The Gonzaga Bulldogs secured a 48-point victory over Lewis-Clark State on Friday evening, one week before their official season opener against Yale on November 10.
While a game against a far lower level opponent doesn’t often lead to huge revelations, it is an opportunity to make any adjustments to previously predicted lineups, rotations, and the overall minutes distribution – which is what we’ve done below.
This is a look at my projected starting lineup and rotation for Gonzaga, with a chart below detailing my minutes per game for each player, and at each position.
Starting PG: Ryan Nembhard
No debate here, Nembhard will scoop up nearly every single minute of action at the point guard position for Mark Few, and for good reason.
Starting SG: Nolan Hickman
Hickman looked solid, albeit unspectacular, in the exhibition win over Lewis-Clark State, but he should get plenty of chances to play off the ball this year – and will be the main point guard whenever Nembhard is on the bench.
Starting SF: Steele Venters
The least secure of Gonzaga’s projected starters, Venters fits the starting lineup well thanks to his floor spacing – but Stromer will undoubtedly challenge him for minutes and this role throughout the campaign.
Starting PF: Anton Watson
Watson will anchor this team defensively and should have plenty of offensive value in a big role as the team’s primary power forward.
Starting C: Graham Ike
Ike’s minutes will likely be monitored throughout the year coming off his injury, but expect him to play 25ish minutes per night and to frequently lead the Zags in scoring, like he did on Friday.
Sixth man: Dusty Stromer
Stromer looked excellent on Friday, and should play a big role off the bench as the backup small forward with some minutes sprinkled in at the two as well. Don’t be surprised to see his minutes continue to climb as the year goes on.
Seventh man: Ben Gregg
Gregg and Huff will battle for minutes behind both Watson and Ike, and I suspect they’ll each play a similar amount on any given night. Gregg’s experience gives him a slight leg up, but he’ll need to prove himself particularly on defense to stick.
Eighth man: Braden Huff
Huff looked incredible on Friday evening, although most of his minutes came against backups for a DIII school so it is worth taking with a grain of salt. Still, his activity on both ends should merit a role right away, likely behind Ike.
Ninth man: Luka Krajnovic
I don’t expect Krajnovic to play consistently, although I think he’ll get into most games and play 5-6 minutes on average, similar to freshman year Dominick Harris. He looked great on Friday as well, and can capably play the point guard role.
Tenth man: Jun Seok Yeo
Yeo isn’t quite ready for a big role, and that’s okay! I think he’ll play in garbage time while he adjusts to Division 1 college basketball, prepping for a big year in 2024-25.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.