Gonzaga Basketball: Complete Roster, Season Preview for 2013-14 Bulldogs
Gonzaga basketball is set for its first game of the 2013-14 season against the Bryant Bulldogs after last season's disappointing end to a very successful year.
The Bulldogs will look to continue on the success of a year ago, but to do so, there will be a shift in identity.
With the loss of key players such as Kelly Olynyk, Elias Harris and Mike Hart comes added opportunities for potential breakout players like Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski.
Here is a preview for what should prove to be a very exciting season for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Gerard Coleman: Gerard Coleman, a junior transfer from Providence, will look to add some explosiveness and athleticism to Gonzaga’s backcourt this season. In the 2011-12 season, Coleman averaged 13.6 PPG for the Friars, and he should factor in the offense heavily after a redshirt season to work on his game.
Angel Nunez: Angel Nunez, a transfer from Louisville, will be eligible to play after the first semester. Nunez is a long, talented defender who will help Gonzaga defend physical guards who have typically given Gonzaga fits over the past two seasons. With the speed to play the 3 and the length to play the 4, Angel Nunez could be a dynamic addition for the Bulldogs.
Ryan Edwards: An incoming freshman and a true 7-footer, Ryan Edwards could prove to be a diamond in the rough. While some believe he could benefit from a redshirt season to get into better shape, Gonzaga’s lack of frontcourt depth will dictate the need for him to play significant minutes right away. Edwards will have plenty of opportunities to develop on the fly this season.
Kevin Pangos: While his numbers dipped a bit last season, an argument can be made that Kevin Pangos showed a great deal of growth in his sophomore season. No longer content to shoot through a drought, Pangos was incredibly efficient with his shot selection. For the Zags to be successful this season, Pangos must add to his 11.9 PPG average this season.
Sam Dower: Sam Dower has been the perennial first man off the bench for his three seasons with Gonzaga. With the losses of Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, though, Dower will now see the lion's share of the frontcourt minutes. If you adjust his scoring numbers from last season to 32 minutes per game, Dower would have scored upwards of 13.8 PPG. Dower could be a breakout player on the national level.
Przemek Karnowski: Przemek Karnowski enters his sophomore year with a big promise he must continue to deliver on. At 7’1”, Karnowski stands above most collegiate centers, and he typically bullied opposing frontcourts last season. The key for Karnowski will be to stay on the floor by avoiding cheap fouls and continuing to improve his fitness.
Roster and Projected Rotation
PG: Kevin Pangos
SG: Gary Bell Jr.
SF: Gerard Coleman
PF: Sam Dower
C: Przemek Karnowski
6: David Stockton
7: Ryan Edwards
8: Drew Barham
Others: Kyle Dranginis, Connor Griffin, Luke Meikle
Bench: Rem Bakamus, Brian Bhaskar, Leo Roese, Dustin Triano
Przemek Karnowski: The linchpin of Gonzaga’s season is the play of sophomore Przemek Karnowski. There is no doubt that the big man out of Poland has the size and athleticism to dominate the majority of college centers, and his time at Gonzaga has seen him shed weight and become a much better athlete. The question now is whether Karnowski can pull together all the facets of his game and play with the maturity and high basketball intelligence needed to dominate on the floor.
Gerard Coleman: In limited views of Gerard Coleman in inter-squad scrimmages and exhibitions, he has been incredibly impressive. What Gonzaga has lacked over the past few seasons is a guard who can get to the basket and create his own shot. After an entire year to work on his game and his body, there is a chance that Coleman could explode onto the national scene this season.
Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios
Backcourt is an Offensive Juggernaut: Gonzaga’s backcourt is truly its strongest feature. Ideally, Pangos, Bell Jr., Coleman and Stockton can mesh together to form a formidable offensive force. While Gonzaga has recently built its base on a strong frontcourt, the Bulldogs must now make that shift to reach its highest level of success. If this is the case, Gonzaga will win the WCC regular-season and tournament championship and could push to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Injury in the Frontcourt: If one of Gonzaga’s three big men, Karnowski, Dower or Edwards, were to fall to injury, the season would likely be over. With such little depth in the frontcourt, Gonzaga will have to rely on its three big men to play close to the entire game. A rotation with only two big men would likely spell doom for the Zags.
27-4 (WCC: 16-2)
Gonzaga will not have the same success it had last season, but that is not to say it will not have a great year. With a tough nonconference slate and the emergence of BYU as a true rival for the WCC crown, Gonzaga certainly has its work cut out for it.
I am predicting two losses in the nonconference schedule. One of these losses will likely be in the Maui Invitational, which features a very talented field. Gonzaga will benefit from its schedule that features many home games against tough opponents such as Colorado State and New Mexico State.
A year removed from an undefeated run through the WCC, I am predicting two losses to WCC opponents. It would not be surprising to see Gonzaga take a loss at the Marriott Center to a very talented BYU team as well as dropping a road game to the likes of USF or USD.
After a very disappointing loss to Wichita State in a year that could have seen the Bulldogs in the Final Four, I believe Gonzaga will find a way to advance to the Sweet 16 with a No. 4 or No. 5 seed.