34.9 minutes per game and scored on average 14.4 points . He helped Gonzaga get to fifth best field goal percentage in the NCAA. What is even more impressive about him is his free throw consistency. Pangos shoots on average 87.3% from the line. He is always there to save the Zags in that aspect. Pangos is also a natural born leader, he is able to see the court and get other players to follow his lead.
Problem: Pangos suffered a few injuries last year that didn’t really affect his shooting abilities, but slowed him down while on the court. If Pangos wants to make it to the NBA he will have to stay healthy and stay consistent in all areas of the court.
There has been a lot of talk about Kyle Wiltjer. Wiltjer transferred from University of Kentucky in 2012, but had to sit out last year because of NCAA transfer rules. Wiltjer stands at 6-10, and has a build similar to Kelly Olynyk’s. He’s spent this past year training to build muscle and to be a quicker player on the court. His build, height, and past experience show hope for the Zags and possibly the 2015 draft.
Problem: It’s a risky bet. Kelly Olynyk was one of the best players to have ever come out of Gonzaga (Besides John Stockton) Olynyk’s skill and year redshirting forced him to train and get better. In the 2012-2013 season, Olynyk managed to surprise everyone and play almost every position on the court. If Wiltjer is able to play similar to Kelly, he will be a shoe in for the draft. Only time will tell for Wiltjer though.
Zag fans will just have to wait and see what all three of these players bring to the table this coming year.