It may seem like it was just yesterday that point guard Kevin Pangos scored 33 points against Washington State in only his second collegiate basketball game, but now, entering his senior season for Gonzaga, the expectations have never been higher.
Pangos has been as reliable a point guard as any in the nation during his tenure with the Bulldogs. He has started all but his first game for Gonzaga. Over his career, he has scored 1,384 points, made 241 three-pointers and dished out 355 assists.
As a shooter, Pangos is an assassin, making 41.2 percent of his three-pointers last season. As a floor general and passer, however, he leaves a bit to be desired.
This is where I see his game growing the most this season. With David Stockton graduated out of the program, Pangos has a larger role to play handling the ball instead of playing off the ball, which he did for the majority of last season.
Pangos will be pushed by incoming freshman Josh Perkins, who could vie for some minutes as a point guard facilitator.
This should free up Pangos to play more of a shooting guard role. But if he has any hope of playing at the next level, the undersized Pangos must show that he is capable of doing more than just shooting the basketball.
Heading into his senior season, Pangos' main focus must be on remaining healthy. Last season, he was plagued with injuries that included turf toe and an ankle sprain that hobbled him but did not rule him out.
"It just wasn't fun," Pangos told Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk. "I was in pain the whole time, because it was both feet. It wasn't just one, both were hurt."
Will Kevin Pangos take the next step this season?
Despite the injury woes, he managed to post numbers in line with his career averages, and that leads most to believe that a healthy Pangos is capable of reaching a level we have not seen him at yet.
A further step forward for Pangos would greatly help Gonzaga in its push to get back to the second weekend of March Madness.
Gonzaga fans can always count on Pangos to come up big. And when he is hot from outside, he can score in volumes.
If he can round out the facilitating aspect of his point guard play, continue to be a reliable scorer and remain healthy for the Zags, Pangos may be in for a stellar senior season that could end in national honors or a trip to the Final Four.
Predicted Stat Line: 14.5 PPG, 5 APG