The kennel was back and all is right in the world.
Regardless of the outcome, a Bulldog emerged victorious tonight. Turns out the good Bulldog did it. And the Zags did it in style and physical fashion with the turquoise Nike N7 jerseys. The best look in Gonzaga history.
The first thing I could point out… The fan base was wrong. Gonzaga has shooters. More precisely, Gonzaga counts on Braden Huff (19 points on 7-10 FG, 2-3 3P and 9 rebounds coming off the bench) and Ben Gregg (6 points on 2-3 FG, 1-2 3P and 5 rebounds). on the bench). Let’s not distort things.
As for the end of season injury, new for Steel Venters, it is blowing. It really is. But talented young freshman Dusty Stromer has been given the nod and it appears he may hold more than just his own. He joins fantastic names like Chet Holmgren, Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and other freshmen in recent history to begin their tenure at Gonzaga.
Let’s move on to the veterans on the roster and I feel so happy to say this. Welcome back to the great university game, Graham Ike (11 points on 4-6 FG, 3 rebounds, 3 steals)! The Wyoming transfer hasn’t played since March 2022 and he looked like he was itching to get back on the field. He’s going to score a ton on the low block. If there was anyone I would want to replace Drew Timme, it would be Ike. I see a ton of Julius Randle in his game (and that body mass, wow).
Ryan Nembhard (16 points on 7-17 FG, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal) got off to a slow start in his Gonzaga debut, but as an experienced player would, he quickly adapted. He is the vocal leader of this team and will only get more comfortable in this new offensive system. The Creighton transfer has already made everyone around him better, including Nolan Hickman (15 points on 7-18 FG, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal). Being an off-ball guard will significantly transform his college career.
Props to a really solid and well-disciplined Yale team led by James Jones. Top 25 programs don’t typically start their season with an opponent like Ivy League favorites. It reminds me a lot of Saint Mary’s. It’s a W for the Zags who could shake things up during Selection Sunday.
The next game is against Eastern Oregon on Tuesday at 6 p.m. PT. I want to see better defense on the pick and roll as well as a higher tempo. Zag Nation, let’s go back. I’m excited to have Gonzaga basketball in my life again!
Arden Cravalho graduated from Gonzaga University in the Bay Area… Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho