NCAA Basketball: 5 takeaways from Nolan Hickman committing to Gonzaga

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NCAA Basketball Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Andrew Nembhard Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports+

1. Best backcourt in the country

Gonzaga last season was right up there with Baylor for having the best backcourt in NCAA Basketball. But after losing star freshman Jalen Suggs and do-it-guard Joel Ayayi (even All-American Corey Kispert if you want to classify him like that), there was some thought that the perimeter wouldn’t be as strong, even with the return of WCC 6th Man of the Year and projected starting point guard Andrew Nembhard.

Then the Bulldogs completely loaded up in the past month. First came the expected commitment of five-star off-guard Hunter Sallis, along with landing Iowa State leading scoring guard Rasir Bolton. With former top-60 recruit Dominick Harris also in the fold, Hickman joins a backcourt filled with NBA talent.

Hickman is a pure point guard so the fit with Nembhard will be interesting. But after we saw how Nembhard and Suggs performed together and a reminder of Gonzaga’s other Final Four run led by Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins and there’s a possibility that those two could start and play a lot together. That would likely have either Sallis or Bolton coming off the bench and if Chet Holmgren or Juilan Strawther starts and plays a ton at the small forward position, someone or two from the backcourt may be stuck closer to the bench.

In an ideal world for Gonzaga in the quest to make everyone happy, Nembhard starts at the point, either Bolton or Sallis starts at the off guard, and the other or Strawther is at the wing. Hickman would be the backup point and learn from the senior starter for the year in somewhat limited minutes, before having the spot to himself for the 2022-23 season. Either way, expect a ton of various combinations for this team.

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