Busting Brackets

Gonzaga Basketball: 2021-22 season preview and outlook for Bulldogs

Apr 5, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Mark Few reacts on the bench against the Baylor Bears in the second half during the national championship game in the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Mark Few reacts on the bench against the Baylor Bears in the second half during the national championship game in the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Gonzaga Basketball forward Anton Watson James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /

Gonzaga Basketball Key Reserves

One of the things that will make Gonzaga so dangerous this year is the depth on their roster. Here are projected reserves for the upcoming season.

Hunter Sallis, Guard

Before people question my decision to put Sallis on the bench, I’ll say right away that Sallis has a legitimate chance to start. Looking at Few’s track record with freshmen, that seems less likely but still possible. I honestly think Sallis is starting to be underrated. The 6’5″ combo guard from Omaha was a five-star consensus top-20 recruit in the country and he’s going to be a real factor for Gonzaga right away.

Sallis can play on-ball as an initiator or off-ball as a spot-up shooter. He is quick and long, giving him a very high ceiling as a perimeter defender. In transition, he’s a nightmare to keep track of. He’s a big-time athlete and shot-creator. It really doesn’t matter whether or not he starts – Hunter Sallis is going to get a large share of the minutes in the backcourt and has tantalizing potential.

Anton Watson, Forward

Watson became a legitimate contributor as a sophomore last season, appearing in all 32 games while starting in 17. He averaged 6.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game on 63.1% shooting (and over 72% from two-point range) albeit on minimal attempts from the field. He also has a valid case to be a starter from day one given his role last season, although I give the edge to Strawther because of his ability to stretch the floor.

Anton Watson is a very versatile wing who provides great value on the defensive end with his length and instincts. He also rebounds at a high level and reads the court well enough to make the smart pass. When he is able to put all his individual skills together, he turns in some very complete performances, although there were games he faded into the background last season and became a non-factor. Nonetheless, he will be an important post player with major defensive impact and clear offensive potential.

Nolan Hickman, Guard

Hickman was originally committed to play at Kentucky but flipped his commitment to Gonzaga in May 2021. He is a 6’1″ four-star who was a top-five point guard recruit in the country. As if this Zags backcourt wasn’t already loaded enough. Hickman knows how to create for himself and others and manages to be a good defender despite his smaller size. He can score in a variety of ways and still has room to get even better.

Nolan Hickman would start at the vast majority of Power Five schools, so to have him coming off the bench is a huge testament to the talent level of Gonzaga’s roster. Even in a crowded backcourt, this freshman will figure into the rotation as the backup for Nembhard at the point.

Dominick Harris, Guard

Dominick Harris was a four-star recruit who got buried in the rotation as a freshman, only averaging 7.2 minutes per game in 25 appearances. Even with that limited time, he showed immense potential as a 3-and-D player. He shot 39.1% from deep and proved to be a capable defender in his time on the court.

Harris has very promising per-40 numbers from his freshman year, but it remains to be seen how much that translates into minutes as a sophomore. If Mark Few finds the rest of his backcourt lacking on the defensive end, expect to see a lot more of Harris.  It may also be worth it to find out if his efficiency numbers can be extrapolated into more shot attempts.

*Harris is currently out with a foot injury and his status for the rest of the season is unknown

Ben Gregg, Forward

Oregon native Ben Gregg saw action in 18 games last season. Behind the three-man frontcourt rotation of Timme, Holmgren, and Watson, it will be tough for Gregg to get minutes this season. The former four-star rebounds well and his jumper is coming along nicely. Look for him to see much more time in future seasons.

Kaden Perry, Forward/Center

Perry is another four-star recruit who will see a restriction in playing time because of the frontcourt logjam. The freshman shows a lot of promise as a rim protector and lob threat. He can jump out of the gym and has the frame to be an effective post scorer. He is a player to watch for Gonzaga’s future, but the path to playing time this year is difficult to ascertain.

Other Reserves

Martynas Arlauskas has seen some steady late-game minutes the last two seasons. The former top-50 wing from Lithuania will likely find himself in a similar role in his junior year. Over his Gonzaga career, he has averaged 0.8 points and 4.0 minutes per game in 42 appearances.

Colby Brooks is a sophomore wing who did not crack the rotation in 2020-21. However, he was a very productive player in high school and has enough size and skill to be a player who works his way into a limited role at the end of games.

Abe Eagle is a 6’10” forward in his second year with the Bulldogs. He did not see the floor last season, but his high school tape shows some promising ability at finishing in the post and he may be able to carve out some garbage time minutes for himself this year.

Joe Few, son of head coach Mark Few, joins Gonzaga as a freshman this year. He played his high school ball just down the road at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane. As a senior, he averaged 7.7 points per game.

Guard Will Graves is a senior walk-on in his third year with the program after transferring in from Lane Community College. He has totaled 47 minutes played over 23 appearances with the Bulldogs, scoring 12 points.

Matthew Lang is a senior guard who is one of the fan-favorites for Gonzaga supporters. He can always be counted on for hitting late-game threes, some of which result in Zags fans winning free tacos (no joke). While Lang may not see meaningful minutes this year, he still serves an important role on the team as a leader.