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Gonzaga Basketball: Gonzaga Bulldogs 2015-16 Season Preview


Gonzaga Bulldogs

2014-2015 Record: 35-3 (17-1, West Coast Conference)
Postseason: NCAA Tournament – Elite Eight

Last season the Bulldogs had one of their best teams ever.  They made it to the Elite Eight for the second time in team history.

It was an exciting year in Spokane as Mark Few and company made the NCAA tournament for the 17th straight year.

There are some changes looming for Gonzaga as fan favorite guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. graduated.

The Zags have some key returners that will try to help propel them further in the tournament than last year.

Gonzaga has the best frontcourt in all of college basketball.  GU’s big three includes Przemek Karnowski, Domantas Sabonis, and Kyle Wiltjer.

All three of these big men accomplish different things, but they work well together. They are a nightmare for opposing defenses. Guard play will be big for Gonzaga as well. It will be interesting to see who steps up in their new look backcourt.


G – Jack Beach
G – Nigel Williams-Goss (transfer from University of Washington)
F – Jeremy Jones (transfer from Rice)
G – Jesse Wade (#132 247Sports)
F – Johnathan Williams III (transfer from Missouri)

Key Non-Conference Games

Nov. 13 vs Pittsburgh – This is the first game of Gonzaga’s season. It’s part of the Armed Forces Classic that is played in Japan. It will be a great test for the Zags as they play a good team and have to travel a great distance before the game. Even though it’s the first game of the season this game almost has a tournament vibe to it. It’s the first chance for the Zags to show the nation how much power they have this season.

More from Gonzaga Bulldogs

Dec. 5 vs Arizona – Last season Gonzaga’s only non-conference loss was in Arizona. They lost 66-63 overtime heartbreaker of a game. This year the Zags get to take on Arizona at home in one of the biggest games in the Kennel.

Gonzaga has one of the toughest arenas to play in.  GU will have to use its home court advantage to beat this elite Arizona team.

Dec. 12 vs UCLA – Gonzaga will take on the team that they beat in the Sweet 16 last season in their third game in the span of eight days.  UCLA is another great team. A win against the Bruins would give Gonzaga a ton of confidence. This stretch of games against Arizona, Montana, and UCLA is great preparation for tournament play.

Key Players

Kyle Wiltjer – Wiltjer is arguably the best play in all of college basketball.  Sports Illustrated named Wiltjer the number one player in the 2015-16 National Player of the Year race.  Last season he averaged 16.8 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, and 1.9 assists per game.  His three point shooting is unreal.

Last season he shot 46.6% from three point range! Also, his overall field goal percentage was 54%.  These are the numbers that one would expect from a video game! This greatly contributed to Gonzaga leading the nation in field goal percentage at 52.4%. Wiltjer will continue to be the star player for the Zags.

Przemek Karnowski – The 7-foot-1 Polish center has become a force to be reckoned with. Last season he averaged 10.9 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, and 1.3 assists per game. His field goal percentage last year was an incredible 62.2%!

Karnowski has improved in every season with Gonzaga. One aspect of his game that often goes unnoticed is his passing. His court vision is greatly improved and last season he made some excellent passes. Karnowski is great a getting the position he wants in the paint and making his patented left handed hook shots.

Domantas Sabonis – Sabonis is the most aggressive of the three big men. He is extremely athletic and has a knack for getting to the rim. If he can improve his mid range jumper, Sabonis will be almost impossible to defend.

Last season Sabonis averaged 9.7 points per game and lead the team in rebounding with 7.1 per game. He plays with so much intensity.

When he slams a monstrous dunk home he always gets the crowd pumped up.  While Sabonis didn’t start last season he made Gonzaga’s rotation very strong. He was used as a sixth man that most teams’ first units could not defend.  It is possible that Mark Few will play all three big men at once this year.  That would be a dream come true for me.

Season Outlook

This could be the best team that Gonzaga Bulldogs has ever had. This is their best chance to make their first Final Four appearance. There is so much talent and chemistry. It will be up to head coach Mark Few to decide how to properly utilize the multitude of talent.

What a time to be a Zags. I am currently a senior at Gonzaga University. I expect big things from this team.  Don’t sleep on the Zags. This could be their year.

Next: Colorado State Rams 2015-16 Season Preview

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