It feels like Gonzaga has been front and center in the college basketball news cycle since the start of the NCAA Tournament. From earning a 1 seed, to the Northwestern game, to making the National Championship game, the Gonzaga news flow has never been this strong. After what seemed like a quiet week, yesterday turned the attention back on to the Zags, with the news of a big time International visitor + the news of Zach Collins declaring for the NBA draft. Even with all of that, there is still the pending news around the future of Nigel Williams-Goss, which will have a huge impact on next season.
Zach Collins Goes Pro:
Gonzaga is officially beginning to experience some of the hardships of having elite talent, as Zach Collins will be the first one-and-done in program history. This is pretty remarkable given the fact that Collins came off the bench the entire season. However, his impact was clear throughout the NCAA Tournament, and certainly during the Final Four. With that said, there was some feeling that the talented big man, who is being slotted to fall anywhere from late lottery-mid 20's, would come back and take advantage of the opportunity to be the focal point of the team next year. There were a lot of factors at play here that contributed to this decision, but it certainly leaves a big hole to fill next season on both ends of the court.
Until he officially signs with an agent, there is always the small opportunity he comes back. An example of this would be Miles Bridges, who many thought was for sure heading to the NBA, but recently cancelled meetings with agents. It's not likely, but as we mentioned, there are a lot of factors at play here.
Top International Talent Visits:
We were certainly a bit surprised when we saw the following tweet from our Scout colleague, Evan Daniels, pop up on the Twitter feed yesterday.
Some things of note around Joel Ayayi and where things stand with Gonzaga:
- On the court, he is a high-potential guard that can play both point and off the ball. As we saw this year, elite talent on the defensive end of the court is vital in terms of success. That is something that Ayayi can certainly bring to the table with his length and skill set. Offensively, he is raw, but has had some stretches of international basketball where he has been really good.
- In terms of what class he would be in, that decision is up in the air. He doesn't turn 18 until next March and obviously has a lot of physical development he can still go through. This would obviously have some impact on how he would fit in at Gonzaga. If he were to come in this year, he could definitely be a redshirt candidate to get acclimated with life in the states. If he is a 2018 kid, he presents another option for Gonzaga to explore in that class.