Gonzaga Basketball: 8 Headlines from Kraziness in the Kennel
Earlier today, Gonzaga fans got their first look at the 2012-13 men’s basketball team at an event called Kraziness in the Kennel.
Gonzaga’s version of midnight madness is just a small glimpse of what the team features and what it may become.
The event consisted of a three-point contest and a 20-minute inter-squad scrimmage.
By observing this event, many things became obvious about what this Gonzaga team brings to the table.
Przemek Karnowski Is Still Getting Adjusted
One of the most exciting parts of this year’s Kraziness in the Kennel was the ability to see Polish center Przemek Karnowski in action for the first time.
Fans that expected him to utterly dominate the scrimmage were disappointed. More reasonable fans could walk away with only good things to say.
Karnowski scored a couple buckets, but he in no way won the positional battle against Sam Dower. He looked confused at times, and his rebounding game clearly needs some work.
Karnowski did show some of his impressive skill set, though.
He and Kevin Pangos have clearly built a good relationship. They worked the pick and role to a great effect. There were two instances when Karnowski showed great hands to catch a pass from Pangos and excellent awareness to put the ball up and off the glass immediately.
Karnowski also proved that you cannot teach big. He is an absolute beast out there. While Dower won the scoring battle, Karnowski was obviously the physical victor between the two. When he was fighting for position, he got it.
Gonzaga’s new freshman center will only improve with more practice. The majority of his problems are normal for players of his age. They are even more common for players adjusting to the American style of play.
Karnowski may be raw, but he clearly has unimaginable potential for greatness as a Zag.
Gerard Coleman Is As Advertised
Earlier this spring, Gonzaga quietly pulled off one of the best moves of the offseason when Providence combo guard Gerard Coleman decided to transfer to the Zags.
Coleman will have to sit out this season per NCAA’s rules on transferring programs.
However, when Coleman joins the Zags in the 2013-14 season, the team will be adding a player that will live up to the expectations set on him based on his sophomore season at Providence.
Last season, Coleman averaged 13.2 points, five rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in the Big East.
Coleman was featured in the Red/Blue Scrimmage at Kraziness in the Kennel. He truly did it all. He rebounded, made hustle plays and finished multiple three point plays in the lane.
Coleman’s greatest strength was in running the fast break. He was usually the first outlet pass, and he was able to go from end line to end line with the ball multiple times.
After this fantastic performance, fans will anxiously wait to see him join the Zags next season.
Kelly Olynk Not in Action
Many fans looked forward to seeing center Kelly Olynyk back in action. The Canadian center redshirted last season after reports of problems with concussions.
Olynyk did not play in the scrimmage. In fact, he was not even announced with the rest of the team.
The Slipper Still Fits reports that Olynyk is currently dealing with “an unresolved issue overseen by student life".
Olynyk was already in a heated battle for playtime with the other members of Gonzaga’s talented front court. He will have to resolve this problem quickly, or he risks losing playtime to the newly added Przemek Karnowski.
Drew Barham a Valuable Addition
There was little mention of Gonzaga’s acquisition of former Memphis wing Drew Barham.
Barham, a three-point specialist, was on display during Kraziness in the Kennel.
He was the runner up in the three-point competition. Barham quickly showed fan why he will be a valuable member of the team this season.
Gonzaga had previously relied on German sophomore Mathis Monninghoff to consistently knock down triples. Monninghoff left Gonzaga this summer to pursue professional basketball in Germany.
Barham will be the player to fill this role in the coming season. If his dazzling shooting performance is any indication, he will likely outshine his predecessor.
Elias Harris Ready for Senior Season
Elias Harris is arguably the best player in the West Coast Conference. He has had three great seasons as a Zag. He was considered a lottery pick as a freshman, but now his draft stock is in question.
Harris was all business during Kraziness in the Kennel. He did not play in the scrimmage, but a lot could be seen in his demeanor during warm-ups.
While his teammates were thrilling the crowd with an impromptu dunk contest, Harris was going about his normal business. He hit three-pointers, floaters and, yes, the occasional dunk.
Harris has clearly worked on his game this summer. In his brief appearance at Kraziness in the Kennel, fans saw an intense focus that speaks towards his intention to play his way into the NBA this season.
Pangos and Bell Will Be Solid Again
Many feared that the all-freshmen backcourt that Gonzaga played with last season would be too inexperienced and prone to mistakes.
Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. were up to the challenge, though. They played with incredible maturity, and each showed their capacity to score.
Their performances at Kraziness in the Kennel were equally impressive.
Gary Bell Jr. won the three-point contest. He followed this performance up with an standout showing during the scrimmage. Bell showed that he is capable of getting to the rim, and it appears that he has gotten both faster and stronger.
Pangos played just as well as Bell. He continued the excellent play that fans expect of him after his amazing freshman season. Pangos looked to run the fast break and showed excellent shot selection.
Both these players are clearly hungry for more wins this season. Together, they could have a special year as a backcourt.
Sam Dower Ready to Explode
One of the most exciting observations from Kraziness in the Kennel had to be the great play of center Sam Dower.
Dower is the most likely candidate to take the starting spot left by the now-Laker Robert Sacre. Dower used his minutes well last season, and he was seen as instant offense.
During the scrimmage, Dower had a tough matchup with Przemek Karnowski. For the most part, though, Dower dominated the freshman.
As always, Dower showed his prowess as a scoring machine. It was his defense, however, that was most impressive. Dower bottled up the much bigger Karnowski. He had a couple blocks and rebounded well.
If Dower can translate this type of offensive and defensive play to the coming season, he could very well emerge as one of the most dominant players in the west.
David Stockton Looks Impressive
Junior point guard David Stockton looked impressive at the helm of the blue squad during Kraziness in the Kennel.
He did exactly what is expected of him as a veteran guard. He ran the offense, picked up a couple assists and brought consistency in the area of ball handling.
Stockton lost the starting point guard job to Kevin Pangos last season. He saw his minutes diminish to the Canadian, who played more minutes than any other Zag last season.
The majority of Stockton’s minutes came in a three-guard set that saw the removal of the small forward Guy Landry Edi and had Pangos move to the shooting guard slot.
This year, this third guard position would likely be taken by redshirt freshman Kyle Dranginis or transfer Drew Barham.
Stockton will have to prove his ability to run the offense effectively if he is to keep his minutes at the level that he wants.