Gonzaga basketball has all the talent that they could fit on their roster this year, but the hard part is figuring out who is going to play and for how long. Mark Few has his work cut out for him, but fans can expect the minutes to be split up similar to how they have been in the past, but with a few new additions. This year could be a very successful one for the Zags if everyone plays their part to the fullest.
Kevin Pangos – Starter
For the past three years of Kevin Pangos’ career, he has played an average of 32.9 minutes per game. Pangos is the one player that Mark Few knows can play the entire game and still keep consistency. His numbers show it as well. Last year, Pangos shot 43 percent from the field, and shot 41.2 percent from three-point distance. His free throw percentage of 87.3 percent is another thing that shows his ability to play the entire game with the same stamina. A lot of players stress out about the game at the line, but Pangos keeps his cool, takes a deep breath, and swish!
As far as playing time for Pangos goes, he played well last year, but a certain skip in his step was missing. Pangos played through turf toe throughout the 2013-2014 season. His shooting percentages were still great, but he was a tad slower on his feet. Pangos is Mark Few’s on court leader, he needs him in as often as possible. Fans should expect Pangos to be on the floor at least 33 minutes per game this year, but fans should also pray that he stays healthy and ends his Gonzaga career in top physical condition.
Gary Bell JR. – Starter
Gary Bell Jr. has been another one of Mark Few’s go-to men for the past three years. Bell, like Pangos, plays as a guard, and is a starter for the Zags. Over the past three years, Bell has played, on average, 28.7 minutes per game. Bell is a strong shooter, in that last season he shot 47.6 percent from the field. Bell averages only one turnover a game, and Gonzaga needs strong ball handlers on the court at all times. Bell should be expected to play around 30 minutes per game for his final season as a Zag.
Byron Wesley – Starter
Byron Wesley will be playing as a Zag for his final season as a college athlete. Wesley transferred to Gonzaga from the University of Santa Clara earlier this year, and is eligible immediately. Wesley is a great player, and led his team with the most points per game. During the 2013-2014 season, Wesley played on average 34.6 minutes per game for USC and averaged 17.8 points per game. USC lost a great player when he decided to transfer, but he will be welcomed by Gonzaga this season. It’s hard to guess how much time he will get, but a good guess is that he will start the season playing 20-25 minutes per game and go from there after Mark Few sees how he fares with a new team in the WCC.
Kyle Wiltjer is a new addition to the Gonzaga team this year. Wiltjer played for the University of Kentucky before transferring. At Kentucky, he played well, but only played on average 23.8 minutes per game during the 2012-2013 season. Wiltjer has been training for the past year to become faster and stronger, and Zag fans are praying that he can exhibit what he has been working on in the upcoming season.
Gonzaga lost Sam Dower this past year, and Mark Few needed somebody to fill that position. Dower and Wiltjer are two completely different players, but they both are fast and can fight to get the ball to the basket. The Zags need a player like that on the court at all times. This year, fans should expect Wiltjer to play around 30 minutes or so a game, and have Domantas Sabonis there as a backup.
Przemek Karnowski– Starter
Przemek Karnowski has improved so much over the past two years; he has gotten faster, stronger, and more intimidating on the court. His 7-1 and 296-pound frame make him a true threat on the court, and he is able to go over most players to get to the basket. He is a true asset to the Gonzaga roster, and will be playing as much as his build allows this upcoming season. Fans can expect to see him in the game for about 25-30 minutes.
Josh Perkins – First off the bench
Josh Perkins will be starting his collegiate career with Gonzaga this year, and he seems like a good fit to be the first guard off the bench. Perkins is 6-3 and is known for his ball handling and shooting skills. He finished out his high school career at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, and he played with players who will also be playing for different colleges. Fans can expect Perkins to come in and be ready to go on game one. His minutes will depend at first on how the other three guards are playing, so it’s hard to take a guess yet.
Domantas Sabonis – First off the bench
Domantas Sabonis will be starting his first year at Gonzaga this year, and his experience playing professionally in Europe will be very useful to the team. Sabonis plays as both a center and a power forward in Europe, so he will be a terrific player to sub in for either Wiltjer or Karnowski. Sabonis is fast on his feet and tall, his presence on the court is expected to be a strong one.
Gonzaga also has many other players who will make appearances on the court such as Kyle Dranginis, Silas Melson, Angel Nunez, and Bryan Alberts. The team is looking strong this year, and all fans should be excited to see how the minutes are actually divvied up, and which players are the ones to watch during the season. Basketball season just can’t seem to come soon enough.